Should America Build a Smaller, More Lethal U.S. Army?

In the Old Testament book of Judges, the Almighty tasks Gideon with leading the Israelites against their oppressor, the Midianites. In assembling an Israelite army, the Almighty commands Gideon to reduce his numbers. Gideon obeys and ultimately triumphs with the remaining force of three hundred men employing an elaborate ruse. Reducing the size of an armed force seems counterintuitive, but, as the story illustrates, organizational design, and not end strength, is critical to military effectiveness.

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(05/20/2016 Postscript: 
Senate Armed Services Committee has endorsed the below RSG concept)

Should America Build a Smaller, More Lethal U.S. Army?

In the Old Testament book of Judges, the Almighty tasks Gideon with leading the Israelites against their oppressor, the Midianites. In assembling an Israelite army, the Almighty commands Gideon to reduce his numbers. Gideon obeys, directing those who are afraid to fight to leave; of the thirty thousand assembled men, more than twenty thousand leave. When left with the remainder, the Almighty again commands Gideon to reduce his numbers. Gideon again obeys and directs the remaining men to drink from the nearby river. If the man put his mouth to the water, he was sent home. If the man kneeled to collect water in his hand, he was permitted to stay. In the end, Gideon was left with a force of three hundred men. Organizing the remainder into three companies, Gideon then armed the men with trumpets, glass jars, and torches. Gideon launched the Israelite attack just as the Midianite camp rotated its guards, and, at the moment of contact, he signaled the three hundred men to smash their jars, blast their trumpets, raise their torches, and shout their battle cry. The deception worked as the ruse convinced the Midianites the attacking force was far larger; in their disarray, they either attacked each other or fled. The victory freed the Israelites from Midianite rule and ushered in forty years of independence and peace. In the present day, headlines are replete with American Army leadership warning of risks arising from the reduction in the service’s end strength. Additional resources are always welcome in the event of a crisis, but simply increasing the Army’s end strength will not solve the challenges facing the service. Reducing the size of an armed force seems counterintuitive, but, as the story illustrates, organizational design, and not end strength, is critical to military effectiveness.

Army End Strength Drawn Down to a Minimum

In submitted written testimony to Congress for an April 5, 2016 hearing, Army general officers stated, “Army capacity is critical... There is mounting risk associated with an Army that could prove too small to execute the strategy outlined in the National Military Strategy. Current demand exceeds the Army's ability to supply units on a rotational basis.” More pointedly, Army leaders warned, “If sequestration-level cuts are imposed in Fiscal Year 2018 and beyond, all components of the Army would be reduced further... creat[ing] unacceptable risk to the nation.” (If sequestration remains in place, then the Army drawdown to 980,000 soldiers — 450,000 in the Active and 530,000 in the Reserve and Guard -- would continue to 420,000 in the Active and 500,000 in the Reserve and Guard.)

The commander of the U.S. Army’s Training and Doctrine Command, regarded the service’s “futurist,” starkly alleged, “We are outranged and outgunned by many potential adversaries [and] our army in the future risks being too small to secure the nation.”

Two days later, the U.S. Army Chief of Staff tempered those remarks, but he too warned against further reductions.

Unfortunately, Army leadership indicated the risks could only be addressed by providing the service with more resources, namely appropriation dollars to afford additional personnel and new equipment.

Given the Department of the Army’s record in managing prior manpower increases and modernization programs, Congress is right to be skeptical as to whether simply providing more of both would best minimize the risks raised by the service’s leadership.

The Independent Assessments

The Commission on the Future of the Army, tasked by Congress with an examination of these matters, found that the aforementioned 980,000 force structure “provides the Army a minimally sufficient capability and capacity across a range of near-term challenges” [Emphasis added]. Moreover, the Commission reported the “Army’s programmed distribution of forces across the components is about right for the range of threats assumed in existing sizing and shaping guidance.” The Commission nonetheless hedged its conclusion: “in general terms, the Army is appropriately sized, shaped, and ready to meet the strategic guidance it has been given... but only just so.” [Emphasis added].

The Commission noted that for some potential challenges already being planned for, the Army might have capability and capacity shortfalls and will be forced to deploy units not fully ready, an unacceptable prospect at any force size. In the Commission’s estimation of emerging international security trends, the service “lacks key capabilities and the capacity to meet or deter some potential threats.”

The Commission submitted a number of recommendations along the lines of force posture, force utilization, and component sourcing, but acknowledged the Congressionally set end strength remains an inevitable limitation and suggested one solution would be to reduce the number of Active Army Infantry Brigade Combat Teams by two. The step would free up approximately 8,500 manpower spaces to alleviate at-risk capabilities, such as air defense artillery and enablers (e.g. fuel distribution, port opening, transportation, and military police.)

The Government Accountability Office, Congress’s investigative arm, just reported on the matter of enabler capacity, finding that the Army prioritized the preservation of combat capacity in complying with reduced end strength authorizations, even to the point of diminishing enabler capacity. The priority placed on preserving combat capacity resulted in the Army only partially identifying the risks associated with such a force structure.

According to GAO, the Army only evaluated the risk associated with fulfilling its mission, but not the “risk to the force”. In other words, the Army examined whether its current force structure could succeed in the fights the current leadership sees on the horizon, but the Army did not determine to what lengths they would have to push and stress its current force structure to achieve these successes. The U.S. Army rightly prides itself on the stress it can endure, but returning to a time when the Army was similarly sized twelve years ago and preparing for a long and unexpected occupation, one Army leader warned achieving success would entail a stress in which his branch of “200,000 soldiers [would] rapidly degenerat[e] into a 'broken' force." The GAO declined to propose adjustments in the vein of the Commission’s IBCT recommendation, but revealed Army senior leaders assume the enabler deficiency can be resolved via contracting. Revisiting how this solution worked out should give all elected decision-makers pause.

(The combat-vs-enabler tug-of-war within a finite end strength invariably conjures images of unruly siblings fighting to put a undersized sheet on a bed...)

If, as the Commission states, budgets are fixed and readiness is a priority, then the solution lies in the matter that prompted the Congress to launch the aforementioned reviews: the Aviation Restructuring Initiative.

Good Enough for Aviation...

In fiscal year 2013, the Army maintained a combat aviation force comprised of 71,000 soldiers and 2,945 helicopters (810 AH-64 Apache attack helicopters and 2,135 UH-60 Blackhawk assault helicopters). The Army’s authorized force structure included 21 combat aviation brigades (13 in the Active and 8 in the Reserve and Guard), and 2 theater aviation commands (in the Reserve). These brigades and commands were made up of subordinate units, principally battalion variants.

