ABC News published an intriguing poll the other day, one that spelled out a growing racial divide:
"Nonwhites see Trump negatively by a vast 17-79 percent… That said, whites are the majority group – 64 percent of the adult population – and they now divide evenly on Trump, 48-49 percent, favorable-unfavorable. Clinton, by contrast, is far more unpopular than Trump among whites, 34-65 percent. So while racial and ethnic polarization is on the rise in views of Trump, it remains even higher for Clinton."
The Republicans already lost virtually the entire black vote (scoring just 4 percent and 6 percent of black voters the last two elections). Now, by pushing toward the nomination a candidate whose brilliant plan to "make America great again" is to build a giant wall to keep out Mexican rapists, they're headed the same route with Hispanics. That's a steep fall for a party that won 44 percent of the Hispanic vote as recently as 2004.
Trump's supporters are people who are tired of being told they have to be part of some kind of coalition in order to have a political voice. They particularly hate being lectured about alienating minorities, especially by members of their own party.
Just a few weeks ago, for instance, establishment GOP spokesghoul George Will spent a whole column haranguing readers about how Trump was ruining his party's chances for victory. He noted that Mitt Romney might have won in 2012 if he'd pulled even slightly more than 27 percent of the Hispanic vote.
Will blasted Trump's giant wall idea and even ridiculed the candidate's deportation plan by comparing Trump to Hitler:
"The big costs, in decades and dollars (hundreds of billions), of Trump's project could be reduced if, say, the targets were required to sew yellow patches on their clothing to advertise their coming expulsion."
It's not clear how forcing 11 million people to wear yellow patches saves money, but whatever. However it was supposed to be taken, the shock argument didn't work.
A few days later, in a rare episode of National Review-on-National Review crime, blogger Ramesh Ponnuru blasted Will for his hysterics. He argued Romney wouldn't have won even with a 45 percent bump in the Hispanic vote. "He needed more votes, obviously," Ponnuru wrote, "but he didn't need more Hispanic votes in particular."
Ponnuru was echoing an idea already expressed by the conservative commentariat. Hack-among-hacks Byron York said the same thing in the Washington Examiner back in 2013. He argued that even 70 percent of the Hispanic vote wouldn't have helped Romney, whose more serious problem "was that Romney was not able to connect with white voters who were so turned off… that they abandoned the GOP."
Rush Limbaugh bought what York was selling, arguing that Romney didn't lose because he failed to convince Hispanic voters that Republicans "like ‘em."
"The difference-maker was, a lot of white voters stayed home," Rush said.
Anyway, the night after Ponnuru ran his brief blog post a week and a half ago, Trump had Univision anchor Jorge Ramos tossed from a press conference in Dubuque, Iowa, sneering at him to "siddown" and "go back to Univision."
Conservative blogs and social media commentators cheered Trump's decision to have "butthurt" Jorge Ramos "deported" from the press conference, thereby turning the whole thing into another brilliant piece of symbolic political theater for the Donald.
Whether or not it's true that a Republican candidate can win the White House with a minus-51 percent net unfavorable rating among Hispanic voters (Trump's well-earned current number) is sort of beside the point. The point is that Trump clearly feels he can afford to flip off the Hispanic community and win with a whites-only strategy. And his supporters are loving the idea that he's trying.
The decision by huge masses of Republican voters to defy D.C.-thinkfluencer types like George Will and throw in with a carnival act like Trump is no small thing. For the first time in a generation, Republican voters are taking their destiny into their own hands.
In the elaborate con that is American electoral politics, the Republican voter has long been the easiest mark in the game, the biggest dope in the room. Everyone inside the Beltway knows this. The Republican voters themselves are the only ones who never saw it.
Elections are about a lot of things, but at the highest level, they're about money. The people who sponsor election campaigns, who pay the hundreds of millions of dollars to fund the candidates' charter jets and TV ads and 25-piece marching bands, those people have concrete needs.
They want tax breaks, federal contracts, regulatory relief, cheap financing, free security for shipping lanes, antitrust waivers and dozens of other things.
They mostly don't care about abortion or gay marriage or school vouchers or any of the social issues the rest of us spend our time arguing about. It's about money for them, and as far as that goes, the CEO class has had a brilliantly winning electoral strategy for a generation.
They donate heavily to both parties, essentially hiring two different sets of politicians to market their needs to the population. The Republicans give them everything that they want, while the Democrats only give them mostly everything.
They get everything from the Republicans because you don't have to make a single concession to a Republican voter.
All you have to do to secure a Republican vote is show lots of pictures of gay people kissing or black kids with their pants pulled down or Mexican babies at an emergency room. Then you push forward some dingbat like Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin to reassure everyone that the Republican Party knows who the real Americans are. Call it the "Rove 1-2."
