This note grows out of a comment made during the election night coverage of the midterms. Analysts were breaking down the vote in various categories, and one of them remarked that if you just look at white voters, this seems like a completely different country: Republican voters outnumbered Democrats 3 to 2. They were all-in for the Trump program.
It’s worth paying attention to what that means. Diversity is not a matter of tolerance; it’s a matter of national success.
Immigrants and their families are assets by any statistical measure. They need to work harder to succeed, and they do it. As the various waves of immigration entered this country, they have adapted and prospered, and the country as a whole has benefited. It’s no accident that the most prominent players in our new economy—Google and Apple—were founded by an immigrant and the son of an immigrant.
But there is another aspect to this as well. Outsiders (and not just immigrants) are not so easily tempted by images of an idealized past paradise. Those siren-song images are not from their past, so they can keep focused on reality and the future.
Despite the many similarities between the Trump regime and the early stages of the “illiberal democracies” of Poland and Hungary, our diversity provides perhaps a degree of protection. White voters have not called all the shots in the midterm election. And it’s possible to believe that we’ve taken a first step back from the brink.
The problems of the Trump regime affect everyone. First and foremost, we are squandering our strongest economic advantages out of ignorance and arrogance. And we are at each other’s throats by conscious choice. Dictatorships are not just bad for outside groups, they are historically bad for everyone.
So we should give credit where it’s due. Three cheers for diversity in all of its shapes and colors—the saviors of the country!