Op-ed: Sorry, Donald Trump has a point

  • By Rich Lowry
  • Sunday, July 5, 2015 3:20pm
  • Opinion

You are hardly a name-brand company if you haven’t dumped Donald Trump during the past seven days.

NBC, Univision and Macy’s all have thrown The Donald under the bus, in the heaviest blow to schlock culture in this country since the cancellation of “Jersey Shore.”

The carnage ranges across media, encompassing reality TV (“Celebrity Apprentice”), entertainment properties (the Miss USA Pageant), fashion (the Donald J. Trump Signature Collection) and even fragrance (Success by Trump).

Yes, the 2016 Republican field is so wide and diverse, it includes perhaps the nation’s first presidential candidate with his own fragrance, “a masculine combination of rich vetiver, tonka bean, birchwood and musk.”

To imagine that Abraham Lincoln’s marketing was focused on posing for photographs for Mathew Brady. Poor old Abe — he could never think big.

The shunning of Trump is in response to his, uh, memorable presidential announcement that included comments about the alleged rampant criminality of Mexican immigrants — they’re drug runners, rapists, etc. — that were typically crude. Trump could make a statement about arcane tax policy — and still make you want to take a shower afterward.

Although this isn’t anything new. The companies fleeing him are acting on what has become one of the foremost principles of American public life: It’s not enough to be offended; you must punish the offender.

As it happens, Trump’s new enemies are doing him an enormous political favor, at least in the short term. There are few things that benefit a Republican candidate in the current environment of left-wing bullying more than getting fired and boycotted for something he’s said.

Trump’s instantly notorious Mexico comments did more to insult than to illuminate, yet a kernel in them hit on an important truth that typical politicians either don’t know or simply fear to speak. “When Mexico sends its people,” Trump said, “they’re not sending their best.”

This is obviously correct. We aren’t raiding the top 1 percent of Mexicans and importing them to this country. Instead, we are getting representative Mexicans, who — through no fault of their own — come from a poorly educated country at a time when education is essential to success in an advanced economy.

Trump’s comments made it sound as though Mexico is sending us moral defectives. But immigrants are willing to work. Immigrant men ages 18-65 are in the labor force at a higher rate than native men.

It’s just that a lack of education hampers even hard-working people. This is illustrated in an exhaustive report by Steven Camarota of the Center for Immigration Studies, which favors a lower level of immigration.

Immigrants here from Mexico — which has sent more immigrants than any other country for decades — have the lowest levels of education. Nearly 60 percent of them haven’t graduated from high school.

This puts Mexican immigrants at a disadvantage, and it shows. Nearly 35 percent of immigrants from Mexico and their U.S.-born children are in poverty; nearly 68 percent are in or near poverty. This is the highest level for immigrants from any country.

Fifty-four percent of immigrants from Mexico lack health insurance. A higher proportion of Mexican immigrants uses means-tested government programs than immigrants from any other country — more than 57 percent. Immigrants make progress on almost every indicator over time, but are still far behind natives after two decades.

For all its crassness, Trump’s rant on immigration is closer to reality than the gauzy cliches of immigration romantics, who are unwilling to acknowledge that there might be an issue welcoming large numbers of high-school dropouts into a 21st-century economy. If we don’t want to add to the ranks of the poor, the uninsured and the welfare-dependent, we should have fewer low-skilled immigrants — assuming saying that is not yet officially considered a hate crime.

The point could be made much more deftly and accurately by anyone not named Donald J. Trump. In the meantime, he fills the vacuum, and enjoys the whirlwind.

Rich Lowry can be reached via e-mail: comments.lowry@nationalreview.com.

More in Opinion

Sarah Vance (Photo provided)
Point of View: A moment of agony for Sarah Vance, and for Homer

The emotions driving Sarah Vance to the brink of tears during her agonizing silence in front of the Legislature suggested a battle of ideas

The Alaska State Capitol. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
Opinion: Millions needed for Alaska’s child care sector

Without public investment, Alaska will continue to witness an inadequate and diminishing supply of child care services

Rep. Ben Carpenter, R-Nikiski, speaks about teacher bonuses during consideration a bill increasing state funds for public education in the Alaska House of Representatives on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024, in Juneau, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Rep. Ben Carpenter: Time to disrupt our legislative process

Capitol Corner: Legislators report back from Juneau

Sen. Jesse Bjorkman, R-Nikiski, presents information on a bill establishing a voluntary buyback program for Cook Inlet’s east side setnet fishery on Monday, Feb. 19, 2024, in Juneau, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Sen. Jesse Bjorkman: Fishing, energy move into spotlight

Capitol Corner: Legislators report back from Juneau

Rep. Justin Ruffridge, R-Soldotna, speaks in support of debating an omnibus education bill in the Alaska House Chambers on Monday, Feb. 19, 2024 in Juneau, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Rep. Justin Ruffridge: Finding common ground on education

Capitol Corner: Legislators report back from Juneau

Sen. Jesse Bjorkman, R-Nikiski, speaks to attendees at a town hall event on Monday, Nov. 20, 2023, in Nikiski, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Sen. Jesse Bjorkman: Taking action for workers, supporting kids

Capitol Corner: Legislators report back from Juneau

Rep. Justin Ruffridge works in the Alaska State Capitol building on Tuesday, March 28, 2023, in Juneau, Alaska. (Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire)
Rep. Justin Ruffridge: Bills move forward and public weighs in

Capitol Corner: Legislators report back from Juneau

Alaska House Rep. Ben Carpenter, center, speaks to constituents at the Alaska State Capitol, in this undated photo. (Courtesy Office of Rep. Ben Carpenter)
Rep. Ben Carpenter: Focusing on fiscal stability

Capitol Corner: Legislators report back from Juneau

Alaska Council of School Administrators logo. (Photo provided)
Op-Ed: The K-12 Fiscal Cliff: Who is Responsible? Everyone!

Seven years is a very long time to go without a meaningful permanent state funding increase

Most Read