We Have To Destroy The Republican Party In Order To Save It Or Alternately, Trying To Sell Unlimited Illegal Immigration As A Plus For The GOP

One of the worst reasons I’ve ever heard for pushing amnesty is the whole idea that the GOP would benefit from it politically. Here’s Michael Medved making that case,

“Friday’s Wall Street Journal reported more alarming news for the Republican Party: according to the new WSJ/NBC Poll, Hispanics now identify themselves as Democrats rather than Republicans by a horrifyingly lopsided margin of 51% to 21%.

This reflects a collapse of Hispanic support for Republicans since 2004, when Bush nearly matched John Kerry in the Latino community, 45% to 55%.

…Hispanics now represent at least 14% of the US population and the strong majority of these people have immigrated legally, or else they’re native born. Even if all the illegals went home in the next few years (fat chance), and even if we stopped all future immigration from Hispanic countries (both legal and illegal), Latinos would still rapidly increase their political influence and power. For one thing, their high marriage and birth rates means a growing population and, for another, every year more legal immigrants manage to complete the naturalization process to become citizens (and voters).

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In recent years, Republicans have managed to remain a competitive party in most states of the union in part because they have successfully competed for Latino support. If, on the other hand, we ever reached the situation where 80% of Hispanics automatically, unthinkingly, voted for Democrats (in addition to the more than 80% of African-Americans who automatically, unthinkingly vote for Democrats), then we will never again see a GOP president, or a Republican majority in either House of Congress.

…Despite the courageous reform efforts of far-sighted Republican Senators and of President Bush, the loudest voices in the GOP currently speak in strident, angry, desperate, uncompromising and unmistakably anti-immigrant tones. In the midst of our ongoing debates, all those who care at all about the party’s future ought to keep in mind that the nation’s more than 40 million Latinos are avidly listening.”

First of all, although Hispanics have never been as monolithic as black voters, they have always leaned towards the Democrats and there are no signs that’s going to change anytime soon.

That “45%” number that Bush got in 2004 is based on faulty exit poll numbers. It was actually, probably more like 38% to 39%. It dipped from that number down to about 30% in 2006. Probably only a small proportion, maybe 2 or 3%, of that dip had anything to do with immigration however, because the GOP’s numbers dropped by a signifcant percentage across almost every group in the electorate. So, it’s hard to see how the GOP could have gotten by with less than a 6 or 7 point drop with Hispanic voters no matter what happened.

Going beyond that, it is true that Hispanic votes are important to the GOP and will become even more important in the future. However, the idea that pushing through a comprehensive immigration bill would win Hispanics over to the GOP long term and/or that the failure to do so would hurt the GOP long-term are both very questionable assumptions.

This bill isn’t some great step forward for Hispanics and it’s not a civil rights issue. It’s a sop being given to a bunch of foreign criminals who snuck into the country. Additionally, an amnesty would have a negative impact on many Hispanic Americans because these Z visa holders would be competing with poor and lower middle class, native born Americans for jobs. Just as an example, if you’re a brick layer, whatever your race may be, making $20 an hour, do you really want the market to be flooded with illegals willing to do your job for $10 an hour? That’s bad news for any American who’s in that situation, no matter what their race may be.

Also, consider that even if the President and the Republicans in the Senate support this bill, most Republicans don’t. Even if most Democrats support it, a lot of Democrats, like the unions and a large block of House Democrats, don’t. So, even if this bill were some great boon to Hispanics (which it’s not) why should we assume Hispanics will be forever grateful to the GOP if this bill passes or forever vengeful if it doesn’t? There doesn’t seem to be much of an underpinning for that assumption.

Moreover, let’s take a look at what the GOP gets if the bill passes. We get 12 to 20 million new illegals, who will probably be voting against the GOP at a ratio of at least 5 to 2 (that’s probably low), in return for supporting a bill that is wildly unpopular with the American people as a whole and conservatives in particular. Moreover, even if the Hispanics in the United States voted for the GOP in 2008, in the same ratio that they did in 2004, the Democrats still have the advantage because John Kerry won the Hispanic vote roughly 3 to 2. In short, this bill is a lose/lose/lose for the GOP in the short term because some people believe that this bill just might help the GOP with Hispanics in the future or hurt them if it doesn’t pass (I’d argue it’s more likely to be a long term loser for the GOP, too, but that would be get into whole other post).

Last but not least, this whole concept of defining people who are anti-illegal immigration as anti-immigrant, is insane. It’s like saying that people who don’t want burglars in their house are opposed to relatives and friends being invited over. Moreover, it turns the whole idea of racism on its head because it says that you must give illegal immigrants a pass for breaking the law simply because most of them are Hispanic. That’s really what people like Medved and Linda Chavez are arguing, even if they won’t admit it. But, what happens if you accept that premise and another few million more illegals come into the country? Well, you have to give them an amnesty because it’s racism to do otherwise. What if, as the CBO estimates, this bill only slows illegal immigration by 25% and we have 9-15 million more illegals waiting to get into the US in 20 years? Well, they’ll still be mostly Hispanic, so again, if you buy into the argument people like Medved are selling, we’ll have to give them all amnesty because to do otherwise would be racist.

At some point, we’ve got to ask: how many illegal immigrants can we possibly absorb before the illegals start changing us instead of us changing the illegals into good Americans? I’d submit to you that 12-20 million at one time, on top of the legal immigration we already have, is just way, way, too much. It doesn’t matter if they’re Spanish or Swedes, Afghans or Albanians, we simply cannot properly assimilate that many people in one big gulp.

It’s not racism to acknowledge that, it’s just a matter of putting the interests of the citizens of the United States ahead of selfish business interests, petty political concerns, and the interests of foreign nationals. The people supporting this bill should try that some time.

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