To accommodate the reduction in fiscal resources, the Army proposed an Aviation Restructuring Initiative whereby, in general, overall end strength would decline, force structure would shift to the Active Component from the Reserve Component, including the preponderance of attack helicopters. The Army National Guard objected to the initiative and proposed an alternative whereby, in general, overall end strength would again decline, but the force structure shift to the Active Component from the Reserve Component would be less substantial and a proportion of attack helicopters would remain in the National Guard.

The Commission deemed ARI “a well-crafted plan that holds down costs while maintaining a reasonable level of wartime capacity,” and would help free funding for aviation modernization program. The GAO came to similar conclusions, reported the Army came to its decision on the basis of a procedurally sound analysis. The Commission caveated the praise by noting ARI would not alleviate peacetime operational tempo, would diminish the service’s surge capacity for wartime, and would “exacerbate the problem highlighted in this report: the lack of unity between Regular Army and Army National Guard forces.” (Concerns about this disunity may be overwrought as shifting the priority to the Active component may be overdue. For additional information on the misplaced emphasis placed on capacity and capability of the Army reserve components, see the scholarship of military historians Conrad Crane and Gian Gentile.)

While the GAO and Commission findings tempered the controversy surrounding the Active-Guard dispute, the two reports left unstated a critical aspect of the initiative that has bearing on the matter of adequate end strength.

To accomplish the combat aviation force downsizing, the Army approved the streamlining of the service’s aviation brigade structures; specifically, the Army endorsed the reconfiguration of four structures (Heavy, Medium, Light, and General Support) into two new formations, the Full-Spectrum Combat Aviation Brigade and the Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade.

By exploring and adopting alternatives, the Army demonstrated organizational design can mitigate the impact of fiscal and end strength constraints on combat aviation.

More pointedly, the step demonstrates how organizational design can similarly solve the combat-enabler problem posed by the Brigade Combat Team.

...Good Enough for the Total Force

The Army’s principal combat formation, the Brigade Combat Team is nominally the product of the Army’s modularity initiative of the 2000s. The Army touts it as their capability of reference, on par with the Navy’s carrier group or Air Force strike packages, but the formation is a barely modernized descendant of division-centric designs that can be traced back to Army leadership decisions in 1942 to emulate German force structure, one that has inhibited its adaptability since. (Indeed, the GAO reports notes that for all the sturm and drang associated with maintaining a specific number of Brigade Combat Teams, including a “redesign from a two maneuver battalion to three battalion formation,” the ultimate number of underlying battalions will only decrease by less than two percent.)

One alternative in particular directly addresses the matter of combat and enabler capacity -- the Reconnaissance Strike Group.

The Reconnaissance Strike Group (RSG) is predicated on flattening the command and control structure and mirroring the reconnaissance-strike attributes of the aforementioned Navy and Air Force capabilities of reference. If instituted, Air Force, Army, and Navy formations would each commence operations under the command of a one-star general officer and deploy parallel reconnaissance-strike functions. On this basis, the Army RSG would comprise 5,500 to 6,000 soldiers and organize along reconnaissance, mobility, and strike functions and thus integrate more efficiently with sister service packages under ad hoc joint task forces.

Furthermore, this integration accommodates new joint priorities, namely anti-access area denial and rapid aggregation. The Air Force and Navy, having been at the forefront of addressing anti-access area denial challenges, they have readily recognized the advantages conferred on dispersed forces and rapid maneuver; shifting to the RSG permits the Army to capitalize on and complement the nation's advantage in aerospace and maritime-borne strike capabilities.

Lastly, while the RSG would be larger than a BCT in terms of manpower, implementing the RSG would have the added advantage of solving the combat-enabler end strength dilemma currently confounding the Army leadership. The RSG is designed to operate in an austere environment by embedding enabler capabilities in its corresponding battalion structure. The RSG Sustainment Battalion operates independently, unlike a BCT's Brigade Support Battalion. Each RSG maneuver and strike battalion additionally features its own organic support, approximately one-quarter of its assets (see below graphic).


Indeed, each RSG would possess more sustainment manpower (2,426 soldiers) than a BCT (1,357 soldiers).

In all, the RSG can operate on a self-sustained basis for thirty days at a range of 600 miles -- for the intervention-minded, the distance from Warsaw north to the southern border of Finland or south to the Black Sea, the distance from Kuwait City to the southern border of Turkey and the southern edge of the Caspian Sea.

As mentioned above, similar readiness has not been the recent experience of (nor cannot be expected of) the incumbent BCT structure.

Conceptual Debate or Procurement Scramble?

The enthusiasm with which the Active Army embraced ARI contrasts markedly with the vehement opposition to the RSG proposal.

Both concepts represent alternative unit configurations that would help solve problems arising from current end strength and fiscal constraints. Both concepts have been demonstrated their effectiveness in combat simulations. Both were conceived by officers below the flag officer level with first-hand experience coping with the shortcomings of incumbent designs.

Substantive objections probably exist, but a more mundane matter is probably the deciding factor: procurement dollars. The ARI permits the Army to proceed with planned acquisitions with incumbent providers; the RSG would require the procurement of a system from a new supplier.

Consider how rapidly the Army proceeded with implementation and signing AH-64 acquisition contracts once the Army Chief of Staff approved, even as the Army National Guard objected and the Congress launched independent reviews. Since September 2014, the Army has concluded 21 contracts associated with the AH-64 attack helicopter, excluding Foreign Military Sales, for a total of $2.7 billion.

In contrast, the RSG proposal entails ditching the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle in favor of the German-made Puma variant. Army leadership has unceasingly bemoaned the failure to obtain approval for a new vehicle modernization program even though a 2013 Congressional Budget Office report identified the Puma as a plausible and affordable alternative to the ungrounded and costly proposals favored by the service.

As the saying goes, when out of money, the time comes to begin thinking. As the ARI-RSG contrast shows, Army leadership has declined to think, opting to just ask for more money.

(To its credit, the Commission cited structure redesign as an attractive course of action and recommended Congress require DOD to model alternative Army design and operational concepts, including the Reconnaissance Strike Group.)

