John Derbyshire: Good News For Trump—Debates Show Democrats REALLY Crazy About Immigration
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Adapted from the latest Radio Derb, available exclusively on

The real heart of current Democratic craziness, on plain display in the two debates among Democrat candidates for President this week: the topic of immigration. The candidates left us in no doubt that any enforcement of immigration laws—the people's laws, passed by Congress properly assembled, according to the Constitution—is inhumane and unacceptable. On this showing, I have to say the quality of the Democrat opposition to Trump is lower than I expected, and his chances correspondingly higher.

The temperature of discussion about immigration had been raised earlier in the week when a young Salvadoran man and his two-year-old daughter were drowned crossing the Rio Grande near Brownsville, Texas. A photograph of their corpses was placed prominently on the front pages of Wednesday's New York Times and other Progressive outlets.

What had happened, according to the man's widow, was that husband, wife, and infant had left a poor but comfortable home in El Salvador in hopes of getting asylum in the U.S.A., where they could get better-paying jobs. ['The river swallowed them': Widow of Salvadoran father who drowned with their daughter in Rio Grande tells how they decided to make the dangerous crossing after running out of money and how she watched in horror as they were swept away, Daily Mail, June 28, 2019] They'd both had jobs, don't seem to have been in serious want, and weren't under any kind of threats or persecution.

I don't know what grounds they planned to make their asylum claim on. I presume they had some kind of sob story rehearsed.

Anyway, when they got to the U.S. border they were told they faced a long wait because of the surge of asylum-seekers. They had Mexican visas that allowed them to work in Mexico for a year, so they could have waited it out, but decided to swim the river instead. The result followed.

It's a sad story for sure, but I can't see how the U.S.A. is at fault. Countries have immigration procedures, and only so many staff to carry them out. What was the border post supposed to do when these Salvadorans showed up—just wave them in?

The answer from this week's Democratic candidates seems to be: Yes!

None of the so-called moderators—who included such impeccably unbiased persons as Rachel Maddow and Conquistador-American José Díaz-Balart, who works for some Spanish-language TV station and is not to be confused with his brother, GOP Florida congresscritter and Steve Sailer doppelganger Mario Díaz-Balart—asked the obvious questions about this.

Most obvious of all:

Current world population is 7.7 billion. Surveys show that a sizable subset of that number—several hundred million—would like to leave their poor countries and move to richer ones, with the U.S.A. a prime destination. In your opinion, Mr. or Ms. Candidate, is there any upper limit to the number we should allow in?

Of course, nobody asked that. At any rate, searching the two debate transcripts for the word "limit" got no hits.

While I was at it I thought I'd do a search for "Koch," K-o-c-h, as in "Koch brothers." I had in mind the memorable reply Bernie Sanders gave to Ezra Klein four years ago when Klein asked him about Open Borders.

Clip: "Open borders? That's a Koch brothers proposal."

Didn't any of the moderators think to remind Bernie of that? Apparently not. I wonder why not…

Beto O'Rourke, Cory Booker, and Julian Castro all threw in a few sentences of Spanish by way of asserting their multicultural credibility. So did one of the so-called moderators, José Díaz-Balart.

So let me say again: I think it's deplorable for a candidate for public office to address us in a language most of us don't understand.

I thought so seven years ago in the 2012 campaign when one of the candidates extruded this: 

That was Mario Rubio pitching for the Vice-Presidential spot on Mitt Romney's ticket. He didn't get it, and I'd like to think that his lapsing into Spanish was one reason he didn't get it.

The language of our country is English, and our leaders should address us in no other.

John Quincy Adams had lived in Germany and spoke the language fluently, facts that were well-known to the Americans of his time. When he was running for re-election as President in 1828, Adams was asked to address a gathering of German-speaking Americans in German. He refused on principle. Yes, I do know he lost that election; but he was still a better man, certainly a better American, than Marco Rubio.

This country can only work—can only be a country worth the name—under an ethic of relentless assimilation. You settle here, you Americanize yourself, for which the very first step is to master English, so you can join in the national political conversation. John Quincy Adams understood that. My immigrant wife understood it. Marco Rubio does not understand it.

