Am I Breaking Free of Republican Nativism -- or Media Stereotypes?
My new book starts with recounting my 2018 campaign as a pro-immigration Republican. In Ohio.
Twitter rejected me today. I was surprised, and it got me thinking about censorship and big tech. And it just so happens that my new book launch coincides with a national kerfuffle about the Joe Rogan podcast, Neil Young’s me-or-him ultimatum, and Spotify. One issue is whether social media companies should be allowed, let alone asked, to “moderate” content. The second issue is whether content moderation — which we should admit is policing speech — can ever be done fairly. Indeed, the central rationale for truly free speech is that it is the only effective moderator (because idiocy, falsehood, and statistically insignificant variables without proper specification ultimately reveal themselves).
Now to the facts. Here is the promoted tweet that was denied, and the quoted text from Twitter, Inc.
@TimmerKane, your Tweet has not been approved for use in your Twitter Ads campaign. We have determined that the following Tweet cannot be included in your Twitter Ads campaigns:
This determination is based on the following Twitter Ads policy:
What a strange era. What would our books look like if sanitized of causes? Not so long ago, the American Left was obsessively hard-core about only a few issues, and none was more important than radically free speech. Now they agitate to force companies to deplatform. And they agitate for weird rules that are haphazardly applied by bureaucratic thought police.
Look, it’s a free country (i.e., people can agitate for whatever they want). I’m not against people having the right to call for censorship. They can call for fascism or communism, for all I care. That’s because I value free speech. But here’s what they — the new American Left — cannot do: They cannot call themselves liberal. The only liberal Party left in the United States is the conservative party, also known as the Republicans.
That leads me to the topic of today. Did I just exorcise myself from the GOP upon publication of The Immigrant Superpower? Longtime friends know that Oxford University Press launched the book on January 27, 2022. You can read the first chapter for free at Amazon and Google, and listen to a sample at Audible. Many reactions to the book so far have been confused because I am making the conservative case for more immigration, and that makes some people think that it is anti-Trump and/or anti-Republican. They have this notion that Republicans are nativist, xenophobic, and anti-immigrant. I’m here to correct the record.
When I ran for office a few years ago, my campaign conducted a poll to assess whether my pro-immigration views would be a liability. What the pollsters found was that about 40% of Republican voters would be less likely to vote for me but 41% of Republican voters were more likely to vote for me based on my immigration message alone. What I discovered on the trail and doing research is that Republicans are concerned about respect for the law, protecting the vote, and preserving the value of citizenship. The Left is eroding those American virtues, citizenship in particular.
What my book aims to break free from are MSM stereotypes. For example, I showcase that U.S. citizens are much more tolerant of ethnic diversity than any other country, particularly European countries. There’s a whole chapter on the outdated “Ugly American” meme which is rooted in the anti-immigrant US diplomacy of the 1950s. I recount how the novel The Ugly American made such an impact on JFK and LBJ that they set the course for the revolutionary 1965 reforms. Those were the reforms that ended racial quotes in immigration, that opened the arms of Liberty to all, and they enacted was more than half a century ago. In 1990, President George Bush doubled down on that openness, and added a Diversity Visa (source of the least criminal American citizens, FYI). It’s time for the MSM to update its tropes about the racist, xenophobic American Right.
Another trope is that American democracy is in crisis, and hyperpartisan politics is to blame. Here’s a suggestion: the mainstream media would be wise to look in the mirror when it seeks villains for the erosion of civility. The MSM keeps banging the “xenophobic/racist Republican” drum, regardless of the facts, and they simply couldn’t ever treat President Trump with any nuance. This predates Trump, of course, because the relentless characterization of Senator John McCain as right-wing zealot during (not before or after) his 2008 presidential campaign was appalling. The characterization of Mitt Romney is a bullying misogynist during (not before or after) his 2012 campaign was no better. They just couldn’t stop themselves from crying “Wolf!” And then came Donald Trump in 2016, and sure enough, they cried “Wolf! Wolf! Wolf!” for 4 straight years, and are still doing it. Sad to say, but we haven’t seen a wolf yet, but when it arrives nobody will believe the mainstream news media.
