L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 123, May 28, 2001
If I Catch You Talking to That Man Again ...
by Vin Suprynowicz
Special to TLE
The national Democratic coalition as it's now recognized was largely built by Franklin Roosevelt and his New York political guru, James Aloysius Farley, in the 1930s -- then expanded and welded more securely into place by various cryptosocialist "Great Society" handouts and giveaways dreamed up by Roosevelt protege Lyndon Baines Johnson and associates, 30 years later.
Though modern Republicans have grown increasingly less convincing as a truly "smaller government" alternative, Democrats have long been able to rely on the shorthand assumption that Republicans were the party of wealthy white business owners and entrepreneurs -- the kind of people who own stock portfolios and read the "Wall Street Journal" -- whereas any blue-collar American of identifiably ethnic stock could be counted on to vote the straight Democratic ticket, no questions asked.
All this was based on the notion that unrestrained capitalism was the enemy of America's largely ethnic, blue-collar underclass, of course. Since "the system" carefully husbanded all the real wealth in the hands of the older white families -- since the bulk of workers and their children could never dream of owning their own free-standing homes, or stock portfolios or other substantial retirement assets ... let alone starting and owning their own businesses, becoming landlords in their own right, and so on -- the only hope of the traditionally Democratic ethnic groups was an ever-larger bureaucracy to busily tax and regulate away the wealth of the robber barons, redistributing it to the poor (after deducting a considerable handling charge) in the form of housing subsidies, food stamps, and a hundred other "entitlements" and set-asides.
But over the past 40 years, something terrible has happened to these reliable assumptions. Millions of American families -- including families whose names end in vowels, or who don't look especially white -- have grown considerably more wealthy (downright rich, by the standards of the rest of the world).
More and more black and especially Hispanic Americans find themselves making good livings in family businesses, and wondering why that wealth should be taxed away to benefit those who have made less healthy and productive life choices. Hispanics, especially, tend to be more socially conservative, and thus not as comfortable a fit for a Democratic party which has increasingly embraced the more extreme reaches of man-hating feminism; bug-worshipping environmentalism; gay and trans-gender empowerment; abortion as a handy method of birth control (I'm all in favor of reproductive choice, but what ever happened to the "rare" part of Bill Clinton's famous abortion catch-phrase?) and other aberrant schemes of highly non-traditional social engineering.
So why do Hispanics continue to vote solidly Democratic?
The answer is they don't -- at least not everywhere. In states like Texas, where Republicans like George W. Bush have taken the trouble to reach out to this constituency in its own language, Hispanics in ever larger numbers have embraced Republican candidates preaching lower taxes, less debilitating welfare schemes, less radical social change, and the preservation of private wealth.
May 4, now-President Bush went even further, hosting the first-ever White House celebration of the Mexican Cinco de Mayo holiday (commemorating the Mexican victory over French forces at the battle of Puebla), and conveying a portion of his remarks in Spanish.
Even more alarming to Democrats jealous of their shrinking constituencies (leaving aside government bureaucrats, what percentage of Americans still belong to labor unions?), President Bush then made the traditional Mexican-American holiday the subject of another first: a Spanish version of his weekly, Saturday morning radio address.
Outraged and clearly on the defensive, Democrats announced Friday that House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, D-Mo., and Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, would provide their party's response in Spanish, as well.
But the topic of that Democratic address was to be not any obscure episode out of Mexican history. No, instead Srs. Gephardt and Reyes would address "the difference between Democratic and Republican political agendas."
Good. This is precisely the topic to which traditionally Democratic ethnic constituencies should now be paying close attention.
Anyone who examines the true, modern Democratic social and economic agenda and finds it agreeable can continue to vote that way, of course. But it benefits no ethnic group to be considered "permanently locked in place," pulling a party lever for no better reason than because granddad did. Only constituencies which are "in play" can expect any politician to pay much ongoing heed to their interests.
And black and Hispanic Americans -- having gotten a good, first-hand look at the wonders created by decades of the debilitating Democratic welfare/police state -- are in a better position than many to pass their own, independent judgment on the real-world results of "the difference between the Democratic and Republican political agendas."
Again, today's post-Robert Taft Republicanism too seldom offers freedom-loving Americans much more than "Democrat Light" ... more's the pity.
Nonetheless, by all means: Let the comparison begin.