* * *
To conclude, quantity indeed possesses a quality of its own, but as history demonstrates, organizational design remains paramount. As the Army leadership grapples with end strength, fiscal, and readiness challenges, the step of embracing a smaller force -- one more capably organized and equipped with modern systems (finally) -- emerges as a counterintuitive solution. Amid the welter of challenges and uncertainty characterizing the current international security environment, well-organized ready joint forces constitute the ultimate asymmetric advantage.

(05/20/2016 Postscript: Senate Armed Services Committee has endorsed the RSG concept)

S.2943 - National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017


(a) Modeling Of Alternative Army Design And Operational Concept.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary of Defense shall, in consultation with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, provide for and oversee the modeling of an alternative Army design and operational concept for the Reconnaissance Strike Group (RSG).

(2) REPORT.—Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit to the Committees on Armed Services of the Senate and the House of Representatives a report on the alternative design and operational concept modeled as described in paragraph (1). The report shall include an assessment of the feasibility and advisability of a follow-on pilot program to test force designs and concepts of operation developed pursuant to the modeling.

(b) Test, Evaluation, Development, And Validation.—

(1) OFFICE REQUIRED.—Commencing not later than 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the commander of a combatant command designated by the Secretary for purposes of this subsection shall establish within that combatant command an office to carry out testing, evaluation, development and validation of the joint warfighting concepts, and required platforms and structure, of the Reconnaissance Strike Group.

(2) REPORTS.—Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, and periodically thereafter, the commander of the combatant command designated pursuant to paragraph (1) shall submit to the committees of Congress referred to in subsection (a)(2) a report on the office required pursuant to paragraph (1), including the structure of the office, the programmatic goals of the office, and the funding required by the office to carry out the activities specified in paragraph (1).

Conservatives: Housebroken and Hating It

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(Preface: In college, the author read E.J. Dionne’s Why Americans Hate Politics and found it invaluable to understanding modern American politics. The below review of Dionne’s latest may be critical, but the author’s respect is no less diminished.)

In 1991, American journalist E.J. Dionne published an indispensable explanation of contemporary politics in Why Americans Hate Politics. Chronicling the collapse of the vaunted bipartisan Vital Center that had governed America since 1945, Dionne ably explained how conservative and liberal dissatisfaction fueled divergent political paths for the Republican and Democratic parties, respectively. Dionne acknowledged the two ideologies produced compelling alternatives, but lamented how the ensuing political polarization only ended up introducing “false choices” that precluded opportunities for consensus on what constituted the public interest. Indeed, the title said it all; by the early Nineties were marked by rampant anti-incumbency and an unusually successful independent presidential runs by a maverick billionaire. By 1995, the near-Republican lock on the presidency had finally been broken and the entrenched Democratic majority in the Congress had been overturned. As an introduction to American politics, the title encapsulated a key attribute -- Dionne was even-handed in documenting the varying conservative and liberal strengths and weaknesses and the corresponding public frustration. Contrarily, Dionne has now published his latest assessment, Why the Right Went Wrong: Conservatism--From Goldwater to the Tea Party and Beyond, and has concluded the false choice was actually conservatism’s fault alone. The question Dionne poses in the book is nominally nonpartisan -- how will Americans govern themselves -- but he couples the examination with a curious backhand to the conservative movement -- how will (e.g. should) the conservative movement reform itself? Dionne acknowledges he leans to the left and prefaces the discussion by asserting conservatism has his respect, but he lays the blame for the prevailing dysfunction at the inherent contradiction between conservative ideology and its voters. 

...Mr. Dionne, conservatives concur. In part...

The Path Taken

Dionne centers the contradiction between conservative ideology and its voters by revisiting the legacy and interpretation of its greatest messenger and electoral victor, Ronald Reagan. Dionne acknowledges Reagan articulated conservative ideology like few others and succeeded in crafting electoral majorities not achieved since. Conversely, Dionne also notes Reagan did not necessarily succeed in achieving the goals he so ably espoused. Reagan promised small government, but presided over its expansion. Reagan promised balanced budgets, but presided over historic deficits. 

Accordingly, for Dionne, invoking Reagan is a risky proposition because the comparison entails an evasion, deliberate or not, of this gap between rhetoric and achievement and has complicated an objective evaluation of worthy contemporaries and their contributions. 

Richard Nixon, defensibly Reagan’s conservative predecessor, is condemned as a closet liberal for his various accommodations of the liberal agenda. George H.W. Bush, Reagan’s immediate successor, is similarly denounced for his abandonment of his tax pledge. George W. Bush, purportedly the more Reaganesque of the two Bushes, is now deemed an apostate for expanding the Medicare entitlement and attempting to liberalize immigration. The failure of John McCain and Mitt Romney’s presidential bids are routinely attributed to their insufficient conservatism in the mold of Reagan. Dionne punctuates the point by citing American commentator Charles Krauthammer who summed up, “you can choose your Reagan.”

More consequentially, Dionne asserts the nostalgia precludes an overdue adaptation of conservatism.

Dionne acknowledges Newt Gingrich and Bush 43 made substantive attempts albeit with qualified success. In the early Nineties, Gingrich oversaw reductions in government spending, the end of welfare, and a reinvigorated federalism; Republicans would win the Congress and governorships, but they would not recapture the presidency. Later, Bush 43 would campaign on a “humbler” foreign policy and innovations in tackling poverty; Republicans would win the presidency and Congress, but this dominance was due in part to prevailing national security concerns and would prove just as fleeting. 

By the time Romney bid for the presidency, he was, as Dionne points out, barely able to overcome the appeals by Richard Santorum to socially conservative blue collars or John Huntsman to pro-business white collars (much less Ron Paul’s libertarian contingent). Romney was emblematic of its programmatic bankruptcy as well. Dionne marvels, as many did, how Romney disavowed his signature health care achievement as governor in order to win the nomination and instead campaigned on the umpteenth variation of a tax cut. Most regrettably, Romney cast the election as a contest between “takers” and “makers” and ignominiously dismissed forty-seven percent of the American population as irrelevant.

Accordingly, Reagan nostalgia has only accustomed conservative voters to intra-ideology disputes and, more fatefully, an inevitable disappointment on the part of conservative voters concerning the gap between conservative standard-bearers’ ability to pass these purity tests and their governing record.

Dionne is only partly correct, because, most importantly and elementarily, the historical circumstances were far different between Reagan, and Romney.

Returning to Why Americans Hate Politics, Dionne chronicled how the movement crystallized philosophically in the 1950s with William F. Buckley and Frank Meyer’s crafting of fusionist conservatism. The synthesis of libertarianism and traditionalism not only prompted American conservatives to famously stand athwart history and yell stop, but also provided the intellectual foundation for a generation of attractive alternatives to statist progressive liberalism.

