How Mr. Trump Could Face Up to White Supremacists

Yet even as he now managed to get some of the right words out he could not bring himself to assign blame for Ms. Heyer’s death, saying only that she “was tragically killed.” Contrast that with his eager invocations of Kathryn Steinle — “the beautiful Kate,” as he started calling her in tweets and speeches more than two years ago, after she “was gunned down in SF by an illegal immigrant.”

.. The double standard goes to the heart of Mr. Trump’s simplistic, racialized worldview, where the criminals are black or brown and the victims are white.

.. He could start by scrapping his plan to remove white supremacists from a federal antiterror program’s agenda.

.. “The Confederacy was on the wrong side of history and humanity,” he said. “It sought to tear apart our nation and subjugate our fellow Americans to slavery. This is the history we should never forget and one that we should never again put on a pedestal to be revered.

Regaining Legitimacy through Immigration Cuts

Reducing immigration is in the long-term political interest of our ruling classes. This may sound improbable, considering the stupendous assemblage of money and institutional power pushing for ever-higher levels of immigration

.. our institutions are facing a crisis of legitimacy, with an ever-larger share of the people rejecting the rightness of their leadership role. This crisis of legitimacy — which Europe is experiencing as well – is reflected in the declining public confidence in our institutions. It’s a big part of the reason for Brexit and Trump.

.. immigration was the issue that showed the widest gap between “opinion leaders” and the public.

.. immigration was the issue that showed the widest gap between “opinion leaders” and the public.

.. There are no doubt many reasons for the fading legitimacy of

  • Big Business and
  • Big Labor,
  • Big Tech and
  • Big Ag,
  • Big Religion and
  • Big Government,
  • Big Media,
  • Big Academia, and
  • Big Philanthropy.

But both practically and symbolically, the elite push for de facto unlimited immigration is a key contributor, as Brexit and Trump and other anti-establishment movements demonstrate.

.. passage would be a startling reversal of direction by the political class. It would be a strong signal of solidarity of the rulers with the ruled. It would demonstrate that the “executives who give the money” don’t always get their way. The benefit to our political culture (never mind the benefits to the working poor or taxpayers or assimilation) would be enormous.

Democrats, Start Aiming for the Gut

Donald Trump has swollen.

Every character flaw he had before taking office — from his serial lying to his intellectual laziness to his loyalty just to himself and his needs — has grown only larger and more toxic as he has been president. He seems not to have grown a whit in the job. He has surprised only on the downside — never once challenging his own base with new thinking or appearing to be remotely interested in being president of all the people, not just his base.

What strikes me most about Trump, though, is how easily he still could become more popular — fast — if he just behaved like a normal leader for a month: if he reached out to Democrats on health care, taxes or infrastructure; stopped insulting every newsperson who writes critically about him; stopped lying; stopped tweeting inanities; and actually apologized for some of his most egregious actions and asked for forgiveness. Americans are a forgiving people.

.. Trump connects with these gut issues and takes them in a destructive direction. It’s vital for Democrats to connect with them and take them in a constructive direction.

What issues? Here’s my list:

  1. We can’t take in every immigrant who wants to come here; we need, metaphorically speaking, a high wall that assures Americans we can control our border with a big gate that lets as many people in legally as we can effectively absorb as citizens.
  2. The Muslim world does have a problem with pluralism — gender pluralism, religious pluralism and intellectual pluralism — and suggesting that terrorism has nothing to do with that fact is naïve; countering violent extremism means constructively engaging with Muslim leaders on this issue.
  3. Americans want a president focused on growing the economic pie, not just redistributing it. We do have a trade problem with China, which has reformed and closed instead of reformed and opened. We have an even bigger problem with automation wiping out middle-skilled work and we need to generate more blue-collar jobs to anchor communities.
  4. Political correctness on college campuses has run ridiculously riot. Americans want leaders to be comfortable expressing patriotism and love of country when globalization is erasing national identities. America is not perfect, but it is, more often than not, a force for good in the world.

An Elusive Immigration Compromise

 Cotton-Perdue bill is written for the 35 percent of Americans who want less immigration, which it achieves by creating a points-based system for applications (with points for English proficiency, education, a good job offer, and so on), limiting family-based migration, and cutting the number of legal immigrants we take by roughly half.

.. The case for such cuts runs as follows. We are nearing our historical peak for the foreign-born share of the population, assimilation looks slower than for prior cohorts and may be stalling, growing diversity may be increasing social distrust, and our partisan landscape is increasingly shaped by ethnic patronage and white-identity politics. An immigration slowdown would make assimilation somewhat easier and give American politics time to adjust to the country’s transformation. It would also modestly curb the growth of inequality, reduce some strain on social programs, and offer a slight wage boost to less-educated natives, who are presently in dire socioeconomic straits.

.. Immigration may hurt the wages of high school dropouts, but it offers modest economic benefits to most natives, and obvious benefits to the immigrants themselves.

.. The future of immigration looks more Asian than Latin American. Conservative fears of a disappearing southern border or an ever-expanding Spanish-speaking underclass should be tempered somewhat by these shifts.

.. you can address many of the costs of mass immigration by embracing the new bill’s points system without also making its steep cuts.

.. a system that focused more on skills and education and job prospects would automatically put less pressure on wages at the bottom. It would increase immigration’s economic benefits, and reduce its fiscal costs. And it would presumably bring in a more diverse pool of migrants, making balkanization and self-segregation less likely.

.. mainstream liberalism has gone a little bit insane on immigration, digging into a position that any restrictions are ipso facto racist, and any policy that doesn’t take us closer to open borders is illegitimate and un-American.

.. Liberalism used to recognize the complexities of immigration; now it sees only a borderless utopia waiting, and miscreants and racists standing in the way.

..

As long as these problems persist — a right marred by bigotry, a liberalism maddened by utopianism — it is hard to imagine a reasonable deal.

But as long as a deal eludes us, the chaotic system we have is well designed to make both derangements that much more powerful, both problems that much worse.