Instead of restrictionism, conservatives would do well to embrace selectionism.
The conservative intelligentsia is in the grip of a profound demographic pessimism—a sense that a diversifying America necessarily spells doom for the right, and that the movement’s only hope is therefore to halt, or at least sharply reduce, immigrant inflows. Portents of demographic doom have long been a mainstay of conservative media, whether on the Fox News prime-time lineup or in highbrow journals of opinion, and embracing restrictionism has become a surefire way for ambitious Republicans to signal their edginess and resolve.
But a funny thing has happened on the road to conservative demographic doom. Since 2016, a rising number of first- and second-generation Americans have been gravitating to the political right, a trend that predates the current political travails of the Biden administration and that has grown particularly pronounced among voters of Latin American origin. Cosmopolitan liberals who have long imagined themselves the vanguard of a rising progressive majority are now confronting the possibility that they are an overrepresented rump, with political influence that stems more from their control over elite institutions than widespread popular support.
Photo by studio9400/iStock