However, the key was, as Dionne notes in Why Americans Hate Politics (but oddly not in Why the Right Went Wrong), anti-communism.

Without the readiness to unite in the face of enemy shared by both, libertarians and traditionalists may not have found common cause (or electoral success) solely countering the extravagance of the Great Society and the delirium of the counterculture. 

Without the totality of a geopolitical threat like communism to unite the two strands, many aspirants since Reagan have struggled to sustain the libertarian-traditionalist alliance -- to the frustration of many more conservative voters.

The Path Not Taken

Accordingly, this retrospective blind spot mars Dionne’s prescription for how conservatives might consider proceeding into the future. (Dionne good-humoredly recognizes conservatives are unlikely to heed the advice of a liberal.)

Dionne argues conservatives should reexamine the legacy of President Dwight Eisenhower and his espousal of “Modern Republicanism.” Dionne notes Eisenhower’s readiness to accept the permanence of the social insurance programs established by his Democratic predecessors reflected a recognition that effective governance would not be possible without accommodating the prevailing preferences of existing majorities.

Dionne acknowledges Barry Goldwater and Buckley objected to this accommodation of an expanded government, but he also contends the two conservative pioneers were forsaking the legacy of President Abraham Lincoln: “to do for the people what needs to be done, but which they cannot, by individual effort, do at all, or do so well, for themselves.”

Dionne enticingly frames his proposed ideological course by recalling how Eisenhower unapologetic pursuit of “balance” represented “thoroughly Burkean” governance. 

Few conservatives could argue with that.

Of course, few conservatives had the chance to argue with that because accommodating the New Deal meant ceding the initiative to the incumbent Republican establishment resigned to making peace with an increasingly liberal Democratic Party.

While the Republican Party underwent civil war, the succeeding Johnson Administration, with general support from moderate Republicans, enacted civil rights, expanded welfare programs, and went to war in Vietnam.

Unfortunately, as Dionne should well remember from Why Americans Hate Politics, such bipartisan “balanced” advances were unsatisfactory to an increasingly radical liberal core that expected and demanded immediate racial integration, the comprehensive redistribution of wealth, and a complete withdrawal from Vietnam.

To invert a pithy observation Dionne cites by American commentator Irving Howe: “the more housebroken the right, the more adventuresome the left.”

Unfortunately, the accommodation Dionne praised was with an ideology on the precipice of self-destruction as its liberal component hurtled toward its own unique brand of ideological extremism. 

Extremism fragmented the Democratic Party, and, four short years after Goldwater’s seeming decimation of the Party, Republicans would win the presidency and would do so under a Richard Nixon who had become more reflective of fusionist conservatism than Modern Republicanism as Eisenhower’s vice-president.

The election also marked the beginning of Republican dominance in presidential elections.

But not in congressional elections.

Between 1968 and 1994, the Democrats would control the Senate for twenty of the twenty-six year period. By 1968, Democrats had been the majority party in the House for fourteen years and would remain there, uninterrupted, for the next twenty-four years. 

Most crucially, during that period, successive Democratic Congresses would institutionalize the entitlement-based federal government that has yet to be dismantled.

When Eisenhower left office in 1960, the only entitlement in place was Social Security:

  1. In 1962, the mandatory share of America's federal budget was 153.3 billion, approximately 20.75 percent of the total
  2. By 2015, the share would be 2,082 billion, about 62.4 percent. 
  3. Between 1965 and 2015, mandatory federal spending grew by 1,358 percent while the entire federal budget grew from 738.8 billion in 1962 to 3,336.2 billion in 2015 (only 452 percent).

Congressional Research Service
The Budget Control Act and Trends in Discretionary Spending
Components of Federal Spending, FY1962-FY2019

via Federation of American Scientists

Successive Republican presidents yielded on taxes during this period -- the corresponding Democratic Congresses never fulfilled the obligation to reduce federal spending. 

More pointedly, as an addendum to the discussion of Reagan nostalgia, Republican complicity is excused given the exigencies of the Cold War. 

(The Republican Party was a minority party under Eisenhower and never became a majority one. Nevertheless, the Republican Party was more united and more dynamic than the Democratic Party during this period and conservative unity based on anti-communism was an advantage. More than a few Democrats and independents voted for Nixon and Reagan on the basis of their avowed anti-communism and their economic or social stance, but rarely all three or just the latter two in combination. And many more conservatives have granted Reagan the dispensation so routinely withheld from others primarily because of his centrality to accelerating the successful close of the Cold War.)

To reiterate, “the more housebroken the right, the more adventuresome the left.”

This bipartisan institutionalization of entitlement-based federal government -- and its unceasing growth -- is one-half of the reason why conservative voters have never been satisfied with conservative standard-bearers, at least since Reagan.

The other half concerns Dionne’s would be warning to conservatives.

The Path To Irrelevance

Where Dionne promises conservatives redemption if they emulate Eisenhower, he warns of irrelevancy if they invoke Pete Wilson.

Pete Wilson hailed from California, the home of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, and between 1983 and 1999, served as U.S. Senator and then two-term Governor. A Goldwater volunteer, Wilson was a bona fide conservative and, in 1996, unsuccessfully bid for the Republican presidential nomination.

Wilson was also the last Republican to win any statewide office in a conventionally scheduled election.

In his 1994 gubernatorial re-election campaign, Wilson also campaigned on the passage of Proposition 187, a ballot initiative to establish a state-run citizenship screening system and prohibit illegal aliens from using non-emergency health care, public education, and other services. 

The impetus was the strain placed on the state government’s finances by the presence of over one million illegal immigrants. 

California voters passed Proposition 187 and re-elected Wilson in landslides.

A federal court, however, later ruled the initiative unconstitutional and its provisions never went into effect.

Nevertheless, the assertion that the initiative’s provisions (and its supporters) were discriminatory proved the most lasting consequence as the California Republican Party has since ceased to be competitive and, aside from the anomalous circumstances of Arnold Schwarzeneggar’s election in 2003, has failed to win statewide office since.

In the evisceration of the once-mighty California Republican Party, Dionne warns conservatives risk irrelevance if they refuse to come to terms with the nation’s changing demographics.

Again, few conservatives could argue with that.

