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.
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.


  1. Voting stats in no way shape or form match what I know of the blacks and Hispanics I know personally here in San Diego. Weird.


  2. Progressives control minority voting for two reasons: schools are biased and the media culture is biased.

    In minority communities, conservatives are abused due to miseducation of history. The break down of family structure and values removes parents and grandparents perspective and knowledge transfer, just as happens through all modern American society.

    With that said, both the monopolies of education and the media are in jeopardy.

  3. Republicans could also adopt the original American, the Founders', immigration policy, i.e. open immigration.

  4. Doo Doo, good points all. The progressive model does not work, so eventually the forces of economics and nature will move us back in the right direction. Better to help the effort along, so that we don't suffer needlessly though.

    Shane, I am sympathetic with that view. However, we live in a world where foreign forces are actively engaged in a conspiracy to harm our citizens in large numbers. We have a right, indeed a duty, to know who is entering the country under these circumstances. Further, we have erected a social safety net that looks like paradise on earth to some would be immigrants. An orderly queueing to ensure that our generosity is not used against us is in order. That said, everyone who passes muster should be free to seek work here, but not free to betray our generosity.