That's literally all it's taken to secure decades of Republican votes, a few patriotic words and a little over-the-pants rubbing. Policywise, a typical Republican voter never even asks a politician to go to second base.
While we always got free trade agreements and wars and bailouts and mass deregulation of industry and lots of other stuff the donors definitely wanted, we didn't get Roe v. Wade overturned or prayer in schools or balanced budgets or censorship of movies and video games or any of a dozen other things Republican voters said they wanted.
While it's certainly been fun laughing about the lunacies of people like Bachmann and John Ashcroft and Ted Cruz, who see the face of Jesus in every tree stump and believe the globalist left is planning to abolish golf courses and force country-dwellers to live in city apartments lit by energy-efficient light bulbs, the truth is that the voters they represented have been irrelevant for decades.
At least on the Democratic side there was that 5-10 percent of industry policy demands that voters occasionally rejected, putting a tiny dent in what otherwise has been a pretty smoothly running oligarchy.
Now that's over. Trump has pulled all of those previously irrelevant voters completely out of pocket. In a development that has to horrify the donors who run the GOP, the candidate Trump espouses some truly populist policy beliefs, including stern warnings about the dire consequences companies will face under a Trump presidency if they ship American jobs to Mexico and China.
All that energy the party devoted for decades telling middle American voters that protectionism was invented by Satan and Karl Marx during a poker game in Brussels in the mid-1840s, that just disappeared in a puff of smoke.
And all that money the Republican kingmakers funneled into Fox and Clear Channel over the years, making sure that their voters stayed focused on ACORN and immigrant-transmitted measles and the New Black Panthers (has anyone ever actually seen a New Black Panther? Ever?) instead of, say, the complete disappearance of the manufacturing sector or the mass theft of their retirement income, all of that's now backing up on them.
The party worked the cattle in their pen into such a dither that now they won't rest until they get the giant wall that real-life, as-seen-on-TV billionaire Donald Trump promises will save them from all those measles-infected rapists pouring over the border.
Not far under the surface of Trump's candidacy lurks a powerful current of Internet conspiracy theory that's a good two or three degrees loonier than even the most far-out Tea Party paranoia. Gone are the salad days when red-staters merely worried about Barack Obama inviting UN tanks to mass on the borders of Lubbock.
Trump supporters have gone next-level, obsessed with gooney-bird fantasies about "white genocide," a global plan to exterminate white people by sending waves of third-world immigrants across American and European borders to settle and intermarry.
The white-power nerds pushing this stuff don't like the term RINO (Republican In Name Only) and prefer "cuckservative," a term that's a mix of "cuckold" and "conservative." Cuck is also a porn term that refers to a white guy who gets off on watching his wife take it from (usually) a black man. A cuck is therefore a kind of desexualized race traitor.
So you can see why the Internet lights up when Donald Trump tosses Jorge Ramos from a presser and tells him "mine's bigger than yours" (Trump was referring to his heart, but again, whatever). All of Trump's constant bragging about his money and his poll numbers and his virility speak directly to this surprisingly vibrant middle American fantasy about a castrated white America struggling to re-grow its mojo.
Republicans won middle American votes for years by taking advantage of the fact that their voters didn't know the difference between an elitist and the actual elite, between a snob and an oligarch. They made sure their voters' idea of an elitist was Sean Penn hanging out with Hugo Chavez, instead of a Wall Street bank financing the construction of Chinese factories.
Trump similarly is scoring points with voters who don't know the difference between feeling sorry for themselves and actually being victims. We live in a society that is changing for a lot of reasons, and some of those changes feel annoying to certain kinds of people, particularly older white folks who don't like language-policing and other aspects of political correctness.
But as basketball star turned pundit Kareem Abdul-Jabbar pointed out earlier this week, PC isn't a new thing, or even a thing at all. It's just an "emotional challenge every generation has had to go through." We get older, our kids correct our bad habits, it happens.
Not to Trump's supporters. They've turned some minor cultural changes into a vast conspiracy of white victimhood. They're eating up Trump's "Make America Great Again" theme (which one supporter hilariously explained must be his true goal, because "it's on his hat"), because it's a fantasy tale of a once-great culture ruined by an invasion of mongrel criminals.
For reasons that are, again, obvious to everyone but Republican voters, this "woe is us" narrative is never to fly with the rest of the country, including especially (one imagines) the nonwhite population. Few sane people are going to waste a vote on a sob story about how rough things have gotten for white people. But Trump supporters are clinging to this fantasy far more fiercely than red-state voters were ever clinging to guns or religion.
That leaves us facing a future in which national elections will no longer be decided by ideas, but by numbers. It will be a turnout battle between people who believe in a multicultural vision for the country, and those who don't.
Every other issue, from taxes to surveillance to war to jobs to education, will take a distant back seat to this ongoing, moronic referendum on white victimhood. And there's nothing any of us can do about it except wait it out, and wonder if our politics only gets dumber from here.