And again, few conservatives had the chance to argue with that because advocates (erroneously) assured the country that liberal immigration “would not change the face of the country” and that immigration is a civil rights matter. (Due to the latter, any call for reform is met with unjustified denunciations of prejudice.)

When Eisenhower left office in 1960, the United States still had stringent immigration restrictions in place:

  1. In 1965, the foreign-born share of America's population was 9.6 million, approximately 4.8 percent of the total.
  2. By 2015, the share would be 45 million, about 13.9 percent. 
  3. Between 1965 and 2015, immigrants added 72 million people to the nation’s population as it grew from 193 million in 1965 to 324 million in 2015. 
  4. Lastly, as of 2014, the estimated number unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. was 11.3 million.

The nation’s racial and ethnic composition, by percent, without post-1965 immigration would have looked markedly different than with the corresponding immigration. 

Modern Immigration Wave Brings 59 Million To U.S., Driving Population Growth And Change Through 2065
Pew Hispanic Center
Via Pew Center (Chart, Data)

In an echo of praise for Eisenhower’s “prudence” in accommodating inherited entitlement programs, Dionne notes Reagan similarly came to terms with immigration reality by enacting an amnesty in 1986. (Dionne condemns Eisenhower’s deportation record.) 

As with taxes and spending, successive Republican presidents supported liberal immigration laws or, in Reagan and Bush 43’s cases, approved or countenanced amnesty -- and, again, Democratic Congresses never fulfilled their countervailing obligation to modify immigration law or to improve border security.

For the last time: “the more housebroken the right, the more adventuresome the left.”

As with entitlements, the bipartisan failure to address the negative effects arising from unrestricted immigration is the other half of the reason why conservative voters are doubling down on their dissatisfaction with conservative standard-bearers, especially since Bush 43.

Housebroken Once and For All

Overlooking the manner in which conservatives have been “housebroken” over permanent entitlement growth and unrestricted immigration underscores Dionne's principal blind spot -- as a liberal, he naturally lauds their occurrence as progress, and to this progress conservatives must yield (again). Otherwise, Dionne warns Republicans their future will be that of Donald Trump.

Fair warning, but before turning to the most recent and visceral manifestation of conservative voters’ frustration, the Republican Party is not the only source of polarization.

In a book about conservatives, Dionne's silence on Bernie Sanders’s coinciding emergence may be unsurprising but it is also farcical. A self-described social democrat who has had no use for the Democratic Party until now, Sanders has earned a significant number of votes from Democrats in his presidential bid by promising to expand entitlements by several magnitudes and to grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants. (Hillary Clinton may be the frontrunner, but only because her party instituted its own undemocratic fail-safe against letting its liberal base from getting too ambitious. Clinton is so crassly expedient she has already tried to outbid Sanders proposals to attract some of his voters.)

Even though high marginal tax rates were unsustainable in the prosperous Sixties, even though current entitlements are broaching insolvency, and even though illegal immigration is illegal, Dionne leaves unexplained how such proposals are original or feasible and what he would expect housebroken “Modern Republicans” to propose in response. Seventy percent tax rates instead of ninety percent? 

To his credit, Dionne warns liberals need to ensure the governmental programs they propose and institute actually deliver the intended results, but he then casually excuses the most recent high profile entitlement implementation disaster -- the Affordable Care Act. Dionne laughably asserts the failed website was “not a failure of ideology but of procurement, performance, and management.” Setting aside that these mundane and inherent roles routinely and satisfactorily executed, on a daily basis, by many, many, many other organizations, large and small, Dionne may be right, but then what is his explanation for the failures of the Department of Veterans Affairs? Failures as the result of procurement, performance, and management are commonplace, just more frequently -- and fatally -- when justified by liberal faith in Big Government.

If the Lincoln’s legacy is the rationale for government action, then why are liberals demanding the federal government intervene into the many realms many individuals can in fact do for themselves, or, as seen in the case of veterans, aggravating the suffering of the very individuals they intend to help.

Conservatives purposely vote for limited government to prevent such outcomes and if the fate of governance is not dependent on liberals permitting their elected leaders to disappoint them or forsaking long held principles, then why should conservatives be expected to do the same?

If Dionne wants to explore paths not taken, then he should examine the recurring intra-party argument from which Eisenhower originally sprang.

The Path Back to Normalcy

In 1952, Eisenhower defeated Senator Robert Taft for the party’s presidential nomination. Eisenhower and Taft generally agreed on limited government, but the former had concluded America, engaged in a global struggle with communism, could not retreat from a comprehensive international role. Possessing the experience and prestige of having served as the former commander of Allied forces in World War II, Eisenhower’s commitment to internationalism won the day against Taft’s more restrained foreign policy.

An anomalous situation for a country founded to be a Republic, the United States embarked on many unfamiliar fronts in leading the West during the Cold War. The maintenance of a large standing military, the development of globe-spanning intelligence capabilities, the erection of multilateral alliance networks, and deployments to every corner of the world -- all were unprecedented internationalist actions undertaken by the American Republic in the name of winning the Cold War.

Such measures resulted in a disastrous intervention in Vietnam and an Imperial Presidency that nearly crippled the Republic, but the extraordinary steps were ultimately vindicated when the Soviet adversary collapsed without a war.

With the Cold War’s end, the moment had come for the United States to become, as American diplomat Jeane Kirkpatrick memorably put it, “a normal country in a normal time.”

Except, the United States never did.

In 1992, the only challenge to the prevailing consensus was posed by a former Nixon and Reagan Administration speechwriter, American commentator Patrick Buchanan.

As Buchanan and other conservatives understood it, the end of the Cold War also meant an end to the many compromises they had accepted to prosecute it, namely the accommodations Eisenhower, Nixon, and Reagan the preceding forty years.

Prior to the Cold War, the American Republic pursued its own modest interests on the world stage, minimized the scope of its federal government, and regulated immigration in the same fashion as all other sovereign countries. The occurrence of the Cold War necessitated internationalism, entitlements, and multiculturalism; with its closure, the rationale for their continuation disappeared.

But Buchanan barely advanced and, because some of his speeches were admittedly better in the original German, his invitation for the United States to become a normal country was never redeemed.

Instead the new bipartisan consensus has been repeated interventions overseas, continued expansion of the entitlement state, and pursuit of a multicultural chimera. (Didn’t everyone just observe the Soviet Union collapse in pursuit of the same aims?)

Dionne warns Trump is the future if conservative voters cling to a version of an irredeemable past. 

