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It seems like many now-popular movements had deep-pocketed sponsors.

Can a billion dollars always push an idea into the mainstream? Or are there counterexamples of groups who poured huge amounts of money into promoting something that never caught on?




Money does seem to be the only way to get even a hint of policy change from Washington, but the trend line of public opinion is opposite of what you suggest. Until around 1995, immigration restriction was overwhelmingly mainstream in the United States and still commands a strong plurality.

https://news.gallup.com/poll/1660/immigration.aspx

I'd further point out that the overwhelming majority of the moneyed interests still stack up on the side of permissive immigration policies. It is, after all, capital that benefits from a global free market for labor and an expanded consumer base. It's just about the only thing the Koch brothers and Soros can agree on.


The difference is that traditional chamber of commerce GOP types would hold back the anti-immigration stuff because it killed unions and made their mainstream donors happy. Your chicken slaughterhouse in the middle of Nebraska prospers with underpaid illegals who don’t get workers compensation.

The big money, big ideology people poured money into hard right conservatism. Investing in and advertising on talk radio being one key strategy. Your average blue collar worker/trucker/etc has been indoctrinated with conservative blather for 30 years.


All I have to say about that is if you think everyone's being indoctrinated except you, you're probably wrong.


Of course. I think he has a good point though, that much of the centre-right discourse pays lip service to nationalism while supporting free-trade and minimal control on immigration. So many who would consider themselves to be anti-immigration end up voting for parties which support wholesale immigration in the interest of big business.


I suspect most people are voting for parties who have policies they don't support. The small-government people are often in a similar boat, for example. Or the hard-core environmentalists.

If the consensus position is broad-scale immigration is a good idea (which seems to be solidly the case in English-speaking politics) then voters who don't like immigration are out of luck.


Didn’t say that.

When I worked on the farm in the 90s, the classic rock in the barn was swapped out for Rush every afternoon. When I go back home, it’s pretty much the same, except most of the farms are out of business.

If you’re from a white collar, suburban background, you just can’t understand. Most media is New York/LA centric, and conservative outlets reject that.


I'm not, actually. My own father was one of those three hours a day dittoheads.

It's easy to identify propaganda in microcosm, it's harder to see the same thing writ large. I find that most white collar suburbanites I meet have a great number of received opinions and rarely examine the sources of such.

Could be I just misinterpreted your comment.


I kept reading this and thinking, "Doesn't Rush count as classic rock???" Then I read the sub-comment and saw a reference to 'ditto-heads'. Ugh ok. I wouldn't enjoy an afternoon of Rush or Rush for that matter....


>I'd further point out that the overwhelming majority of the moneyed interests still stack up on the side of permissive immigration policies. It is, after all, capital that benefits from a global free market for labor

George Soros does not, to my knowledge, employ a large number of low-wage workers- how would he personally benefit from a larger labor pool? The Koch brothers do have a very large workforce, but they're all industrial assets- hard to imagine farm laborer-types from Central America could be employed in huge numbers. The only people who could conceivably benefit from immigrant labor would be industries with huge huge numbers of minimum or close to minimum-wage employees- Home Depot, Chipotle, Subway etc. I guess Amazon.

Seeing as we have a federal minimum wage- how much money could an evil billionaire who employs thousands of unskilled workers possibly save with a larger labor pool? $1 per hour, per worker? $2 per hour? I find the amount of cost savings they'd get to be not that much- you'd think Evil Billionaire would put way more effort into healthcare reform, given that non-wage benefits are (much much much) more expensive than a few dollars per hour.

Saying 'the labor pool' is handwavey. Outside of a few industries, developed countries have mostly outsourced unskilled work to the 3rd world- so, if a bunch of farm laborer-types with a 6th grade education come here, they're not competing with the huge huge majority of skilled US workers. There is no affect on wages for most workers, and no motivation for really any white collar employer. I find your hypothesis unconvincing


>The only people who could conceivably benefit from immigrant labor would be industries with huge huge numbers of minimum or close to minimum-wage employees- Home Depot, Chipotle, Subway etc. I guess Amazon.

