According to new reports, The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol wants fellow professional Republican and National Review staff writer, David French, to run an independent presidential campaign.
The prospect of a French run has received some support via Twitter from professional Republicans who oppose the candidate selected by the voters. However, French’s prior controversial writings could alienate a core constituency of the American electorate— namely, white working-class voters.
While Donald Trump has called on the GOP to become a “worker’s party”— a development Sen. Jeff Sessions called for two years ago, ironically, in the pages of the National Review— French has defended the idea that white working-class communities “deserve to die.”
Specifically, French wrote a piece in support of Kevin D. Williamson, who had said:
The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible. Forget all your cheap theatrical Bruce Springsteen crap. Forget your sanctimony about struggling Rust Belt factory towns and your conspiracy theories about the wily Orientals stealing our jobs. Forget your goddamned gypsum, and, if he has a problem with that, forget Ed Burke, too. The white American underclass is in thrall to a vicious, selfish culture whose main products are misery and used heroin needles. Donald Trump’s speeches make them feel good. So does OxyContin. What they need isn’t analgesics, literal or political. They need real opportunity, which means that they need real change, which means that they need U-Haul.
French went on to dismiss the struggles white working class Americans endure.
“Citizens of the world’s most prosperous nation, they face challenges — of course — but no true calamities,” French wrote.
While French suggests that the decline of America’s middle class and manufacturing power is no true calamity, others could argue that the greater a nation or culture, the more sorrowful it is to witness its decline — much the same way that history would mourn the destruction of the Palace of Versailles more than the totaling of Justin Bieber’s car.
French insists that the devastation of the working-class’ livelihoods is unrelated to failed federal policies such as mass immigration:
[I] have seen the challenges of the white working-class first-hand. Simply put, Americans are killing themselves and destroying their families at an alarming rate. No one is making them do it. The economy isn’t putting a bottle in their hand. Immigrants aren’t making them cheat on their wives or snort OxyContin. Obama isn’t walking them into the lawyer’s office to force them to file a bogus disability claim.
French, instead, suggests that the decimation of these communities is due to the laziness of the American worker:
Millions of Americans aren’t doing their best. Indeed, they’re barely trying. My church in Kentucky made a determined attempt to reach kids and families that were falling between the cracks, and it was consistently astounding how little effort most parents and their teen children made to improve their lives. If they couldn’t find a job in a few days — or perhaps even as little as a few hours — they’d stop looking. If they got angry at teachers or coaches, they’d drop out of school. If they fought with their wife, they had sex with a neighbor. And always — always — there was a sense of entitlement. And that’s where disability or other government programs kicked in. They were there, beckoning, giving men and women alternatives to gainful employment. You don’t have to do any work (your disability lawyer does all the heavy lifting), you make money, and you get drugs.
Mr. French’s blame-the-victim approach is notable for two reasons. First, it presents a novel view of human sociology in which people can lose their cultural pride, their means of economic survival, their sense of identity, their self-worth, and even suffer direct discrimination with no corresponding fallout. Second, it underscores one of the unique aspects of professional Republicanism. While professional Democrats advocate for the use of government power on behalf of their base, professional Republicans like Mr. French seem to argue that their own base deserves what’s coming and, as penance, should be left defenseless.
When readers responded with outrage to French’s piece, French doubled down in a post entitled “The Great White Working-Class Debate: Just Because I’m ‘Nasty’ Doesn’t Mean I’m Wrong.”
In recent decades, these white working class communities — and their inhabitants — have been economically devastated and are quite literally dying off. A study by Princeton economists revealed that white, middle-aged working-class Americans without a college degree are experiencing a rapid rise in morbidity. The report found that the rise in their death rates was tied to, what The New York Times described as the “pessimistic outlook among whites about their financial futures.”
“Only H.I.V./AIDS in contemporary times has done anything like this,” one of the Princeton economists told The New York Times.
Even French’s boss, Rich Lowry, in his own column about the mortality rates of the white working-class, hinted that a kind of loss of social pride might be the cause. “The white working class is dying from the effects of a long-running alienation from the mainstream of American life,” Lowry wrote. In his piece, Lowry seems to perhaps be hinting at what Pat Buchanan described more starkly:
A lost generation is growing up all around us. In the popular culture of the ’40s and ’50s, white men were role models. They were the detectives and cops who ran down gangsters and the heroes who won World War II. … They were doctors, journalists, lawyers, architects and clergy. … They were the Founding Fathers. … What has changed in our culture? Everything. The world has been turned upside-down for white children. In our schools the history books have been rewritten and old heroes blotted out, as their statues are taken down and their flags are put away.
Ironically, while French has said that his “life’s work” has been “building a conservative movement that represents our nation’s best hope for the greatness Trump claims to crave,” French’s candidacy could help install Hillary Clinton as President and put her in a position to end forever the chances of the conservative movement’s electoral success.
As National Review’s Rich Lowry seemed to suggest more than a decade ago, large-scale Latin American immigration will be “suicide” for the Republican Party. As National Review warned two decades ago, “The Republican hour is rapidly drawing to a close … being drowned — as a direct result of the 1965 Immigration Act.”
Today, the U.S. foreign-born population is already at an all-time high of 42.4 million. Every three years, the U.S. adds another city of Los Angeles made up entirely of foreign-born immigrants. Yet Clinton has publicly released on her website a plan to dissolve the nation’s borders within her first 100 days in office.
Similarly, while French claims to be concerned about the rapid pace of Muslim immigration, his candidacy could help install a president who is openly campaigning on expanding Muslim migration. Based on the minimum numbers she has put forward thus far, Clinton would import 730,000 permanent migrants from the Muslim world during her first term alone.
Yet admittedly, French is not opposed to all aspects of a Clinton presidency. As French has previously said, “On trade, Clinton will almost certainly be superior to Trump”— noting that Clinton “would probably maintain the trade-policy status quo, and while that status quo creates winners and losers — as any status quo would — free trade has long been an overall positive for American families.”
The Republican electorate, however, seems to disagree. While many candidates in the GOP primary championed French’s views of ideological “free trade,” those candidates were resoundingly rejected by voters.