Trump is an effective bogeyman, but having examined why conservative voters are frustrated by the compromises of its leaders, Dionne is inexplicably missing his appeal and why conservatives are ready to vote for this troglodyte.

At this juncture, any voice questioning the rationale of ideological compromises accepted for a different era was bound to gain traction. 

Entitlements may be untouchable, but other aspects of the dysfunctional government are not -- voters may be ready for a candidate who relishes firing people and will hold scurrilous bureaucrats accountable. Illegal immigration continues unabated despite repeated legislative remedies -- voters are ready for a candidate who simply promises to build a wall. Overseas interventions go on endlessly -- voters are receptive to a candidate who questions alliances in which the United States performs the vast majority of its missions or promises to stop buying oil from duplicitous autocratic regimes in the Middle East. (Liberty and tradition remain the animating fundamentals of American conservatism, maybe anti-interventionism in foreign policy will be the unifying geopolitical perspective.)

After the Cold War ended, the Republican Establishment never proposed such alternatives. (The Democratic Party has come to the abyss and has decided to jump in enthusiastically.)

If it wasn’t Trump, in all his grotesque scatology, then it would be another voice articulating the road back to normalcy.

Thirty minutes after completing the final draft of this essay, Donald Trump indicated “some form of punishment" for women who have abortions if they were made illegal.” Genuine conservatives seek only to end the procedure, they do not seek to punish any individual, especially the mother. Challenging the status quo is worthwhile and doing so during this election cycle was certainly exciting, but this last statement is beyond the pale and all conservatives should disavow Trump.

Black Votes Matter

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“Mr. President. Jack. This might be the stupidest idea you have ever come up with.”

“Bobby, we’re going to do this.”

“Jack, it’ll be political suicide. Tell him Kenny.”

“Mr. President, I agree with the Attorney General. This initiative would be dead on arrival and would fatally damage us in 1964.”

“I hear you, but I think both of you are wrong. Reforming immigration law would not only pass, but it would cement the party’s prospects for a generation.”

Simultaneously, the Attorney General and special assistant raised their eyebrows, looked at each other, and shook their heads.

“Jack, only out of morbid curiosity, how are coming to this conclusion?”

“It came to me after reading last year’s Census report. Between 1958 and 1962, the white voting age population increased by 4 million. The non-white voting age population only increased by 900,000. The support within white America for civil rights is tentative and neither the party nor civil rights will never be secure without a larger coalition. I may be the ‘torch-bearer for a new generation’ and I have a healthy ego, but I know I’m no FDR or Eisenhower. I don’t have a Great Depression to overcome or a historic continental invasion to lead, so I’m not going to get 56, 57, or 58 percent of the vote. Especially, if I’m insisting on civil rights legislation.”

Bobby and Kenny glanced at each other briefly. The president rose and turned his back to stand next to the window and take in the crisp autumn sun. The floor had his attention momentarily.

“I’m not ever going to win a landslide like them. I mean we barely eked out a win in 1960. And no Democrat will again if civil rights define us.”

His gaze rose and out the window.

“Without an FDR or an Eisenhower, the voters are divided, period. Two Eisenhower landslides took the West from us and, while the electoral map may look like we won back in 1948, if we uphold our civil rights commitment, then the Dixiecrats will bolt again, this time for good. The South will go Republican for the next 25 years.”

Bobby opened his mouth to speak, but the President continued.

“And I say good! Go! Solid South…,” the president practically spat the words out. “’s solid alright -- like an anchor! We can’t get elected without them and we can’t move on civil rights with them! The vaunted “Party of Lincoln” doesn’t have this worry and without that phone call to King’s family, who knows if we would have even won without his father’s famous “suitcase full of votes.” We go ahead with the civil rights bill and the Dixiecrats will bolt. It’s as simple as that.”

Kenny cleared his throat. “And how would immigration reform help us, Mr. President?”

“Unrestricted immigration. We broaden the civil rights struggle -- if we’re going to end discrimination at home, we’ll do it vis-a-vis immigrants as well. No discrimination on the basis of national origins. Incoming immigrants will become part of the Democratic coalition like they always have.”

“Historical migration, even when unrestricted like before ‘24, won’t be enough.” Kenny commented.

“Liberal whites plus registered blacks plus new naturalized voters will be enough…”

“We'll never make them up in time.” Bobby commented.

The president took his chair and continued.

“Look. Goldwater's going to run in 1964. He's going to bid for the South to join him and his Westerners. He'll say it's conservative and small government, that it's states rights, but it'll just be code to resist integration and civil rights. Goldwater is principled and I love him and he’ll win the South, but he's also tactless. I’m half-inclined to keep my promise to fly him around with me as long as keeps opening his mouth. He’ll only antagonize moderates, which we will scoop up. Look at Nevada. We had it in 48 and we won it back. We’re competitive and we won’t even need the whole West. Oregon and Washington are not like Arizona. And California, with new migration, will trend our way. We won it in 48 and we'll win it 64. If we play this right, we can succeed on civil rights and keep re-electing Democrats--”

Bobby again began to speak, but again, the President continued. “--in the long run. Yes, we’ll lose from time, but civil rights shouldn’t necessarily cost us a majority either. If we play our cards right...”

The Attorney General leaned forward in his chair. “So let me get this straight. We can barely make headway on civil rights, the South is teetering on the precipice of a race war, and you… you want to bring in more minorities? There’d be race riots across the country! We wouldn't even get re-elected in Boston! They’d burn us in effigy in Southie! They’d--”

The president spun around and leaned over his desk, cocking his head at Bobby.

“Jeezus, Bobby! And here I thought you were the cynical one. Backlash works both ways, Bobby! Even if they wanted to go slow on civil rights, no whites are going to stick their necks out for church bombers. These good ol’ boys are antagonizing everyone -- they’re going to marginalize themselves. And, you -- you who can barely tolerate LBJ -- would prefer to continue having to rely on Senators Russell and Eastland?

The Attorney General answered with silence.

“I don't want to campaign in nut country, do you? Would you rather campaign in Dallas or Los Angeles?”

“Are you ready to campaign in Spanish?” Kenny asked.

The president frowned at the remark. “We’re going ahead with this. And this’ll be a good one for Teddy to make his mark in the Senate.”

Kenny slumped in his chair; Bobby put a finger pensively on his mouth.

“If you want to fundamentally transform the country, this is the way to do it. If we can’t change the vote, we’ll change the voters.”

“We don’t even have good information on nationwide voting blocs by race or ethnicity -- Census doesn’t even track this stuff” Kenny commented.

