Friday, August 26, 2016

Donald Trump Now Admits that the Alt-Right is Wrong about Immigration

Recent polling suggests that the great majority of Americans have decided that Donald Trump was wrong in his earlier Alt-Right opposition to immigration.  Most Americans believe that immigrants are filling jobs that Americans don't won't to fill.  Also, the great majority of those immigrants are law-abiding and decent citizens.  Most Americans now think that Trump's original proposal for a Great Wall at the U.S./Mexico border is a bad idea.

In recent days, the folks at Fox News and Ann Coulter have been shocked by Trump's saying that he needs to "soften" his immigration policies.  They don't see that Trump and his advisors are looking at the polls and realizing that most Americans really are the liberal globalists scorned by the Alt-Right crowd.  Trump has seen his poll numbers drop.  He knows that he is headed towards a massive defeat by Hillary Clinton, even thought she is wildly unpopular with most voters.  He knows that this has happened because he believed the rhetoric of the Alt-Right crowd that immigration restriction and deportation of undocumented immigrants would be wildly popular.  Now, he and his advisors see that that is false.

By some estimates, the cost for removing 11 million undocumented workers would be close to $600 billion.  Moreover, the contraction in the U.S. labor force from doing this could reduce the nation's economy by over $1.6 trillion.  For the Alt-Right, such a reduction in the American economy is not important, because all that matters to them is preserving the culture of a predominantly white America.  Most Americans, however, don't agree with this.

Amazingly, the Alt-Right has until recently seen Donald Trump's candidacy as the ultimate vindication of their decades long campaign to overturn classical liberal conservatism.  But now they are beginning to see that just the opposite is the case.  Trump's radical statement of the Alt-Right's illiberal anti-immigration policies has provoked the great majority of Americans to see that liberal globalist policies of free trade and open borders really are good for America and for the world.

Surveys indicate that only a tiny minority of American voters (7%-10%) rank immigration policy as a major issue for them.  This suggests that the ethnic nationalism of the Alt-Right has no appeal for most voters.

So it seems that the candidacy of Trump may in fact reinforce the triumph of classical liberalism and the defeat of mercantilist alternative conservatism.


rrh said...

How confident are you that open borders will strengthen classical liberalism, as opposed to being the last liberty we enjoy? Is it not likely that new immigrants will support progressive statism? In support of this claim, I offer the example of California. Why isn't "Libertarianism in one country" a safer strategy for classical liberals than open-borders/suicide pact libertarianism?

Roger Sweeny said...

What a difference a few weeks makes. There was no perceived "softening" in Trump's immigration policy and recent polls show the race much closer or Trump actually ahead in the popular vote (Oh, would it be ironic if he won the popular vote and lost in the electoral college!).

Ann Althouse actually tried to find a Trump quote that he planned to deport 11 million illegal immigrants. She couldn't find any. What he seems to have done is to allow people to make the accusation without correcting it.

I think you are absolutely wrong that the great majority of Americans favor open borders. They favor well-regulated borders--like they favor well-regulated everything. Of course, they differ as to what that actually means. Keep out terrorists and drug traffickers, but beyond that? How many should be let in? What should the standards be? How much should the Precautionary Principle apply to immigration? (Another great irony is that the PP when applied to environmental things, GMOs, etc. is considered left-wing but applied to immigration, it is very right. Of course, the PP is literally ultra-conservative.)

I suspect that the actual immigration policy of a President Trump would be a lot like Mickey Kaus's Enforcement First: pretty much leave illegals "living in the shadows" (e.g., no DAPA or DACA)and subject to deportation until (if ever!) the borders are controlled, hoping that this will encourage a certain amount of self-deportation and discourage future immigration outside the system. That seems to be Kaus's feeling too: