Here’s a dirty secret: Great nations rest on a great common culture. I say it’s a secret because it’s become almost taboo to discuss this historic fact; progressives across the globe have turned decisively against national legacies, and it’s progressives who by and large dictate mainstream culture. But if the Democratic Party wants to avoid further electoral disasters like those in Virginia, Long Island and elsewhere, it would do well to relearn the obvious truth that a common culture that binds us is not only good and necessary, but popular.
Out on the dusty prairie west of Houston, the construction crews have been busy. Gone are the rice fields, cattle ranches and pine forests that once dominated this part of the South. In their place sit new homes and communities. But they are not an eyesore; the homes are affordable and close to attractive town centres, large parks and lakes. These are communities rooted in the individual, the family and a belief in self-governance.
The new American Dream has its heart in the states of the old Confederacy. But its allure does not merely lie in a conservative embrace of lower taxes, less regulation and greater self-reliance, although these surely matter. More important are the opportunities that come from building businesses and owning new homes, not for the privileged few but for an increasingly diverse, and growing, populace.
Jamil Ford still recalls the disorders of late May. ‘It was like Baghdad’, he recalls, even as jurors listen to the arguments during the trial of Derek Chauvin, the police officer accused of killing George Floyd. ‘I constantly think about it. The past history does not go away’, the African-American architect recalls, noting with trepidation possible National Guard deployments. ‘The mental part is still there.’
I know how he feels. In 1992 we went through this same process in Los Angeles when the police were exonerated in the beating of Rodney King. This unleashed a three-day explosion of often violent protests, resulting in $1 billion in damages and over 50 fatalities. In the end, the disorder led to some necessary shifts in police procedures but ultimately left the area relatively poorer and considerably less black than before.
Will things be different this time around? No politician in American history owes more to African-American leadership and voters than Joe Biden. His flailing campaign was rescued from the respirator by South Carolina’s heavily black Democratic electorate. African Americans sustained his path through states such as Texas. Since taking office, Biden’s commitment to battling the ‘sting of systemic racism’ and encroaching ‘white supremacy’ has accompanied his early actions and seems to have shaped many of his appointments.
The left’s and the media’s embrace of racial apocalypse, both in the US and in Britain, remains sadly selective. The recent Atlanta murders, given exhaustive coverage, appear to be the product not of Trumpista brownshirts but a singular, screwed-up madman. Meanwhile, attacks on Asians historically have come in large measure from minorities, largely African Americans. The most recent attack on Capitol Hill came not from Trumpistas but a follower of the ultimate anti-white, Louis Farrakhan.
The same media that hypes anti-Asian violence by whites usually ignores that by other ‘people of colour’. When the perpetrator is a Muslim jihadi, as was the case in Colorado, coverage has been less, even if the body count was twice as high. The ‘people of colour’ solidarity that bleeds over the pages of mainstream media has little room for nuance. It tends to ignore the fact that many Asians, and many Hispanics, oppose such things as quotas to selective high schools and colleges.
Similarly, most minorities seem not to share common ground with posturing politicians, and progressive intellectuals, who have excused looting as a form of racial redress. Minority business people generally don’t regard random violence as justice; the impact on business enterprises is felt particularly keenly in Minneapolis. A focus on police abuse is clearly needed, but the vast majority of Americans – including millennials and minorities – do not favour defunding law enforcement. They may be more concerned with the resurgence of violent and other crime in our core cities, even though it is often downplayed in the media.
The impending threat of violence in Minneapolis and elsewhere, offers manna from heaven for some but disaster for most. The racial-protest industry, perfected by the openly neo-Marxist Black Lives Matter, has raised a reported $90million, much of it from corporate largesse. What civil-rights activist Bob Woodson calls ‘race-grievance predators’ – like Ibrahim Kendi – are being bankrolled by oligarchs, like Twitter’s Jack Dorsey.
Read the rest of this piece at Spiked.
Joel Kotkin is the author of The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class. He is the Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University and Executive Director for Urban Reform Institute. Learn more at joelkotkin.com and follow him on Twitter @joelkotkin.
More than 840,000 green card holders became citizens last year, the most in a decade. Over 10 percent of the American electorate was born elsewhere, the highest share in a half-century. All of Donald Trump’s huffing and puffing could not stop this demographic evolution; nor could an endless stream of stories about what an unequal, unfair, and no good place America has supposedly become.
The ground-level integration of America—what my friend Sergio Munoz calls “the multiculturalism of the streets”—continues with ever greater mingling, epitomized by the rise and acceptance of interracial dating, up 40 percent since 2003, and marriage.
What Trump and his most dedicated opponents have both had trouble appreciating is that, rather than a chaotic future defined by racial conflict, most Americans want both order and justice. Most Americans initially supported the George Floyd protests but soon overwhelmingly rejected the violence and looting that accompanied them. Racial minorities, like other Americans, are increasingly heterodox in their political views.
This was evident in Trump—an unpleasant and unprincipled man frequently labeled as a “racist” in the mainstream media, a term also applied to his voters— improving in 2020 on his 2016 results with most minorities, including a significant gain in the Latino vote, particularly in Florida and Texas, and among Black men. In California, Asian voters also didn’t flock to Trump, but they helped reject an affirmative action measure bankrolled by the tech oligarchs. In heavily Asian Orange County, Biden won comfortably but the affirmative action measure lost 2-to-1, and two Korean American women replaced Democratic congresspeople. The measure was also crushed in heavily Latino interior counties.
Another issue where elite support and popular opinion diverge is defunding the police, a position that the vast majority of Americans—including millennials and minorities—do not favor. As my colleague Charles Blain points out, when the Houston city council was swamped with testimony from residents pushing for the dismantling of the city’s Police Department, Black council members and Mayor Sylvester Turner pushed back, saying that these people clearly didn’t spend time in the communities that they claimed to support. A similar dynamic played out in New York, where Black City Council members held the line against a push to slash the NYPD budget by $1 billion.
Economics account for some of Trump’s gains among minority voters. Before the pandemic, most minority workers had done better in terms of income under his administration than they had under previous administrations from both parties. Like working-class people in general, most African Americans did worse economically under Barack Obama despite the enormous boost in political power and influence for portions of the African American upper class on his watch.
Latinos, suggests former California state Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero. have been devastated by the state’s more extreme lockdowns, and angered to see their putative advocates, like Gavin Newsom or Nancy Pelosi, flaunt their privilege in luxury and even violate their own rules as “ordinary people have literally been arrested and even thrown in jail for opening their businesses to just survive and feed their families.”
Read the rest of this piece at Daily Beast.
Joel Kotkin is the author of the recently released book The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class. He is the Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University and Executive Director for Urban Reform Institute — formerly the Center for Opportunity Urbanism. Learn more at joelkotkin.com and follow him on Twitter @joelkotkin
The long-rising blue tide that has colored American politics and values may have crested, but it could still have enough momentum to make it through the election year. Even if Trump is somehow reelected, the wielders of power and influence — academia, media, Wall Street, Hollywood, the big-tech oligarchs, the dominant nonprofits, and the governmental apparat — will remain deep blue for the foreseeable future.