It’s the farms

Just look at the latest big raid: chicken farms

In California César Chavez was against illegal immigration because the farms would use immigrants to break the unions

Don’t know exactly what Soros and the Kochs do, I’m guessing they don’t exactly employ people but own companies that sell things to people


One of the illustrative point is also that some present day Democrat presidential candidates and legislators just 4-5 years ago were against increased immigration and open borders. Listen to what Sanders has to say about "open borders": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vf-k6qOfXz0 he is not just slightly against it, he is quite upset by the idea altogether.


No one in public office or campaign for it supports “oprn borders”, it's only deployed as a strawman of opposite candidates (or sometimes an attack on a real or also strawman position outside of declared candidates) to define oneself against. And, yeah, it's not uncommon for people who have used the strawman to have it used against them. It's not a sign of flip-flopping unless you can find someone endorsing open borders after having criticized it, something essentially no candidate does (certainly no Democratic Presidential candidate, all of whom have called for strengthening border security and continuing to enforce policies limiting total legal immigration, while disagreeing with the particular policies and practices pursued by the current administration.)


Isn't straw man.

Kamala Harris has called for defacto open borders, same with Julian Castro.

She literally said during the debate no one gets deported, and crossing illegally would be a civil penalty, aka jay walking ticket.

You can argue the pros and cons, but clearly she and some of the other candidates are calling for de facto open borders.


> Isn't straw man.

Yes, it is. Specifically, it's most commonly a strawman applied to people who disagree with the speakers’ preferred methods of enforcing immigration law while still supporting the principle of limited legal immigration. As you demonstrate.

> Kamala Harris has called for defacto open borders

No, she hasn't. She's called for decriminalizing crossing outside of designated border crossings (not “crossing illegally”, as there are other illegal crossings—such as crossing at a designated border crossing with false documentation—which is also criminal and she has not called for decriminalizing), but also for continuing to enforce immigration law with civil rather than criminal process (which includes continued use of deportation, which is itself a civil rather than criminal sanction.) This is not open borders, de facto or otherwise.

> same with Julian Castro.

Well, it's the same in that the claim is also not true of Castro, who explicitly called for monitoring and retaining civil penalties for illegal entry and presence including the selective use of deportation, alongside supporting decriminalization of crossing outside designated crossings and assuring that asylum seekers get the hearings they are entitled to under the law.

> She literally said during the debate no one gets deported

No, she literally did not.

> and crossing illegally would be a civil penalty, aka jay walking ticket.

Civil process includes sanctions much more severe than jay walking tickets, including deportation.


You can have your own opinion but doesn't make it a fact. What is a fact is what she said on national TV less than two months ago:

"Harris said people should not be deported if their only offense is living in the United States without documents." https://www.politico.com/story/2019/06/28/democratic-debate-...

Coming across would not be a crime. So as long as a person did not commit a crime, they get to stay. that is defacto open borders. It can't get much more clear than that.

you can argue if that is a good or bad thing, but that is what she is for, she said it very clearly.


> I'd further point out that the overwhelming majority of the moneyed interests still stack up on the side of permissive immigration policies. It is, after all, capital that benefits from a global free market for labor and an expanded consumer base.

For low wage jobs maybe, but doctors have fought very hard to minimize foreign trained competition being allowed to work in the US.


This is the fantastic irony of the completely false dichotomy that the public imagines mainstream politics to be. The modern left seems to paradoxically be supporting open-borders _and_ worker's rights. Normally I would further qualify that statement by attributing such sentiments to the _far_ left, but this seems to be a fairly mainstream position based upon what we saw in the Democratic Primary debates recently. I find it difficult to believe that a pro-trade union candidate like Bernie Sanders does not understand the basic laws of supply/demand: How a supply of cheap labour affects the wages of the individual employee. I'm in my early 30s and I came of age immersed in the counter-culture of the 90s. Nihilistic Industrial rock decrying the emergence of free-trade and a globalised economy was the left wing soundtrack of the age. Now the far-left seems to be wholesale pro free movement of people and capital. I would accuse the masses expecting that this will not have a negative impact on the financial well-being of the individual of absolute foolishness, but it seems that many proponents of such policies are no longer expecting them to be feasible within the framework of social-democracy. Instead opting for much more collectivist forms of government.


> I find it difficult to believe that a pro-trade union candidate like Bernie Sanders does not understand the basic laws of supply/demand: How a supply of cheap labour affects the wages of the individual employee.

This interview would indicate that he understands that, and wants to restrict immigration for that very reason: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vf-k6qOfXz0

Edit: The interview is from 2015, so it may be that his understanding has 'evolved' since.


