Everyone in Punditopia is arguing about exactly how House Majority Leader Eric Cantor managed to lose his primary to an upstart challenger named Dave Brat, despite the powers of incumbency and a campaign war chest that made Brat's campaign fund look like pocket money. There's never a single, simple, unified answer to such a question, especially in a House race, where local issues and the candidates' relationship with their constituents always play a big role. But it's silly for the Beltway-Media axis to fall all over itself claiming that illegal immigration wasn't a pivotal issue. Of course it was.
And it wasn't just a big issue on its own merits, which are considerable. "Comprehensive immigration reform" is also a powerful proxy issue for the growing divide between American taxpayers and their Ruling Class. It's an issue where politicians, media shot-callers, and the people are so profoundly separated that we can't even agree on what the words mean. Begin with that protean phrase "comprehensive immigration reform," a thick mouthful of politicized hash designed to make people tell pollsters it sounds good, because nobody wants to be accused of either xenophobia or opposition to "comprehensive reform." I mean, gosh, you want things to get better, right? Of course you do!
But then it's time to grab a ballot and head for the voting booth, and suddenly we're not just trying to turn a pollster's frown upside down by saying sure, we want everything comprehensively reformed because we're totally not racists and we want everyone to be happy. We're looking at specific policies, and their monstrous effects. It surely played a role in the Virginia race that voters are getting a look at the humanitarian tragedy on the border, in which thousands of children from Central America have been dragged through unspeakable peril to languish in warehouses and military bases, often without their parents... explicitly and undeniably because they think they'll be allowed to stay in America. They heard the Ruling Class talk about its determination to hand some form of citizenship to "dreamers," and they've come to collect.
The more sinister elements of the Ruling Class wanted this to happen, because they believe those young refugees will give them the political muscle to ram amnesty through, completing the transformation of America into a form more amenable to Big Government and Big Business. (What are you going to do with these kids, amnesty opponents? Airlift them back to whence they came, and drop them into a crossfire between drug gangs? Leave them squatting in camps for the rest of their lives?) The more gullible elements of the Ruling Class scratch their heads and wonder why all these new arrivals didn't hear their elegantly nuanced promises that amnesty would only be offered to "dreamers" who meet all sorts of residency conditions. The most opportunistic elements of the Ruling Class rub their hands together in anticipation of another $2 billion spending program to care for all these refugees.
And the working people of America, the taxpayers, look at this disaster and ask: When did I vote for this? Why am I expected to pay for it? Why am I carrying a burden that the squalid governments of South America don't feel like dealing with? What about our tough economy, weak job market, and tottering welfare state?
Politicians love to sing the praises of "working families," the "middle class," and "people who work hard and play by the rules." The Ruling Class obsession with amnesty is a slap in the face to those people. Working hard and playing by the rules is for chumps. The smart players form a political bloc and get some politicians working for them. Work hard, play by the rules... and get stuck with the bills.
American taxpayers see a mountain of laws hanging over their heads... imposed by the same politicians who can't wait to reward scofflaws. We're not even allowed to use words like "illegal" or "alien" to describe them. This all has nothing whatsoever to do with racism or xenophobia. It's about the rule of law, which faithful citizens regard as a two-way street, binding both the people and the government. But every day we see our government bending and ignoring laws for the benefit of the powerful and their favorite constituents. Illegal immigration is a sharp focus for popular discontent because it's one of the most glaringly obvious places in which law has thinned out into a set of suggestions. Frankly, people who take those laws seriously are more likely to incur the wrath of the Ruling Class and its pet media than people who break them.
And we're not just insisting on the rule of law as some irrational fetish, which is how the Ruling Class sees it, when they're feeling charitable enough to forego accusing us of racism. We know the system only works if the laws are balanced, and everyone accepts their responsibilities. We know the welfare state doesn't have the resources to take on millions of new dependents, and the job market doesn't have enough opportunities to handle millions of new employees. We have ample evidence to support the belief that people whose first encounter with American law involves willfully breaking its citizenship requirements have a tendency to ignore other laws they find inconvenient, too. Not all of them, of course, but sorting out the more lawless individuals is a difficult process... which is exactly why nations must have effective border-security provisions and deportation procedures.
Here's Time Magazine referencing a Politico article reporting Eric Cantor's loss last night: "Within minutes of Cantor wrapping up his concession speech, anti-immigration protesters stormed his victory party." I gather they mean the rally that was supposed to be a victory party. But the more interesting turn of phrase is "anti-immigration protesters." Really? They were people who want zero legal immigration, sealed borders, all of that? Or were they anti-illegal-immigration protesters? It shouldn't be hard to make something like that clear... but that's standard procedure when the Ruling Class deigns to yell across the divide separating them from American taxpayers, and tell us what we really think.