September 19, 2007


Division Problem: The GOP's Ruinous Immigration Stance (Michael Gerson, September 19, 2007, Washington Post)

It is a strange spectacle. Conservatives are intent on building a more appealing, post-Bush Republican Party. But their most obvious change so far is to reverse remarkable Republican gains among one of the fastest-growing groups of American voters. The renovators seem more like the wrecking crew.

From the beginning of his political career, George W. Bush refused to support amnesty for illegal immigrants. He did, however, take a principled, middle-ground position that also appealed to Latinos -- a proposal that would give legal status to those who want to work in America and return home, while also providing a realistic (but not easy) path to citizenship for those who want to stay.

The political effects were immediate. Bob Dole got about 21 percent of Hispanic votes in 1996. Bush won about 35 percent in 2000. In 2004, Bush ran in the Latino media on the slogan "Nos conocemos," or "We know one another" -- and both he and Republicans in Congress averaged over 40 percent of the Hispanic vote.

The political effects of conservative opposition to immigration reform have been swift as well. Latino support for GOP candidates dropped back to 30 percent in 2006. According to one poll, Latinos under age 30 now prefer a generic Democrat over a Republican for president by 42 points. A harsh, Tancredo-like image of Republicans has solidified in the mainstream Hispanic media. And all of this regression will be even more obvious in the next few months, because more than half of the Hispanic voters in America live in states that are part of the new lineup of early primaries.

I have never seen an issue where the short-term interests of Republican presidential candidates in the primaries were more starkly at odds with the long-term interests of the party itself.

Sure, the Party conventions will get smaller, but they'll be white as driven snow!

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 19, 2007 6:28 AM

I've tried explaining this on a few of the other blogs I read (Hotair, Ace of Spades and a few others) and the personal attacks are immediate and often vicious. Few will even try to discuss it. 2 years ago I bought in to your 60-40 nation theory but it's not going that way at the polls any time soon.

Posted by: Patrick H at September 19, 2007 5:56 PM

Not if we make the recent immigrant groups vote against us 8-2 the way we did blacks.

Posted by: oj at September 19, 2007 7:22 PM