( Without watching said interview, I'm in the office and don't have headphones ) Did Sanders not indicate his support for decriminalisation of illegal border crossing in the primaries? I would hardly take that as an endorsement of restricting immigration.


Not necessarily no.

Most border crossings aren't even prosecuted. https://trac.syr.edu/immigration/reports/520/

Increasing the number of them being prosecuted places a massive burden on the court system and results in the various unjust scenarios we have today. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/19/us/border-immigration-cou...

There isn't any evidence that criminalization decreases the number of border crossings either. https://www.oig.dhs.gov/assets/Mgmt/2015/OIG_15-95_May15.pdf

Indeed, immigration levels haven't decreased under trump despite the massive increase in prosecutions.

Given this, it isn't absurd to think that other approaches would be at least as effective at controlling immigration in practice.


Simple border crossing was not a criminal act then in the first place.


I imagine a lot of people see the American right literally throwing children into internment camps and don't really think much further than "let's do the opposite of that".


As neetdeth's poll shows, it doesn't matter what the people think - immigration continues regardless. Even under Trump, legal immigration remains at near-record levels.


I'm not sure why you can't be pro-workers and support less restrictive borders. The issue of immigrants being paid less is one easily solved by ensuring that immigrants, legal or not, have to be paid the exact same amount as any US citizen. Then you aggressively punish companies (and not the workers) whom choose to violate this law.

The only reason why it's 'cheap' labour is because traditionally immigrant labor has been used for things that either Americans won't do (due to low pay) or through corporations not being punished. This situation is why H-1B abuse is prevalent among certain companies: They hold the deportation card over immigrants, which then gives them market leverage to pay them less by having them fear losing or switching jobs.

This is an issue paradoxically supported by the modern right, because it's usually farmers and larger corporations that benefit the most. The fixes that the modern right realistically want is the ability to eliminate minimum wage and further destroy workers rights because it makes labor cheaper which in turn boosts profits.


> It's just about the only thing the Koch brothers and Soros can agree on.

Is that really true?

To me, both Soros and the Kochs seem to be somewhat close to classical liberalism. Mostly free people, mostly free markets, etc.

As such, to me, they to have more in common with one another than either has to the Trump crowd or the Sanders/Warren/AOC crowd.

My understanding of Soros and the Kochs is somewhat low resolution, so I would be happy to be corrected on whatever I am not seeing here.


You're not wrong at all. The major point of departure between the two is the role of government and the welfare state - Soros being more of a social democrat and the Kochs doctrinaire libertarians.

Now that US politics are going through a realignment, the two are becoming as chummy as they were always destined to be. The demonization from both sides was mostly kayfabe.


> Until around 1995, immigration restriction was overwhelmingly mainstream in the United States and still commands a strong plurality.

Popular opposition does not look like it had much of an effect on immigration rate [1]. One might even call the policy un-democratic.

[1] https://cis.org/Report/Immigrants-United-States, Figure 1


Once you polarize people enough, all it takes is enough money to get an idea supported by a politician on one side.

The “other” side will attack all of the points weaknesses and then, because people don’t have the ability to just say “yes, this idea associated with my party is both expensive and stupid” it will be defended instead. Often by just a few people who like to argue.

But the defense makes it appear that people in the party support the idea, which then further solidifies the concept in the base as the back and forth continues. At best you will hope to work out the bad ideas via primaries and debates, but sometimes a bad idea that’s popular is going to hold on because voters often care more about how they feel than math.


Plenty of rich people have blown a lot of cash trying and failing to get elected to office.

Of course, they succeed sometimes too, but it turns out that money is no guarantee.


Depends on what constitutes a group and how broadly you define "something". Does Google+ count? Any of the dozen or so spring football leagues? Plenty of movies. Jai-Alai? If we restrict "something" to politics and social movements, opposition to H1B visas has been going on since the program started but with a few minor hickups, it has become increasingly entrenched. Perhaps the grassroots money isn't in the same order of magnitude but it's also not big to sneeze at either.


There are probably a few startups with multi-million dollars that weren't able to get themselves "caught on," and that's with initial traction, so the threshold is at least higher than that.


Successful popular movements are almost always led by elite class traitors. It's been like that at least since the Populares.


Nativism is not new.




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