Trump and America's European future

Domenech is right that Trump and his immigration plan raise the specter of a GOP driven by white identity politics in a particularly vivid way. He is also right that the problem goes much deeper than Trump, who is, as he points out, merely benefiting from an anger and resentment that was already there. America is growing more and more diverse. Once the “cultural mainstream”, whites are becoming just one ethnic group among many. As that happens, the danger is that the GOP, which got 88 percent of its votes from whites in 2012, gives up on creating a coalition bound together by ideology and instead resorts to ginning up resentment among aggrieved members of its base.

If that transformation happens, Domenech argues, we would be faced with a European-style future, where the failure of the elites to respect the will of the large swathes of people creates an increasingly illiberal right-wing backlash, which in turn drives moderates to vote for the left, and so on in cycles.

The best way to avert that future is to cut to the heart of the matter: immigration. The right must embrace and pass meaningful immigration reform that proves to the American public that it really does intend to enforce the nation’s borders. As Nick Gallagher argued in these pages on Thursday, reform does not have to be anti-immigrant or even anti-immigration. It could and probably should involve higher levels of legal immigration than we have right now and some form of amnesty. But the first, most indispensable steps must be to enforce the nation’s immigration laws and secure the borders.