Both Democrat debates were pretty crazy, but  O'Rourke, Booker, Castro and Bill de Blasio pushed the Wednesday event well out into Looney Tunes territory. See the transcript here.

The furthest shores of progressive craziness were reached by Castro, who seems to want abortion rights for men. Or perhaps that's not Peak Crazy. As Greg Cochran pointed out in a tweet:

There is no reason that one couldn't transplant a uterus into a biological male, implant a fertilized egg, and then destroy it.

So I guess we're not talking total impossibility. Abortions for men is as far into the crazy zone as I personally want to go, though.

Bill de Blasio, New York City's communist mayor, told us for the 295th time about the Talk he's felt obliged to give to his mulatto son—you know, the Talk about how dangerous the police are around blacks, liable to shoot them for no reason.

The numbers on that have been debunked more times than I can remember. De Blasio bringing it up yet again gives me the idea for a column, though. I could write about the Talk that we non-black parents give our kids about the danger of wandering into black neighborhoods and such … Oh, wait.

I can't remember anything Cory Booker actually said, but there is something about his affect, his mannerisms that brings to mind the guy on your downtown sidewalk ranting about UFOs, the guy you cross over to avoid encountering.

Likewise with Beto O'Rourke; except that while Cory Booker does the crazy act with some conviction—he really believes in those UFOs—O'Rourke just seems to be trying it on for size. Crazy can be shallow or deep: Beto O'Rourke is shallow crazy.

Thursday night's debate was more grown-up, though not by much. See the transcript here.  

One's vague impression was that Thursday's candidates actually were more grown-up—literally, I mean.

The numbers at first seem to confirm that: Wednesday night's platform had mean age 53.4, Thursday's 56.5. However, Thursday night's mean was pulled upwards by the presence of Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, both in their late seventies. The oldest candidate on Wednesday was Elizabeth Warren, just turned 70. The median ages for the two evenings were 53 and 54, so there was no really significant difference there. A little lesson in statistics for all you numbers geeks.

I think it was more a case of Thursday night's craziness being concentrated in just one of the participants: a person named Marianne Williamson, who I'd never heard of. She seems to be some kind of vanity candidate. She promised to "harness love for political purposes," and apostrophized the President thus: "I will meet you on that field and, sir, love will win."

I wish I could have been sitting next to Trump, watching that on TV.

It was of course the grumpy old men who got most of our attention. They didn't do very well. Bernie Sanders wore his angry face the whole time, and barked and yelled in that way he has, but didn't say anything we haven't heard before.

Joe Biden was tossed and gored by Kamala Harris, junior senator from California. is one of those exotic non-whites who seem to do well in American politics—like Barack Obama. Racially she's even more exotic than Obama, whose parents were plain-black and plain-white, and only one of them was foreign. Harris's Dad (right) is a quadroon from Jamaica; her mother is from India, ancestry southern Dravidian-language stock, not the Aryan invaders of the north. [Donald Harris, Kamala Harris’s Father: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know,, February 21, 2019]Kamala Harris had an upper-middle-class upbringing, went to law school, then advanced herself in California politics by the horizontal method with the assistance of Willie Brown, then Speaker of the state Assembly.

The consensus among commentators is that Harris was the star of Thursday's debate. I'll allow that as a matter of style: she was vigorous and forceful. Still, she showed maximum vigor and force when laying into Joe Biden on the subject of busing blacks into white schools. Joe, she said, had opposed busing back in the 1970s.

I don't know if he did or not, but is there really a big constituency out there for the revival of busing—one of the most unpopular policies of the past half century?

I can only suppose that this was part of the effort to take the shine off Joe having been Barack Obama's Vice President, which is Joe's main selling point to blacks.

He fumbled and stumbled anyway, and Harris scored points on energy and personality. It's probable that after a week or two nobody will remember that the actual matter of the exchanges was busing.

To be fair to the Democrats, the debates had some occasional moments of sanity.

Peter Buttigieg, who is Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, went up a couple of ticks in my estimation when Rachel Maddow asked him why the proportion of blacks in South Bend's police force hadn't increased during his mayoralty. Replied Buttigieg: "Because I couldn't get it done."

