We know that William F. Buckley, the godfather of the modern “conservative” movement, favored racial segregation until the bitter end. One might like to think that major civil rights legislation, a liberal triumph under the guidance of Democratic president Lyndon Johnson, ended that discussion decidedly in derogation of racial segregation as a valid option for the United States.
We also know that Richard Nixon, the first Republican president after the enactment of major civil rights legislation, was only too happy to use dog whistle racism, as his plutocrat predecessors had done repeatedly before him, to lure working and poor whites into voting against their own interests, that is, for Republicans, the Party of millionaires.
Every other Republican to win the presidency since Nixon used the same tactics, until Donald Trump, who did not really win the presidency, but currently plays at being president. Trump went full racist, directing his racism at Mexican and Muslim immigrants instead of African Americans, but the move is the same — identifying an entire group by one, irrelevant characteristic and proposing to discriminate against them to make white people feel better and to use them as a political cudgel, what Buckley endorsed in the late 1950s.
Ann Coulter was initially a huge fan of Trump because she enjoys demonizing immigrants in general and wants to reduce or eliminate immigration to the United States. Since Trump has now softened his original position in opposition to immigration in some ways, Coulter has expressed her dismay, in her usual histrionic way.
A good “conservative,” Coulter is ill informed and racist — the two often go together — as she illustrates in a recent tweet in which she claims that we had a “TOTAL MORATORIUM” — using all caps makes her more right, of course — on immigration from “the 1920s to 1965.” During this period, according to Coulter, “America was a paradise.”
Two points. First, she must refer to the National Origins Quota system for immigration to the United States, which did not work a “total moratorium” on immigration, it just severely restricted immigration and set quotas for immigrants that closely mirrored the European origins of the white population of the United States in 1920 and prohibited all immigration from Asia.
Second, [the United States of] America was only a “paradise” from the 1920s to 1965 for over privileged white people like Coulter wishes she were who had no qualms about racial segregation, which prevailed by law in the states of the former Confederacy and by custom in much of the rest of the country. It was wholesale rejection of the obvious racism of segregation that led Congress to enact the Immigration Reform Act of 1965, which eliminated the obviously racist National Origins Quota system and the ban on immigration from Asia, and thus has undoubtedly had a huge effect on our society as it stands today.
For the better, a lot of people think, but not Coulter. A good “conservative,” she would rather have overt racism in federal law and segregation in the states.