“Why do you think I appointed an elections expert as director over at Census?”

Fiction and Fictitious Assurances

Obviously, the preceding is complete fiction.

As well chronicled by American journalist Margaret Sands Orchowski in her 2015 book, The Law that Changed the Face of America: The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, the general impetus to change American immigration laws arose from the sentiment to atone for and eradicate the discrimination that fueled the Holocaust and the desire to achieve civil rights. Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Baines Johnson were integral, but Senator Edward M. Kennedy and Representative Emanuel Celler were the prime movers. Celler, in particular, had been a tireless advocate of immigrants and displaced persons since the 1920s. Lastly, as Orchowski notes, fortuitous legislative circumstances never hurt; Celler succeeded in arranging for immigration to come under his committee’s jurisdictions subsequent to a 1947 reorganization; when Presidents Kennedy and Johnson signaled their support, Celler succeeded in shepherding the legislation through in less than two months.

Nevertheless, Orchowski notes, as many scholars have, how wrong President Johnson and Senator Kennedy were wrong about the likely consequences of the act. In the annals of mistaken assurances, Johnson’s and Kennedy’s were indeed notable:
  1. Senator Kennedy at the bill’s hearing, 02/10/65: "The bill will not flood our cities with immigrants. It will not upset the ethnic mix of our society. It will not relax the standards of admission. It will not cause American workers to lose their jobs."
  2. President Johnson at the bill’s signing, 10/03/65: "This bill we sign today is not a revolutionary bill. It does not affect the lives of millions. It will not restructure the shape of our daily lives."

Even after the Census Bureau repeatedly underestimated the influx of immigrants, Senator Kennedy never recanted his statements or acknowledged he was wrong. (Johnson died in January 1973.)

Either Senator Kennedy and others ignored the evidence or readily recognized the attendant electoral opportunities, either accidental or purposeful.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau 07/01/2002 working paper "Accuracy of the U.S. Census Bureau National Population Projections and Their Respective Components of Change"

(If liberals can accuse militaristic Republican cabals of plotting perpetual war, then surely conservatives can have some fun accusing opportunistic Democratic hacks of plotting to manufacture electoral majorities.)

Speculation aside, Orchowski’s title sums up the consequences tidily -- the 1965 Immigration Act did change the face of America.

Two Landslide Losers and Their Divergent Legacies

The Act’s passage was integral to transforming the demographic composition of America’s two major parties.

The Act is why Barry Goldwater’s candidacy begat Ronald Reagan’s presidency a mere 16 years later, but also why it took more than 35 years for George McGovern’s candidacy to beget Barack Obama’s presidency.

As has been abundantly documented, the Republican Party’s ascent in the South and among white voters began in 1964 with the Goldwater candidacy. Goldwater did succeed in aligning Southern conservatives with his Western conservatives and this coalition went on to Republican presidential landslides in 1972 and 1984 and congressional majorities in the 1990s and 2000s. The majorities, however, came at a cost of its onetime sizable black voting constituency and, more consequentially, its reputation as the Party of Lincoln.

Conversely, the Democratic Party’s ascent with non-white male voters accelerated in 1972 with the McGovern candidacy. McGovern succeeded in aligning white liberals, feminists, and non-white minorities, but the coalition was barely competitive, being on the losing end of the aforementioned 1972 and 1984 landslides (and then three more defeats in 1988, 2000, and 2004). The Democratic Party retained its forty-year congressional majority until 1994, but the presidential nomination remained a contest between moderates emphasizing centrist policies and electability, and liberals emphasizing its commitments to the narrow agendas of its various groups. Such commitments earned the party the enduring loyalty of the increasingly non-white portions of the population, but at the cost of parity with Republicans with regard to white voters.

More consequentially, the Democratic Party lost white voters because these commitments evolved into the pursuit of identity politics that undermined liberals’ credibility with voters intent on upholding the American Creed.

Inverting the American Creed

The American Creed refers to a summation posited by American scholar Samuel Huntington in his 2004 book examining America’s heritage, Who Are We? The Challenges to America's National Identity. Huntington argued the American identity rested on the American Creed, which he defined as the “principles of liberty, equality, individualism, representative government, and private property.”

Huntington asserted the American Creed was the distinct legacy of country’s English Protestant settlers, but he did not present the concept as an ethnic-religious formulation to justify exclusion, discrimination, or prejudice.

But punitive liberals did.

Punitive liberalism, the McGovern variant of modern liberalism, inverted the American Creed, contending its aforementioned principles were merely the means for perpetuating an illegitimate white male monopoly on power.

As noted previously, after the assassination of President Kennedy and amid dissatisfaction with the the content and pacing of civil rights reform, white and black liberal elites concluded America was inherently hateful and racist and that only a stern “punitive” liberalism would redeem America.

In short order, the Democratic Party would shift from the sunny triumphalism of JFK to the dour defeatism of James Carter and would become the vehicle for an assortment of networked interest groups designed “to promote and take advantage of this sense of historical guilt.”

Meanwhile, the effects of the 1965 Immigration Act continued to unfold...
  1. In 1965, the foreign-born share of America's population was 9.6 million, approximately 4.8 percent of the total; by 2015, the share would be 45 million, about 13.9 percent.
  2. Between 1965 and 2015, new immigrants, their children and their grandchildren accounted for 55% of U.S. population growth.
  3. In all, immigrants added 72 million people to the nation’s population as it grew from 193 million in 1965 to 324 million in 2015.
  4. The nation’s racial and ethnic composition, by percent, without post-1965 immigration would have looked markedly different than with the corresponding immigration

With post-1965 immigration
Without post-1965 immigration
Less than 1
  1. Furthermore, as of 2014, the estimated number unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. was 11.3 million.

And Democratic political tacticians took notice...

In 1970, President Kennedy’s aforementioned election expert and Census Bureau Director Richard Scammon had gone on to write The Real Majority: An Extraordinary Examination of the American Electorate with American commentator Ben J. Wattenberg. Scammon and Wattenberg had reviewed the 1968 presidential election returns and found that the typical voter was "unyoung, unpoor and unblack." Given this demographic profile and the party’s increasingly punitive liberal posture, Scammon warned the Democratic Party would be risking its electoral fortunes if it persisted down this ideological path.

Fatefully, Scammon and Wattenberg titled one chapter “Demography is Destiny.”

