Ted Cruz's White Men Fording The Rio Grande Ad: Clever, But Cowardly, And A Waste Of Money
January 06, 2016, 10:31 AM
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Ted Cruz's new ad shows white guys in business suits carrying briefcases fording the Rio Grande. His point is that Corporate America wouldn't be so friendly to illegals if illegal labor was taking their jobs.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has a new ad out this week that depicts a flood of white-collar workers storming into the US in order to demonstrate the economics of immigration.

The ad featured a Cruz line from a presidential debate last November, in which the Republican candidate claimed that the discussion of illegal immigration would be "different" if bankers, lawyers, and reporters were seeing their wages driven down instead of the industries that are currently affected.

"I can tell you, it's a very personal economic issue. And I will say the politics of it would be very, very different if a bunch of lawyers or bankers were crossing the Rio Grande," Cruz narrated in the ad as a bunch of men in suits comically cross the US' southern border.

New Ted Cruz ad shows a bunch of bankers storming across the Rio Grande, By Colin Campbell, Business Insider, January 5, 2016.

Here's the ad:

This is clever, and it's a point frequently made by VDARE.com (here, for example.)

But, of course, educated white men are being displaced—by legal immigration (especially the H-1B visa) which Cruz supports. And who is actually fording the Rio Grande is Mexicans and Central Americans. They're taking jobs from working class whites, blacks, and Mexican-Americans.

That's why when Trump made his ad about the real invasion, rather than hypothetical white men in suits, he got the "Donald Trump’s First TV Ad: Brown People Are Scary as Sh*t" reaction that Cruz is palpably trying to avoid. And it's not working for him: see Mickey Kaus on Why Ted Cruz’s Great Ad is a Dud.

That new Cruz ad fantasizing about lawyers, bankers & journalists crossing the Rio Grande is clever and correct (the debate on immigration would be very different if elite jobs were threatened).  It also seems likely to be an ineffective waste of money.

Who, exactly, is going to have their minds changed by this ad? Voters who are skeptical of mass immigration are probably already picking between Cruz and Trump. They may be not-so-subconsciously offended by the ad’s suggestion that the only reason for their skepticism is narrow economic self interest –i.e. their own jobs are threatened.

Voters who aren’t threatened — i.e. lawyers, bankers, businessmen, other well-paid professionals — may chuckle, while the ad (however erroneously) reinforces their complacency. After all, the scenario of briefcase toting professionals crossing the Rio Grande seems pretty farfetched. If that’s what it takes, they can breathe easy.

Meanwhile, voters of whatever occupation who just aren’t skeptical of mass immigration — surely a group Cruz should want to win over — may be offended by the suggestion that they’d change their principles mighty fast if personally faced with a hit to their wallets.

Wouldn’t a general patriotic pitch to protect American jobs and values, to keep an economy in which anyone willing to work a full day can make enough to live with dignity — a pitch everyone could freely sign on to — be more compelling than the fairly abstract Marxesque debater’s point about how we’re all slaves to our narrow economic interest?

PS: Cruz’s closing promise to build a “wall that works” sets off kausfiles’ proprietary Boob Bait Sellout Sensor. The phrase “wall that works” suggests a wall in itself won’t work, which is what opponents of a crude border barrier always say. (Are they really worried that it will work, as it has where it’s been built?)  In our current political reality, “a wall that works’  translates as “a high-tech ‘virtual wall’ that doesn’t work.”

I say hold out for the Great Wall Of Trump, instead.  Let's see those briefcase guys get through this: