At some point, the state’s southern border will finally be closed, and with it the unchecked yearly flow of illegal immigrants. The economic downturn in the United States, globalized new industry in Mexico, and increased border enforcement have already resulted in lower numbers of illegals. No national support exists for wholesale amnesty or for open borders. And with an enforced border, California will see not only decreased remittances to Mexico and Latin America and a reduced draw on state services but also, perhaps, a change in attitude within the state’s largest ethnic group. After all, illegal immigration warps the politics of the Mexican-American community, which constitutes more than 40 percent of the state’s population. The unlawful entry of Mexican nationals into California not only ensures statistically that Mexican-Americans as a group suffer from disproportionate poverty rates; it also means that affluent third- and fourth-generation Mexican-Americans become part of a minority receiving disproportionate state help.. . .Indeed, the great fear of the liberal Hispanic hierarchy in government, media, and academia is that without illegal immigration, the conservative tendencies of the Hispanic middle class would cost the elites their positions as self-appointed spokespeople for the statistically underachieving.The Republicans could speed this change by reaching out to Hispanics now, and by actually getting the border under control after a Romney victory. Control of the border will be the down payment conservatives will require before negotiating a more thoughtful immigration policy. But once that issue is settled, I see Hispanics splitting between Republican and Democratic leanings in the same proportion as whites. That will force the Democratic party back to the middle and be good for the country as a whole.
Thursday, November 1, 2012
Last Hurrah for the GOP?
The Last Hurrah is a novel about an Irish machine politician of the 1950s whose final campaign for mayor is his "last hurrah." He loses because of forces changing the nature of politics that he doesn't master, specifically TV. In the end he loses the election and dies soon after. I read the book in my early teens, but still remember its contours. Today, many on the left are righting a similar obituary for the Republican party through the lens of the changing demographics of the country. They point to the fact that currently, Republicans draw heavily on white support and whites constitute only about 71% of the electorate, which is declining every four years. Brookings reports that they will comprise about 75% of actual voters, but that figure is in decline as well. Here is a graphic of the trend.
One would think that this spells long term disaster for the GOP, but I think not. Just focusing on group, Hispanics can explain why. One of the key reasons that Hispanics have been voting Democrat is a misperception that the Republican position on immigration is motivated by race. It is not, but that is a hard perception to change. I believe that Mexican-Americans, who are largely Catholic, would not be in the Democratic coalition except for this. As often is the case, Victor David Hanson lays out the case much more eloquently than I. The quoted article is explaining why there is hope for California's dysfunctional politics, but his comments have broader implications.