In 2002, American journalist John Judis and American political scientist Ruy Teixeira wrote The Emerging Democratic Majority. Judis and Teixeira acknowledged Scammon and Wattenberg’s findings, but instead boldly predicted demographic trends would favor the Democratic Party, enthusiastically noting how their typical "unyoung, unpoor and unblack” voter was now in the minority. Between the shift to the modern economy, the feminist movement, and historical levels of immigration, the McGovernite coalition of liberal white-collar professionals, single women, and non-white minorities would soon constitute a Democratic presidential majority.

Presciently, Judis and Teixeira titled one chapter “George McGovern's Revenge."

In 2008, Barack Obama, the first black to be nominated by a major political party for president, succeeded in his historic run.

Obama was the heir to McGovern, had resurrected his coalition, and shared the punitive liberal conception of America -- the assignment of collective guilt, the assertion of structural inequities, and the requirement for paternalistic government.  Obama’s prescription for governance was orthodox punitive liberalism -- the wealthy will pay redistributionist taxes, all citizens will be mandatorily enrolled in federal entitlement programs, and the party’s various interest groups would not be held accountable for shortcomings within their purview.

In the current Democratic Party nominating cycle, the contest to succeed the country’s first black president is between a woman whose campaign is predicated, in part, on becoming the country’s first elected female president, and a democratic socialist who asserts the country’s economy is rigged and the political system is corrupt.

The former is heavily favored and, as sure as the sun rises and sets, she has already been pressured to select -- and she probably will select -- the first ever Hispanic vice-presidential nominee. Of equal import, the Democratic Party has begun exploring how to grant the right to vote to illegal immigrants.

While punitive liberals would hail the ticket as a sign of progress, its occurrence would only confirm the country’s oldest political party is prepared to rotate its presidential nomination according to whichever purportedly aggrieved minority’s “turn” it is, akin to Lebanon or Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Redeeming the Creed

At this juncture, given demographically and ideologically polarized political parties, two questions arise. One, are the American Creed and American white voters inherently inimical to civil rights for blacks and other minorities? Two, and more concretely, can conservative ideas appeal to blacks and should blacks begin considering conservative ideas?

The response to the first question is no.

Modern conservatism’s original sin was to oppose progress on civil rights by choosing to conserve a narrow liberty (association) and tradition (segregation) within the American Creed that did not merit conserving.

In assigning sin, recalling the word's origins is instructive.

To sin is to miss the mark -- in some instances, the act may have fallen short, but the act was not without good intent or the opportunity for redemption.

In this vein, the Creed, as manifested in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution holds, as Martin Luther King Jr. declared, the promise of its own redemption.

And conservatism remains fundamentally a defense of the Creed.

Conversely, modern liberalism’s original sin was greater and unfortunately beyond redemption.  Modern liberalism renounced the broader tenets of the American Creed at the very moment achieving progress on civil rights and preserving the country’s cohesion had demanded their defense.

In its espousal of multiculturalism, modern liberalism, as with all leftism, has essentially attempted to subordinate the reason, logic, and aspirations of the individual, in this case to the well-being of the ethnic collective. Moreover, multiculturalism precludes the need for new arrivals to assimilate, adopt, uphold, and defend the American Creed as their own. At its worst, multiculturalism, nominally an ideology of tolerance, all too often reverts to totalitarianism, denouncing any and all dissent in the purported defense of an ethnic collective arbitrarily defined by whomever stands at the helm.

Without respect for the reason, logic, and aspirations of the individual or the American Creed to provide the basis for assimilating immigrants, a consensus on the solutions to the public’s enduring challenges will never be achieved.

In particular, the continuing dysfunction within the black community.

Accordingly, the response to the second question is yes.

America broadly recovered from the tumult of the Sixties and Seventies, but the complementary goal of civil rights -- the political and economic advancement of blacks -- remains unattained. Even under the country’s first black president.

Liberals may blame conservative obstructionism, but the recent historical record shows blacks thrived under conservative ideas.

During President William Clinton’s second term between 1997 and 2001:
  1. the number of recipients of federal welfare programs would decline from 14 million to 5 million, the lowest level since 1961;
  2. the number in poverty, after increasing 7.4 million during Presidents Ronald Reagan’s and George H.W. Bush’s between 1981 and 1993, would decline by 6.4 million.
As cited in American journalist Joy-Ann Reid’s 2015 book, Fracture: Barack Obama, the Clintons, and the Racial Divide, American analyst David Bositis characterized the period as a “golden age [especially for black Americans].”

Notably, William Clinton won the Democratic nomination and presidency as one of the aforementioned moderates emphasizing centrist policies and electability in the wake of the party’s post-McGovern era. However, after an initial dalliance with punitive liberal ideas, the voters’ historic election of Republican congressional majorities prompted the admitted latter day Eisenhower Republican to declare the “era of big government [is] over” and proceed with “ending welfare as we know it.”

The results are noted above. Tellingly, the key differentiator as to why Clinton succeeded where Reagan had failed is because the latter only reduced welfare spending, whereas the former approved its end.

Americans can rightly take pride in electing a black to the presidency and, in part because of this milestone, blacks remain the most optimistic group.

However, if demographics are indeed destiny, the aforementioned rotation dynamic means blacks have had “their turn” in the presidency and, according because of aforementioned immigration rates and prevailing birth rates, they may never attain power again. (As noted above, without post-1965 immigration, blacks would have remained the largest minority group; with it, blacks are already a smaller proportion of the population than Hispanics.)

In the Balkanized Democratic Party, a declining proportion of the votes is a diminishing claim to power.

For their part, conservatives and their ideas, drawn from the American Creed, may, in time, recede.

Accordingly, the moment for reconciliation between conservatives and blacks is now.

Conservatives must recognize the American Creed will not endure without wider political support. Blacks must recognize their fate cannot be bound up in the fortunes of one political party.

Conservatives must recognize the blind spot arising from their ideology’s original sin, while blacks must forsake the ideological confines and economic impediments erected by liberalism’s espousal of the multicultural chimera.

If one of the country’s two political parties has turned its back on the American Creed and the other is destined for the minority (and national security alone isn’t reason enough to reconsider unrestricted immigration), then the American Republic will go the way of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a stagnant oligarchy teetering atop a powder keg of minorities eager for their moment of Sarajevo infamy.

If enough blacks choose to diversify their community’s votes and help to elect a genuine conservative, then America will have a second chance at becoming a normal country.

A change in the loyalty of black voters once heralded the onset of major political realignments.

Another one could again change America.