Monday, June 03, 2013

More on Immigration and Republicans

Phyllis Schlafly echoes what other conservatives have been saying, namely that the Republican Party needs to give up on Hispanics--including scuttling immigration reform--and focus entirely on white people. This is a suicidal strategy, but will it get legs?

Polls suggest caution. A conservative, but pro-immigration, group of organizations commissioned a poll showing overwhelming Republican support for the senate immigration bill. Other polls suggest the same. For the short term, the main question is whether the minority opinion in the party holds sway in the House of Representatives, since it seems clear the Senate is going to pass a bill.

For the longer term, this will matter for presidential politics, since Republican candidates feel the need to veer far to the restrictionist side to win the nomination, then find themselves at a serious disadvantage in the general election because of all the crazy stuff they've said on the record. This is a problem for a party that has won the popular vote for the presidency only once out of the last six elections. When you get back to the heyday of the three consecutive wins in the 1980s, you're talking about staunchly pro-immigrant Republican presidents (if you haven't seen this short clip of a 1980 Reagan/Bush debate, you should!).

One thing I have never seen is an anti-Hispanic argument that makes a case for the long term viability of the strategy. No matter how many more white people you can attract--and remember that plenty of whites are Democrats, Unaffiliated, or entirely apolitical--that pool is shrinking relative to the rest of the population. I suppose asking for logic is a fruitless exercise.


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