Five years ago, Peter Brimelow asked me to reflect on Pat Buchanan’s 70th birthday for VDARE.com. What I wrote then is equally applicable today. Pat Buchanan “has been right on all the major issues facing America since the end of the Cold War.” His prescience is becoming clearer with time—even if it is still obdurately unacknowledged by those who shape opinion in today’s America.
For years, Buchanan has warned that the radical demographic change being fueled by mass immigration spells doom for the Republican Party. For his pains, Buchanan has been denounced by the great and good of the GOP. But the accuracy of Buchanan’s warnings was forcefully brought home by the reelection of Barack Obama.
The University of Colorado’s political science department developed a model, based on the state of the American economy, that has accurately predicted the outcome of every presidential election between 1980 and 2008. In 2012, the model predicted a Romney victory. [See Updated election forecasting model still points to Romney win, University of Colorado study says, October 4, 2012 and CU professor who predicted Romney win issues mea culpa by Eric Gorski, Denver Post, November 7, 2012]
The explanation for Obama’s victory thus lies not in the economy, but in the enormous changes America has undergone since the University of Colorado model began predicting American elections.
According to a Pew poll, Mitt Romney won the white Protestant vote by a crushing 69% to 30% margin, and he won the white Catholic vote by a substantial 59% to 40% margin. In 1980, these numbers would have translated into an enormous landslide. But Romney lost among every other racial and religious group, except Mormons.
Romney lost in part because the insatiable greed of GOP donors and fat cats for cheap labor has prevented the party from embracing the immigration moratorium advocated by Buchanan for many years. [Tech Firms Decry Buchanan Immigration Plan, Associated Press, February 28, 1996]
But it wasn’t only mass immigration that doomed Romney. He also lost because many white voters couldn’t be persuaded to go to the polls and vote for the former head of Bain Capital. Economic globalization has devastated America’s manufacturing sector and those Americans who used to depend on that sector. As Buchanan noted in his most recent book, Suicide of a Superpower, one third of American manufacturing jobs disappeared between 2000 and 2010, with the electorally crucial states of Ohio, New Jersey, and Michigan losing 38%, 39%, and 48% of their manufacturing jobs during that same dismal decade, a decade that also saw America run a deficit of $6.2 trillion in traded goods, including $3.8 trillion in manufactured goods.
Obama’s massive ad budget repeatedly reminded voters that Bain Capital had advised its clients to move American jobs overseas. Thus, for many voters, a vote for Romney was a vote for outsourcing. And many Americans who knew from bitter experience what outsourcing means just stayed home.
In his analysis of the 2012 election for RealClearPolitics.com, Sean Trende noted that the voters who stayed home in 2012 tended to be “downscale, blue-collar whites” concentrated in the parts of the country where Ross Perot ran well in 1992. As Trende reminded his readers, Perot was an economic populist who was “staunchly opposed to illegal immigration as well as to free trade (and especially the North American Free Trade Agreement).”
The same, of course, was true of Pat Buchanan, which is one of the reasons Buchanan did well with blue-collar voters during his presidential runs. As Trende observed:
Given the overall demographic and political orientation of these voters, one can see why they would stay home rather than vote for an urban liberal like President Obama or a severely pro-business venture capitalist like Mitt Romney.[ The Case of the Missing White Voters, Revisited,June 21, 2013]So how could the GOP capture those voters who stayed home in 2012? By taking a page out of Pat Buchanan’s playbook. A Republican party hoping to capture those voters, according to Trende, must
be more ‘America first’ on trade, immigration and foreign policy; less pro-Wall Street and big business in its rhetoric; more Main Street/populist on economics.In other words, the only way for the Republican Party to survive is to become a Buchananite party.
The GOP currently shows little sign of becoming an America-first party on trade. But the bulk of House Republicans are still holding the line on the Obama-Schumer-Rubio Amnesty/ Immigration Surge bill, despite the machinations of their leaders.
And there are even encouraging signs that many in the GOP are beginning to turn their backs on the neocons on foreign policy. Obama backed down on a war with Syria largely because Congressional Republicans, after hearing from their constituents, were telling the White House that they would vote “No” on any resolution authorizing the use of military force against Syria.
So there is still some hope, albeit slight, that the Republican Party will finally begin embracing some of the policies that Buchanan has been advocating since the Berlin Wall came down.
Another of Buchanan’s long-time predictions came true in 2012. As Buchanan has long noted, the onslaught of Political Correctness means a shrinking sphere of public discourse. Rather than debate ideas, many on the Left now prefer to see their opponents silenced.
And so, after the release of Suicide of a Superpower, a variety of Leftist groups begin exerting pressure on MSNBC to fire Pat Buchanan. And to its shame, MSNBC succumbed to the campaign. In words that must appall all VDARE.com readers, MSNBC president Phil Griffin, told reporters that “I don’t think the ideas that [Buchanan] put forth [in Suicide of a Superpower] are appropriate for the national dialogue, much less on MSNBC.”
No one really took fault with the demographic analysis that buttressed Buchanan’s argument. It’s just that the only acceptable reaction to “The Death of Christian America” and “The End of White America” for such as Phil Griffin is rejoicing.
Significantly, at least a few on the Left took note of Pat Buchanan’s considerable virtues and protested. As Jim Antle documented in The American Spectator, Chris Matthews told his MSNBC audience that ”Pat sticks up for his people like nobody I know,” and Democratic consultant Peter Fenn told Politico that “I greatly respect Pat’s intellect, his honesty and his decency.”
An even less-likely tribute to Buchanan’s character came from homosexual publicist Andrew Sullivan, who wrote that Buchanan is “a compassionate and decent man in private and an honest intellectual in public.” Sullivan told his readers that he was “moved beyond words” when Buchanan sent him a hand-written note assuring him of his prayers after Sullivan had been diagnosed with AIDS. As Sullivan noted, at the time a diagnosis of AIDS was seen as a death sentence, and only one other Washington figure bothered to extend to Sullivan the type of sentiment Buchanan did.
Those of us who are lucky enough to know Pat Buchanan personally know that he is, first and foremost, a Christian gentleman. The kindness he extended to Andrew Sullivan on what Sullivan assumed was his death bed is mirrored by the way Buchanan regularly treats those he encounters—which is why Matt Lewis of The Daily Caller observed that “Philosophy aside, if you were to poll the makeup artists, camera techs, and drivers, Pat Buchanan is one of the best-liked pundits in the biz.”
Joe Scarborough made a similar point, telling Buchanan’s biographer Tim Stanley that the left-wing interns at MSNBC were initially reluctant to work with Buchanan, “but after a couple of days with him, they’d all want to adopt him as their father.”
Jim Antle quotes Tim Stanley as making an even more significant point after Buchanan was fired by MSNBC:
Whatever you think of Pat Buchanan’s politics, he was always motivated by two things: duty and love. And that’s rare among politicians today.Indeed it is. As I noted for Chronicles magazine when Buchanan was under attack for Suicide of a Superpower, “Buchanan sees the country he grew up in and loved passing away, and he wants to raise his voice in its defense.”
May those of us who share that love always endeavor to mount our defense with the grace and courage that characterizes Pat Buchanan.
Tom Piatak (email him) writes from Cleveland, Ohio.