Written by Pat Buchanan
This past June, Right Side News attended the American Cause conference in McLean, Virginia. The American Cause has urged the conservative movement and Republican Party to reject foreign interventionism, globalist trade , open borders, and big government. Pat Buchanan was introduced and he spoke about winning back the Republican Party, or perhaps as we have seen since June, how the Republican Party has lost their base by compromising conservative and family values.
Pat Buchanan: Let me talk about working America and the Republican Party. They're both vital if we're going to be a majority again or put together that working coalition that some of us put together with Richard Nixon back in 1966-69.
As August Compte, the French philosopher said, "Demography is destiny." One reason the GOP is in deep trouble is that demography in the United States is changing very dramatically, far more than it has in the history of this country.
The African-American vote, for example, (African-Americans now represent 13% of the population), has not grown greatly; went 20-1 for the Democratic Party or for Barack Obama specifically.
Hispanics and Asians (Hispanics are almost 15% of the vote and Asians are 4-5%), both went 2-1 for Barack Obama. The White vote went 55-45 for John McCain. The White vote, however, fell from 77% of the entire vote to 74%. Back in the Goldwater-Nixon days, it was well over 90% of the vote, so it's declining every single year and this is the largest block of votes that the Republicans have. Nixon used to win 65% back in 1972, so did Ronald Reagan; that's how they won their 49-state majorities. But a lot of the Republican coalition is dying off. The Reagan Democrats are dying off.
That's the first problem in terms of demography.
The second is geography. If you take a look at what happened since 1992, there is something developing which my friend Ron Brownstein, who used to be with the Los Angeles Times, calls the "blue wall." The "blue wall" is comprised of the states that are very strongly Democratic. If you take 18 states and the District of Columbia, which have 247 electoral votes (23 short of the presidency), (Let me name them: all of New England except for New Hampshire, New York, the Mid-Atlantic states, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, four big Midwestern states, Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, three West Coast states, Washington, California, Oregon, and Hawaii, throw in the District of Columbia), Democrats have won those states in all five previous presidential elections.
In every election since 1992, including the two that Bush won, Democrats won those 18 states and the District of Columbia. In those states and DC, John McCain lost every one by more than 10 points. The Democratic Party has developed this immense strategic advantage similar to the one we put together back in '69 through '72, where, basically, if you get Reagan and Nixon and even Bush against Dukakis, Republicans win every single Southern state and virtually every mountain state, and we start off with that political base. So the second problem is geography.
The third problem is government beneficiaries. The federal government this year will spend 28% of the Gross National Product. It usually spends about 21% and collects about 18%, but it's 28% right now. If you combine that with state and local which is 12%, you're up to 40%; you're talking European Socialism. This has a translation in terms of beneficiaries of government. 45-50 million people get benefits from Social Security and Medicare. Ed Rubenstein has a study that shows 23 million Heads of Household wage earners, that's 33% of wage earners, pay no taxes and get an earned income tax check from the federal government. If Barack Obama's tax program goes through, it will be upwards of 50% of all American wage earners who will pay no taxes and scores of millions will be getting benefits. If that's your situation and you're not paying for it, but you get the benefits of it, why not vote for those who will expand government?
Now, those are the three major problems the Republican Party faces because of what they failed to do when they had power. But there is good news. 40% identifies themselves as conservative, and 20-21% identifies themselves as liberal. That's why the liberals are now calling themselves "progressives." They are new creatures. "We're not the old liberals that you guys hate, we're progressives." They had to change their name. The term "liberal" is not a term you want to carry into a presidential election.
Take, for example, the Sotomayor appointment; she's not a liberal. She's a mainstream justice; she's not a judicial activist. They're trying to sell her to us on the grounds that "hey, this is sort of a little clone of Scalia here!" When they say that, what they're saying is "we've won the argument for conservative judges, not judicial activists.
Let's take the White vote that remains. It is still 10 times the size of the Hispanic vote. Hispanics do not vote in the same percentage. African-Americans vote pretty much as often as white folks do; they are active politically. Hispanics are a larger group, only according to the exit polls I was working with, 7.4% of the vote was Hispanic, 74% was the White vote, which means if McCain had added 3% of the White vote and had gotten the same share of the White vote as Bush did, that would have been worth 30% of the Hispanic vote, and he would have gotten a majority of the Hispanic vote, which even Ronald Reagan didn't win. In other words, it is still possible to win with this coalition. But there is a difference among white voters. Take Alabama, Obama got 12% of the white vote in Alabama. John McCain got 12% of the white vote in Washington, DC. So the white vote is very different, it can be liberal and we can't get; however, when you talk about the Reagan Democrats, they're still available.
Now, how do we get them back? We deal with the social issues, starting, specifically, with Right-to-Life. 52% of the country now say they are Pro-Life. That means they want no abortions whatsoever or they want reasonable restrictions placed on the practice. And it's true among young people. They have the new sonograms, and say, "Wait a minute; that's a baby there." We are pro-life and we are winning the battle for hearts and minds on this issue. Why would you give up something like that?
Now David Frum, who fashions himself a great analyst, says, "Republicans should get rid of the social issues, they're just killing us."
Let me give you some numbers: in California, John McCain got 5% of the African-American vote; 70% of African-Americans and 53% of Hispanic folks voted against gay marriage. The Black churches said "Go out there and vote for God's Law," and they did. In other words, McCain got 5% of the vote and the opposition to gay marriage got 70%.
So, Frum says we should drop the social issues. I say we drop Frum.
