News & Politics

New York Times Op-Ed: All Trump Policies Trace Back to 'White Extinction Anxiety'

Hundreds of people demonstrate against racism in Times Square on Martin Luther King (MLK) Day in New York, NY, on January 15, 2018. (Anthony Behar/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

On Monday, New York Times columnist Charles Blow argued that all of President Donald Trump’s policies — but especially his stance on limiting immigration and enforcing the U.S.-Mexico border — trace back to racism.

“Strip all the other rationales away from this draconian immigration policy. This is at the core: White extinction anxiety, white displacement anxiety, white minority anxiety,” Blow wrote. “This is the fear and anxiety Trump is playing to. Politico Magazine dubbed Trump ‘Pat Buchanan With Better Timing.'”

Blow rightly noted the statistics showing minorities growing faster than white people, and that in more than half of U.S. states, more white people died than were born in 2016. Then, in typical liberal fashion, he declared that this fear of whites being replaced drove everything in the Trump administration.

“All manner of current policy grows out of this panic over loss of privilege and power: immigration policy, voter suppression, Trump economic isolationist impulses, his contempt for people from Haiti and Africa, the Muslim ban, his rage over Black Lives Matter and social justice protests,” Blow wrote. “Everything.”

He concluded scathingly: “These immigration policies are for people who conflated America with whiteness, and therefore a loss of white primacy becomes a loss of American identity.”

Blow isn’t entirely wrong, but as usual he paints with far too broad a brush. “White Extinction Anxiety” — the name of his article — does exist, and so long as the Left focuses on identity politics, opponents on the Right are likely to grow more and more frustrated with the emphasis on race over everything else.

Republicans are not racist. We do not champion American values because they are “white.” (Indeed, Americans of Irish and Belorussian Jewish heritage like me were not considered “white” for a long time.) Rather, we champion free markets, limited government, the Constitution, and the rich heritage of the West because they are the most effective recipe for human flourishing — regardless of ethnicity or national origin.

The Left may wish to twist every issue into identity politics tribalism, but conservatism is not an excuse for racism — it’s a firm defense of the best of America’s values.

Tragically, the alt-right does represent a racist backlash against the Left’s overemphasis on race, and even a few Trump supporters are white nationalists. The president has made racially insensitive statements in the past. But even the core issue that Blow complained about — immigration — does not boil down to race.

As PJ Media’s D.C. McAllister explained, if you love and value something, you will wish to defend it. Immigration laws and border security are important issues for people who love America and do not want to see its values changed. There needs to be a screening process to make sure that the immigrants who should and do come here will also value the Constitution and America’s founding principles.

Some of the most inspiring Americans I have met have been immigrants — immigrants from Cuba and Mexico, immigrants from Africa, immigrants from China, immigrants from Iran and Pakistan. Oftentimes, the hard-working foreigner who has struggled to get to America knows and appreciates the freedom and prosperity here better than native-born people, no matter their race.

When immigrants cross the border, overstay their visas, or take advantage of our immigration system, they’re not harming me — they’re harming the immigrants who value America enough to abide by U.S. immigration law.

I will proudly stand with these legal immigrants, and denounce anyone who thinks this issue boils down to race. There may be a racial element to the immigration debate — fanned by Democrat rhetoric championing minorities and twisting issues like voter ID into “voter suppression” — but one need not be a racist to support a tougher stance on immigration.

For that, you just need to love and respect legal immigrants as much as they love and respect America.