You don't often hear that level of frank candor from a politician. Buttigieg went on to spoil the effect somewhat with some boilerplate blather about "systemic racism”—

I am determined to bring about a day when a white person driving a vehicle and a black person driving a vehicle when they see a police officer approaching feels the exact same thing. A feeling not of fear but of safety.

Given the sensationally higher levels of criminality among blacks, a police officer approaching a vehicle driven by a black person with extra caution is just practicing statistical common sense, like taking an umbrella when you go out on an overcast day. It might not rain, but why take a chance?

Still I'll allow credit to Peter Buttigieg for his frankness, and to his generally thoughtful demeanor.

Similarly with Andrew Yang, although here we had less to go on. As everyone has pointed out, Yang is a big-ideas guy, and his kind of big ideas don't condense easily into sound bites. Like Buttigieg, though, he came across as a normal human being that you could have some kind of conversation with, different from Barking Bernie, Jittery Joe, Harpy Harris, or the gal who wants to meet us on the field of love.

Best of all in my opinion: Tulsi Gabbard. That was the opinion of many other viewers, too, to judge from the search results reported afterwards. [First poll has Tulsi Gabbard as the shock winner of the first Democratic debate and Beto O'Rourke as the clear loser,Daily Mail, June 27, 2019]

Congressgal Gabbard has the advantage of youth: She is the second-youngest in that field of twenty candidates, just nine months older than Peter Buttigieg. She's also easy on the eye. Not beautiful—she's a bit too stocky and high-T to be beautiful—but healthy-looking, with pleasant regular features. If you want to explore that aspect of things further, check out her workout video; we posted it on the Twitter feed.

Can't load tweet Sorry, that page does not exist

What really made her stand out from the Wednesday night field, though, was her sensible comments about foreign policy. With Iran in the news this past few days, it was mighty refreshing to hear a Democrat say

Donald Trump and his cabinet, Mike Pompeo, John Bolton, and others—are creating a situation that just a spark would light off a war with Iran, which is incredibly dangerous. That's why we need to de-escalate tensions. Trump needs to get back into the Iran nuclear deal and swallow his pride, put the American people first.

I can't truthfully say I stood up and cheered at that point; but for a few seconds, at least, my eyes stopped rolling.

What did these debates tell us about the prospects for the 2020 Presidential race?

In last week's podcast I did a rough correlation-of-forces analysis, identifying some major factors that will determine next year's race, and trying to guess their weight. The first determinative factor, I said, would be the quality of the opposition.

I still think it's going to be uphill all the way for Trump, against massive bias in the Main Stream Media and social media, and his own disappointing failures, especially on immigration.

I feel better than I did, though.

What gives me most hope is that, based on these two debates, the Democrats, for all their angry energy and rhetorical talent, and for all the solid MSM support they'll be getting, are missing some key point—a point that Donald Trump, for all his weaknesses and failures, for all his stupid cabinet appointments and broken promises, has grasped.

Watching this week's Democrat debates, hearing the studio audience whoop and holler as Bernie Sanders railed against Wall Street and "the big money interest[s] who have unbelievable influence over the economic and political life of this country," I wanted to yell back at him: "YOU'RE MISSING THE POINT!"

Those big-money interests are globalist and internationalist—just like the Democrat-voting college administrators and Corporate HR directors and big-city yuppies. The seriously big-money people, like the bosses of Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, and Google, would have been at home in that debate hall, whooping along with the audience.

And the Republican Party donor elites, the ones Donald Trump defeated in the 2016 primaries, are on the same page.

On the other page are millions of working-class people in Middle America, people whose parents voted Democrat, and perhaps still do out of habit.

Allied with them are don't-tread-on-me patriots, military and law-enforcement types, evangelicals and gun enthusiasts, at all economic levels, who are fed up with reckless demographic change—who want the country their children live in to bear some reasonably close resemblance to the one their parents lived in.

Red, blue; provincial, metropolitan; nationalist, globalist; The fissures opening up all around us map only very approximately onto our traditional party platforms.

And more approximately with every day that passes. 

John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him.) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He has had two books published by com: FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT II: ESSAYS 2013.

For years he’s been podcasting at Radio Derb, now available at for no charge. His writings are archived at

Readers who wish to donate (tax deductible) funds specifically earmarked for John Derbyshire's writings at can do so here.


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