By Jonathon Van Maren
Barack Obama is on tour to promote Part I of his gargantuan memoirs, A Promised Land. During one conversation on The Breakfast Club podcast, he made an astute observation about the fact that Trump’s vote count with Hispanics actually increased—a remarkable achievement after four years of being cast as a racist. “There’s a lot of evangelical Hispanics who, the fact that Trump says racist things about Mexicans, or puts undocumented workers in cages, they think that’s less important than the fact that he supports their views on gay marriage or abortion,” Obama observed.
Obama on @breakfastclubam: “… There’s a lot of evangelical Hispanics who, the fact that Trump says racist things about Mexicans, or puts undocumented workers in cages, they think that’s less important than the fact that he supports their views on gay marriage or abortion." pic.twitter.com/8OpocwYrLV
— The Recount (@therecount) November 25, 2020
Obama’s comment triggered a lot of outrage on the Right, although I’m not sure why. Plenty of conservatives have been saying the same thing. I wrote a column on the potential for a wider-scale realignment for The American Conservative making this point, featuring interviews with Robert P. George and Charles Camosy, who agree. The spectre of Hispanics or African Americans voting their values rather than their ethnic identity is the Democrats’ worst nightmare and would in all likelihood destroy their party. Their carefully-constructed coalition would fall apart overnight if there were even a partial shift. Hispanics voting their Christian values would be a disaster for the Democrats.
Of course, Obama’s comments were certainly disingenuous. It was his administration, after all, who built the “cages,” if that’s what we’re going to call the chain-link facilities. I happen to think family separation and other such policies are reprehensible, but Obama doesn’t get to mount the moral high horse on that. Still, there is no reason for conservatives to get angry about this characterization—which was certainly not “bigoted,” as several commentators alleged. I don’t think that calling people pro-life and pro-family is pejorative, and despite how Obama intended his comments, they strike me as a compliment.
To reiterate what I laid out in my TAC column, I just hope Republicans are listening. There is an opportunity here to pivot to an agenda that is socially conservative and economically oriented towards families, leaving the Democrats the party of the woke. Most African Americans, for example, are not on board with the LGBT agenda (which is why Pete Buttigieg had a level of black support that hovered near zero.) This past election showed that despite the platform given to Marxist critical theorists and Black Lives Matter radicals by the media, rank and file Americans aren’t buying it. That’s how Biden, a perceived moderate, got the nomination in the first place.
Most Americans still think that stuff like this, from New York Times columnist and author of a new Black Power Manifesto Charles Blow, is nuts:
Stop doing gender reveals. They’re not cute; they’re violent. All we know before a child is born is their anatomy. They will reveal their gender. It may match your expectations of that anatomy, and it may not. If you love the child you will be patience, attentive and open.
The louder Democrats lean into boutique LGBT issues and insist on forcing the term Latinx on Hispanic Americans against their will and partner with corporations who have realized that getting woke is the best way to distract from their sweat shops overseas, the greater the opportunity the GOP has for moving to the centre on economics while doubling down on social conservatism. I never thought I’d say this, but conservatives need to listen to Barack Obama.