By RICH LOWRY July 01, 2015
You are hardly a name-brand company if you haven’t dumped Donald Trump over the past seven days.
NBC, Univision and Macy’s have all 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 widely 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, and, it must be noted, not just any fragrance. Success has “a masculine combination of rich vetiver, tonka bean, birchwood and musk,” and “captures the spirit of the driven man.”
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 criminality of Mexican immigrants that were typically crude. Trump could make a statement about arcane tax policy details related to accelerated depreciation for business investment — and still make you want to take a shower afterward.
Although this isn’t anything new. The companies fleeing from Trump were happy to be in bed with him so long as it suited their business interests. Now, they are acting on what has become one of the foremost principles of American public life: It’s no longer 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. And Trump’s smash-mouth response — oh, yeah, I’m going to sue Univision for a cool $500 million — will be even more endearing to primary voters.
I was skeptical that Trump was really running, but now that the boats are burned behind him, watch out. He is set to be Herman Cain squared — an early-nominating-season phenomenon with a massive media megaphone.
As for his instantly notorious Mexico comments, they did more to insult than to illuminate, yet there was a kernel in them that 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, of course — 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. That’s not the larger problem (although gangs certainly exploit the border and there are criminals in any population). Immigrants are willing to work. Immigrant men aged 18-65 are in the labor force at a higher rate than native men.
It’s just that a lack of education is an anchor around even the hardest-working person in modern America. This is illustrated in an exhaustive report based on government data, by Steven Camarota of the Center for Immigration Studies, which favors a lower level of immigration. I rely on it for the figures that follow.
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. Only about 10 percent have some college and nearly 6 percent have a bachelor’s degree or higher.
By way of comparison, the situation of immigrants from Korea, for instance, is almost exactly reversed. More than 50 percent of them have a bachelor’s degree or higher, and less than 4 percent failed to earn a high school diploma.
This puts Mexican immigrants at an inherent 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 (the Philippines is the lowest, with 5.5 percent in poverty).
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. As Camarota notes, this is “even higher than for refugee-sending countries like Russia and Cuba.” By contrast, the lowest percentage is for immigrants from the United Kingdom at just over 6 percent.
Immigrants make progress on almost every indicator over time, but are still far behind natives after two decades. (The exception to the general progress is welfare use, which actually increases among immigrants here for 20 years compared with immigrants here fewer than five years.)
For all its crassness, Trump’s rant on immigration is closer to reality than the gauzy clichés of the immigration romantics 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 surely could be made much more deftly by anyone not named Donald J. Trump. In the meantime, he fills the vacuum, and enjoys the whirlwind.
Rich Lowry is editor of National Review.