Now let me talk briefly about affirmative action. For the life of me, I don't understand why we won't stand up for equal justice under law for our own folks who vote for us and depend on us, working class White Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, who are the main victims of these policies.
Black folks marched for equal rights. They stood up for them in the 50's and 60's, and they got their heads knocked in. We can't even stand beside our own working class folks when all they're asking for is an equal chance at the starting line. I don't understand why they can't. Politically, affirmative action was voted down in the state of California, where McCain didn't even get as many votes as Goldwater. But they did vote affirmative action down. Hispanics and African-American folks will vote in higher margins against affirmative action than they voted for McCain.
As Ward Connerly related in his talk today, we won the affirmative action battles in Michigan, California, Washington, and Nebraska, and there was a dead heat in Colorado, because Obama's folks were out there fighting it, but he almost won it in Colorado.
Let me give you an example that's coming up in the Supreme Court. That's the case of Frank Richie. He's a fireman up in New Haven. Frank Richie is dyslexic, but he wants to be a lieutenant in the department. He had two jobs, but he gave up one of the jobs, spent $1,000 on books, which he got his buddy to read to him, so he could understand all the things he needed to know to pass this test. 77 people took the test; Frank Richie came in sixth, and qualified for promotion to lieutenant.
But the City Council of New Haven threw out the test, because of the eight guys who passed, seven were White and one was an Hispanic. So, Frank Richie's American dream was dumped down the tubes. When the case came to Judge Sotomayor, she tried to dump the appeal of that case into a trash basket. The case is going to the Supreme Court.
Judge Sotomayor received a scholarship to Princeton, she graduated with honors and awards, and they said she was number 1. What did she do during the summer? The advisor told her to read children's classics so she could learn English better. How do you graduate number one at Princeton if you're reading Rumpelstiltskin and Snow White during the summer? The point is, as a beneficiary of affirmative action, she's the one who is going to pass on people like Frank Richie.
If we can't stand up for these people, we don't deserve their votes and we don't deserve their support.
Now the other issue is immigration. Many of us, especially Catholics, people from Ireland, Germany, are all immigrants or at least some part of our families are immigrants.
However, the 12 or 20 million illegal immigrants that are here now, are not only taking jobs from working Americans, they're driving down wages, and they're adding to the crime in this country. Basically, they are making us, in many cases, an ungovernable country.
Take small towns, like Hazelton, Pennsylvania. They're all over the country. And there may be up to a thousand ordinances, all of them to restrict and to try to get control of this. Both George Bush and John McCain supported amnesty (and McCain wondered why he got beat). Here's another issue where the working folks in the country are with us.
Of course, the other side tells us, "These illegals just take jobs Americans won't do." There was an open janitorial job in Indiana, and 250 people showed up. Don't tell me they were all illegal aliens. If you are going to be concerned about these people and you want their support, you've got to address their concerns and interests.
Finally, we have the manufacturing issue. Under George Bush we lost one of three or four manufacturing jobs in the United States. They're shutting down plants all over the country; textile mills are gone, auto manufacturers are moving to Mexico, Brazil, etc. These are the best jobs in America for working folks, black, white, hispanic, young people. When I was growing up you'd get out of high school, get married, get a job in manufacturing, and make far more than guys like me (Newspaper people)! They were in their twenties, had their own home and the trappings of the American dream. These are phenomenal jobs for these folks: building things, making things with their hands. These are the guys that won World War II from here at home.
If you take the quadrant down from Illinois to St. Louis, go across to Washington, DC, New England, add California . . . these areas produced half the vehicles, guns and ships produced on all sides in World War II. All that is gone now, thanks to the policy of free trade.
We need a policy that re-industrializes our country and gets on the side of working folks; frankly, some Democrats are far better on these issues than Republicans.
We also need to re-write the tax code. In Europe and Japan, they have numerous techniques and tactics. For instance, they have a Value-Added Tax rather than a corporate income tax, meaning they got both. With the Value-Added Tax, when American exports come into Europe they tack on 15-20%, just like a tariff in the old days. Then when their exports come into the United States, they rebate the tax. So it's like a tariff on our goods coming in (20%) and a subsidy of 20% on their goods going into the U.S. And people wonder why America doesn't manufacture anymore. They're cleaning our clock under rules approved by the WTO 25-30 years ago.
So those are the issues: Right-to-life; affirmative action, against racial preferences; controlling the border and illegal immigration; and economic patriotism are winners. We need to simply stand for the things we believe in.
I think we can win it again. In the short run, there's no reason why we can't pick up 30-40 seats in the House. I think Obama's running into real headwinds already.
I joined Richard Nixon in 1965, after the Goldwater loss. You talk about being wiped out, we were down to 140 seats in the House, and I said at that time, "we will never lose this badly again." (That was before I joined the Reform Party.)
We had 140 seats in the House, 32 in the Senate, and about 17 governors. We had Richard Nixon traveling the country; we won 80 congressional districts, picking up 47 congressional seats. Lyndon Johnson was the king of the world, and we picked up 47 congressional seats in 1966. Two years later, Richard Nixon, the two-time loser, was on his way to the White House.
So, it can be done. Reagan won 44 states. They said we were finished after Watergate. The public said we were through for a generation; and we won five out of six presidential elections.
We can do it. We need a little bit of spirit, a little bit of hope, and we need to keep America First.
Pat Buchanan is currently a columnist and political analyst for MSNBC and chairman of The American Cause. He writes a nationally syndicated column and is the author of ten books, including six straight New York Times best sellers.