Why GOP can’t ‘count’ on immigration
February 20, 2013
By John Seiler
“But now some Republicans at last want to face that reality and make some changes. I call them the Republicans Who Can Count.
“The Republicans Who Can’t Count were on full display in 2012. Presidential nominee Mitt Romney ran the most vitriolic anti-immigrant campaign in the primaries; Asian and Latino turnout and straight ticket Democratic voting in the general election was the highest in history. Some GOP legislators in battleground states thought the way to victory was to repress minority voting; African Americans turned out in states like Ohio and Florida at historical records. GOP pollsters modeled a voter turnout that did not exist and ended up looking like fools on election day when a flood of Democrats showed up and dealt their candidates defeat after defeat.
“Now the Republicans who can count are moving to take over the party with a mission to stop alienating the fastest growing parts of the American electorate, and also to stop running fringe candidates whose only goal seems to be to turn off moderate voters.”
It’s true the GOP is having problems attracting Latino voters. It’s likely to continue to do so no matter what it does. Voting patterns generally are locked in for families and ethnic groups for generations. It’s hard to change them.
And he ignores an even bigger constituency: The Republican “base” that wants not to “reform” immigration, but to end it entirely. If they’re alienated, then the GOP can’t win, either.
The immigration restriction “base” for the GOP is like public-employee unions are for the Democrats in California. They’re the strongest faction. The only way to get around them is to lie to them.
Hence, Sen. John McCain co-sponsored the McCain-Kennedy immigration amnesty in 2005. He downplayed that in his 2008 presidential run. After he was wiped out by Obama that November, then re-elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010, he went back to pushing amnesty.
Just Tuesday, an “angry crowd” confronted McCain over his pro-amnesty agenda:
“Sen. John McCain defended his proposed immigration overhaul to an angry crowd in suburban Phoenix….
“McCain hosted two town hall meetings in Arizona, during which he defended his immigration plan to upset residents concerned about border security….
“During a heated town hall gathering in the Phoenix suburb of Sun Lakes, McCain said the border near Yuma is largely secure, but he said smugglers are using the border near Tucson to pump drugs into Phoenix. He said immigration reform should be contingent on better border security that must rely largely on technology able to detect border crossings.
“McCain said a tamper-proof Social Security card would help combat identity fraud, and noted any path to citizenship must require immigrants to learn English, cover back taxes and pay fines for breaking immigration laws.
“‘There are 11 million people living here illegally,’ he said. “We are not going to get enough buses to deport them.”
“Some audience members shouted out their disapproval.
“One man yelled that only guns would discourage illegal immigration. Another man complained that illegal immigrants should never be able to become citizens or vote. A third man said illegal immigrants were illiterate invaders who wanted free government benefits.
“McCain urged compassion. ‘We are a Judeo-Christian nation,’ he said. McCain’s other town hall meeting took place in Green Valley, south of Tucson.”
That’s the Republican “base,” and it’s not going away. I’m sure the “base” also was amused at getting a Sunday School lesson on “Judeo-Christian” morality for someone who, as noted, hid his position on amnesty during his 2008 campaign and his 2010 Senate re-election campaign. Oh, and he was part of the Keating Five banking scandal crooks.
Can’t win scenario
So, Republicans can’t win with the immigration restriction “base,” and can’t win without ‘em. At about half the party’s strength, this “base” is far greater than any potential new Latino votes that might be garnered by embracing amnesty.
McCain himself got a scare. In 2004, McCain had no primary opponent. But in his 2010 Senate primary, challenger J.D. Hayworth grabbed 32 percent of the vote largely by pointing out McCain’s pro-amnesty record (see YouTube below). In pro-military Arizona, war hero McCain is Senator-for-Life. But a 32 percent challenge is serious.
Quinn also should have pointed out, as I often have, that since Reagan left, the GOP has run one dud candidate after another for president beginning in 1988: the Bushes, Dole, McCain and Romney. And their campaigns have been risible. Meg Whitman ran a better campaign than Romney.
The GOP’s only chance is for an overall federal and state government default to be blamed on the Democrats. Which is coming.