All Politics Are Racial And Tribal. Conservative Policy Proposals Must Recognize That Fact

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As They Say, ‘Demography Is Destiny

By Darrell Dow

“In coping with identity crisis,” Samuel Huntington wrote in Clash of Civilizations, “what counts for people are blood and belief, faith and family. People will rally to those with similar ancestry, religion, language, values, and institutions and distance themselves from those with different ones. … In a very fluid world, people are looking for roots and connections to defend themselves against the unknown.”

At root, politics is about identity, not ideas — and demography is destiny. Transform the make-up of a people and you transform their politics. The ideological politics of the post-WWII period was an aberration and rested upon a largely homogeneous racial and cultural foundation.  Spurred by the forces of modernization and dislocation, politics is being reconfigured.

In a multicultural social order, politics is a form of ethnic and religious warfare. Conservatives must begin crafting public policies that unapologetically strengthen their constituencies and weaken their enemies. But that first requires identifying allies and co-belligerents and separating them from adversaries.  

“Red State” and “Blue State” America are increasingly two different nations divided along racial, ethnic, and religious grounds.  The strongest GOP constituencies include Mormons, White Evangelicals, White working-class men, and older Americans.  Democrats are, as Steve Sailer has said, a coalition of the fringes: Blacks, Asians, Hispanics, Jews, single women, “secularists,” and Millennials. Homosexuals, “transgenders” and other pro-pedophile apologists are part of the fringes, too.

Consider these data: 84 percent of Blacks, 63 percent of Hispanics, and 65 percent of Asians identify with the Democratic Party. Sixty-eight percent of Jews and 68 percent of religiously unaffiliated voters also lean Democratic.  Meanwhile, the GOP is now the party of whites and Christians.

Exit polls showed that 81 percent of White Evangelicals voted for Donald Trump in 2016. The more accurate number, according to political scientist Ryan Burge, was 77 percent. In 2020, White Evangelicals voted in a higher proportion for Trump  — up 2.6 percentage points from 2016. 

White Catholics are also drifting toward the GOP. Once a solidly Democrat constituency, Republicans have been gaining with this group since 2008. Trump gained about 2 points in 2020, despite Biden’s “Catholic” bona fides.

Yet more than religion, race is the primary driver of voting habits. Sixty-five percent of non-White Evangelicals, 90 percent  of non-White Protestants, and 69 percent of non-White Catholics voted for Biden.  

Similar data emerge from surveys about the size, scope, and role of government.  Pew Research reports that 55% of Whites polled believe in a smaller government that provides fewer services.  That contrasts with just 27 percent of Blacks, 36 percent ofAsians, and 33 percent of Latinos.  

Marriage and family also affect elections. As far back as the early 2000s, Steve Sailer showed  that states with the highest White fertility rate voted for George W. Bush.  In a fascinating 2020 election post-mortem, lefty political analyst David Shor argued that delayed marriage and childbearing have given Democrats an electoral advantage. 

In 2020, marriage rates were one of the sharpest dividing lines between areas that voted for Trump and those that went to Biden.  Exit polling data suggest that Donald Trump gained ground among married women in 2020.  In 2016, Hillary Clinton won 49 percent of votes from married women compared to Trump’s 47%.  But in 2020, Trump won a majority of married women, 52 percent to Biden’s 47. 

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Lyman Stone, a Research Fellow at the Institute for Family Studies, showed another facet of this story: Families and communities with more children tend red.  “Trump did better in counties with higher birth rates,” writes Stone, “and the difference is fairly large, with the most pro-Biden counties having total fertility rates almost 25% lower than the most pro-Trump counties.”  

Yi Fuxian at the University of Wisconsin showed that the relationship between voting and fertility is even more pronounced when state voting trends are examined.  Fuxian showed that support for the Democratic Party is strongly negatively correlated with the fertility rate and support for the Republican is positively correlated with the fertility rate. 

The lessons are many. First, whether we admit it, politics is tribal, grounded in a series of identities and relationships.  Politics IS “identity politics” and political success is predicated on solidifying in-group dynamics and sowing seeds of division on the other side.  Leftist politics are anti-White and anti-Christian because those forces unite a coalition of groups that would otherwise be at one-another’s throats.  

Second, the dissident right must do more than make memes.  It must patiently set out to build institutions that build and shape culture. But it is also necessary to use what power conservatives have to devise policies that stop the demographic transformation of the nation and encourage family formation and fertility, particularly among its voting blocs.  

In the introduction to Who Is My Neighbor, I argued that family (marriage and child rearing), healthy patriotism, and belief in God are strongly connected.  Parents are more religious, patriotic, traditional, and conservative than non-parents.  Conversely, having fewer children correlates with unbelief and a diminution of national sentiment. Are there “conservatives” outside of Hungary talking about the nuts-and-bolts of abetting family formation?  

Most public policy designed to “help” families (e.g., childcare subsidies or expansion of paid leave) subsidizes high income, well-educated constituencies.  Meanwhile, policies designed to ameliorate poverty often spur illegitimacy and family breakdown therefore creating the very problem it ostensibly aims to fix.

In both cases, such policies provide support to leftist constituencies.  It’s past time for conservatives to provide real and workable proposals to curtail immigration, reshore supply chains, control financial speculation, support blue collar workers, and assist families. It’s not just in the national interest but in our political interest to do so.

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