As just one anecdote, when President Trump offered a serious immigration proposal in 2019 that maintained LEGAL immigration levels as the highest in the world, the news coverage was muted and dismissive. They even quoted Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer’s predictable response that it was the same “radical, anti-immigrant policies” with no correction. I cover the episode in the book:
We cannot pretend that media bias doesn’t hurt, but we also shouldn’t be surprised when propagandized stereotypes fall apart. For years now, the Democratic Party has been convincing itself that demographics were on its side as the nation became less white. The assumption was that Latino voters and Asian voters would embrace their worldview. Instead, the old Left worldview of racial tolerance evolved into a virulent form of racial (and only racial) group identity that devalued both individual agency, merit, and equality. I don’t need to tell you how badly CRT is hurting their prospects, just look at the Youngkin win in Virginia.
The larger shock is that Hispanic voters are being turned off by the CRT plank of the new Left. Recent polling shows that Hispanics are evenly split in their support of Republicans and Democrats. Let me tell you something. That’s not an end point. It’s a trend line.
I predict that the Republican Party will soon be recognized as the party of immigration. Legal immigration, as embraced by Republican presidents from Lincoln to Reagan to Bush, and yes, Donald Trump. Meanwhile, Democrats will continue down the rabbit hole of racialization and “equity” — opposed to the colorblind American Dream that immigrants still believe in. Republicans are going to rally against “whiteness” as a racial category, while the Left is going to dig into defining race by skin color. You can see an early eruption on this fault line in this week’s Whoopi Goldberg claim that the Holocaust wasn’t racist.
Democrats are at grave risk of becoming the party of gender-extreme cultural imperialists who demand “Latinx” replace the language of Latinos and Latinas. It’s not going to backfire. It already has backfired. According to recent POLITICO story covering a Dem-pollster of Hispanic Americans, “40 percent said ‘Latinx’ bothers or offends them to some degree and 30 percent said they would be less likely to support a politician or organization that uses the term.”
My biggest dilemma in writing the book was whether or not I should talk about race. To be honest, I hate talking about race. The bottom line is that I don’t believe in races because I believe in a single human race.
The goal of my book was to write something fresh that helped us escape the tired and shallow argument about the economics of immigration in the micro sense, i.e., do they take jobs? I was going to write about national security alone. What I found myself needing to say is something that veterans learn in the U.S. military — that America is an exceptionally strong country because of our ethnic diversity. Indeed, it is that diversity and tolerance and love for all mankind that gives our Republic a decisive advantage over geopolitical rivals. Namely, slave-camp genocidal totalitarian regimes. Those enlightenment values are why the 1900s were the American Century. And I think we win this century, too, with ease, so long as we remember the one thing that makes America unique: radical equality.
So in the end, there was no way for me to avoid talking about race and immigration. And then when I started doing the research, I was appalled to realize how numb we have all become to using the white-black-other racial brackets that were invented by racists. I was shocked to learn that the government demands Arabs, Persians, and even Afghan refugees to be coded as “white” and then be teased for having white privilege. Then I learned that the university of California goes even further, requiring people with ethnic backgrounds from Ireland to Turkey to Somalia check only the white box. Can we do better? Can Whoopi do better?
I try, at least. I stick my neck out in chapter 14 and say some controversial things in the book. Things that may well get me cancelled. But for Pete’s sake, I didn’t think the the cancelling would start so soon, and with such a lame twitter algorithm. I shouldn’t have worried about avoiding controversy, because everything is controversial now.
Live Book Talk via Zoom on Thursday
Ike Brannon and the DC-based Prosperity Caucus asked me to give a book talk via Zoom. It will be this Thursday evening and is free to the public. If you have a chance, please join us.
You are Invited ... To a Meeting of the Prosperity Caucus with Guest Speaker Tim Kane
Thursday, 3 February 2022 at 6pm Eastern
Tim Kane is a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University where he specializes in economic growth, immigration, and national security. Kane was previously the J.P. Conte Research Fellow in Immigration Studies. Kane has published several books on immigration as well as military reform.