The Sailer Strategy Updated: Three Steps To Save America
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Last week, I critiqued Ron Unz's recent article in The American Conservative, which argued that what we at call “The Sailer Strategy”—that the Republican Party should and can only win, not through “outreach”/minority pandering, but by “inreach”/mobilizing its own (white) base—wouldn’t really work and that a better way to prevent immigration overload would be to raise the minimum wage.

It reminded me that it’s time to post an update of my thinking on how the GOP—or, more accurately, the GAP, Generic American Party, a party representing the historic American nation, which currently votes overwhelmingly Republican—can survive.

The basic concept behind a long-term Sailer Strategy for Republicans: You want more of the kind of people likely to vote for your party in the country and fewer of the kind of people likely to vote for the other party.

This may sound a shocking thing for any Republican to say. But there’s a flagrant double standard here: the Democrats get to implement this logic quite unashamedly. They have long boasted that their policy of bringing in foreigners to vote for them will eventually give them a Chicago-like one-party hegemony over the United States.

And they may be right.

Of course, mass immigration also drives down the salaries and raises the housing and education costs of Americans, and thus makes them less likely to marry and establish families. The Democrats don’t brag about that as much.

Yet really, from a Democratic perspective, that’s not a bug, that's a feature. People who vote Republican tend to be relatively successful in life. The harder it is for Americans to attain the basics of a successful life, such as marriage and children, the better for Democrats.

Democrats frequently offer Republicans advice on what to do about demographic change. It basically boils down to: "Lie back and try to enjoy it."

It's not rape if you agree to it! Remember, if you resist, you'll just get hurt worse!

George W. Bush and Karl Rove apparently thought this was great counsel. They set about trying to hurry this process along. Thus, from 2005 to 2007, at the peak of the Bush housing bubble and the President's encouragement of illegal immigration and amnesty, the number of babies born to married white women dropped 2.0 percent—while the number of babies born to unmarried Hispanic women grew 15.2 percent!

Heckuva job, Bushie!

(By 2009, the Hispanic birthrate had dropped sharply, and will probably be way down when the 2010 numbers finally come out.)

In contrast, consider Israel. You used to hear all the time that the Jewish State was doomed because the birthrate of Arabs was so much higher than that of Jews.

Strikingly, however, that fertility gap has narrowed considerably in recent years. Why?

Answer: because in Israel the major Jewish parties, although they can't agree on much else, all support policies that boost the Jewish population and slow down the growth in the Arab population.

In America, however, Republicans have long abjured any sort of explicit population policy. Democratic politicians feel free to plot openly to “elect a new people”, but Republicans worry that attempting to boost the fortunes of their own kind of people a.k.a. Americans would be “racist”.

Moreover, Republican politicians really aren't into long-term planning. Pump and dump is more their speed.

Which is foolish even on its own terms, of course. The reality is that policies that impact marriage, fertility, and identity—the building blocks of the long term—tend also to have a surprisingly immediate impact.

One unfortunate example from the 1960s: When liberals decided to raise welfare for unmarried mothers, that boosted the illegitimacy rate. Since being raised in a fatherless home correlates strongly with crime, you might expect that would have contributed to high crime rates 15 or more years down the road, which it did.

But the impact on crime became noticeable almost instantly as well—because young black fathers, not needing anymore to find steady work to support a wife, took up a lumpenprole lifestyle almost immediately.

Somewhat similarly, there is a rapid feedback loop between immigration and fertility. It has become fashionable to argue that Hispanic population growth is now being driven less by immigration than by births in America. But that overlooks how extraordinarily high Hispanic fertility is among new immigrants. Mexicans move to America to have more children than they could afford to have in their own country. After a generation or more in America, however, Mexican-Americans don't find America such a great place to have a lot of children.

In a fascinating recent study, How High Is Hispanic / Mexican Fertility in the U.S.? Immigration and Tempo Considerations, Emilio A. Parrado of the U. of Pennsylvania's Population Studies Center argues that because Latinas' fertility spike so high immediately after immigration that the ethnic group's future numbers can be easily overestimated:

"... without a significant change in immigration levels, current projections based on the premise of high Hispanic fertility are likely to considerably exaggerate Hispanic population growth, its impact on the ethno?racial profile of the country, and its potential to counteract population aging."

In other words, Hispanic fertility is heavily concentrated among new immigrants. The extremely high total fertility rates seen among foreign-born Hispanics in the middle of the last decade (e.g., 3.7 among immigrant Latinas in California in 2005) were a result of the Bush Administration's "compassionate conservative" policies.

And this has a couple of implications going forward.

  • The forecasts of a Hispanic electoral tidal wave, which are based on the extreme growth anticipated in the middle of the last decade, might not pan out quite as huge;
  • Immigration policy strongly affects Hispanic fertility. Without new immigrants, it falls rapidly.  

Actually, the GOP has had a secret plan all along to mold the populace to its needs. It just wasn't a very good plan. This is from the 2010 bestseller All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden Story of the Financial Crisis by Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera:

"Republican senator Phil Gramm, an ardent champion of free markets, was in as good a position as any to cause Fannie and Freddie trouble; he became chairman of the Senate banking committee in 1994. But Gramm always gave Fannie and Freddie a pass. Why? Because ... Gramm saw the political fruit that homeownership could bear. According to a former banking committee staffer, the Republicans studied what it was that made people vote Republican. 'The number one predictor of voting Republican was a job in the private sector,' he said. 'Number two, and it's a close second, is that you own your own home.' He adds, 'Gramm preached that gospel to all who would listen.'"

Oddly enough, in 1994 Bill Clinton also thought that undermining traditional credit standards for the benefit of minorities would be good for Democrats.

So whose political intuitions would you bet on: Clinton's or Gramm's?

The reality: only people who can afford to buy a home are likely to vote Republican.

Home ownership is becoming an outmoded factor in influencing who votes for whom. The better modern measure is marriage. In the old days, everybody got married, so it wasn't a very good predictor of partisanship. Today, the kind of people who wait until they are married to have children are also the kind of people who wait to get a mortgage until they can afford to pay it back. And they are the kind of people who tend to vote Republican.

But they aren't the people that the Bush Administration focused upon. McLean and Nocera note:

"George W. Bush believed in home ownership, too.

"In June 2002 ... the president traveled to Atlanta, where, in an African-American church on the city's south side, he unveiled his homeownership agenda. Entitled 'A Blueprint for the American Dream,' it promoted homeownership among minorities. The administration's goal, Bush said, was to raise the number of minority homeowners by 5.5 million by 2010."

Bush told his regulators to make it easier for minorities to borrow by not requiring down payments or detailed documentation. This helped inflate the housing bubble, which was intended to turn Hispanics into home-owning Republicans.

You'll notice that Texas Republicans like Gramm, Bush, Rove, and Rick Perry keep advocating these kinds of boondoggles. That may be because they aren't as immediately disastrous in Texas, where there's a lot of land and housing is cheap. When demand for homes goes up in Texas, supply follows along quickly.

But that's not true in California, where spikes in demand lead to spikes in prices. These drive natural Republicans either out of the state or into the arms of the Democrats.

There's an odd kind of political selection effect going on here. Policies pushed by Texas Republicans turn out to be disastrous for California Republicans by making California housing unaffordable.

But who listens to California Republicans anymore? They barely exist these days. They're losers. Let's listen to Texas Republicans. They're winners!

Not surprisingly, by only listening to politicians who have had it easy, like Republicans in Texas (so far), nobody in the GOP ever learns anything.

A Sailer Strategy for the long run would have three main elements:

  • First: the voters most likely to vote Republican are whites who are married with children. So you want your base to thrive.

You want affordable family formation: incomes high enough and housing and education cheap enough that responsible folks feel they can afford to marry and reproduce.

The blogger Audacious Epigone wrote last week:

"In taking a fresh look at how what Steve Sailer deems the marriage gap held up in the 2008 election, I came across an interesting US Census report on marriage rates and things related with data from 2009. The marriage gap still existed in '08, with McCain's share of a state's vote and the median duration of first marriages (age adjusted and for all races) in that state correlating at .85 (p = .00). ... Those are extremely strong relationships for anything in the social sciences."

This Census Bureau analysis ranks states by a measure I had never heard of before: Duration of First Marriages. Yet that number, which mostly measures when people can afford to get married, turns out to correlate closely with McCain's share of the vote in 2008.

  • Second: since the GOP is inevitably the white party, you want marginally white people from places like Latin America and South Asia to identify as white.

How in the world could that be done?

Well, it's not as hard as it sounds. These folks come from cultures where everybody tries to be seen as whiter, even to the extent of putting painful chemicals on their faces to make their skin fairer (for example, ex-slugger Sammy Sosa). Here in America, however, the federal government offers them the chance at money and prizes for claiming to be oppressed minorities.

Just take away that status. For example, abolish the government's category of "Hispanic." The government should count ethnicity no more than it counts religion. Without a count, nobody can file a "disparate impact" discrimination lawsuit requiring quotas.

(In a little noted story, the 2010 Census was worded more strongly to imply that, on the race question, Hispanic ethnics should choose an existing racial category, not "Some Other Race." Almost all chose "white"—causing the number of self-identified racial whites to increase by 12.1 million from 2000 to 2010. This doesn't mean all that much, but it's a hint at which way these Hispanics would lean if the government stopped telling them to be minorities.)

Of course, Hispanic political elites will howl. But who cares? They are nine-tenths Democratic anyway. They exist as an organized interest group largely to protect their Affirmative action and Immigration privileges. Abolish those privileges and they'll shrivel in power.

  • Third: you want to import fewer people who are likely to vote against your party.

So cut down on immigration. (This isn't terribly complex.)

Also, you don't want people who will likely vote against your party getting to vote just because their parents illegally snuck into your country. So no more birthright citizenship

Everybody assumes that Latino voters will react with permanent apoplexy against any Republicans daring enough to do this. I don't see much evidence for that. Cutting off Italian immigration in the 1920s didn’t stop Italians from migrating into the Republican Party (and being prominent immigration patriots today).

But I do have a suggestion for Republican politicians with guts (if there are any).

It’s this: Simply ask Mexican-American voters to vote for you because they want to do their patriotic duty. Say:

"I don't think massive illegal immigration is good for you, but I'm sure it's not good for your country. Please vote for me because I'm going to do what's right for our country."

Will many Mexican-Americans be persuaded by an appeal to their consciences?

I don't know. It's been decades since it's occurred to anybody to appeal to the consciences of minorities. They might surprise you.

Or maybe not. But the point is that Republicans will have to act anyway.

And if not soon, then when?

[Steve Sailer (email him) is movie critic for The American Conservative. His website features his daily blog. His book, AMERICA’S HALF-BLOOD PRINCE: BARACK OBAMA’S "STORY OF RACE AND INHERITANCE", is available here.]

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