What Mike Murphy Should Have Said

 

My reaction to Mike Murphy’s recent appearance on the Ricochet Podcast can be summarized with one word: frustration. I think it safe to say that my reaction is one shared by many – probably most – members. That said, the cause of my frustration puts me in a minority on Ricochet. Though I do not support comprehensive immigration reform at the present moment, I think it will be necessary at some point and I was deeply disappointed at how poor a case Murphy made for immigration reform as a political necessity. There are few things I find more frustrating than listening to an argument to which I am sympathetic put poorly. Now I don’t expect everyone to be persuaded by this, but here’s what I think Murphy should have said:*

First, we need to recognize that the GOP’s problem with the Hispanic vote is a serious one. Hispanics are the largest minority group in the United States and are the fastest-growing segment of the American population. There are currently around 25 million Hispanics eligible to vote in the United States, a number set to rise to 40 million by 2030. Even if Hispanic immigration (both legal and illegal) were stopped entirely today, if the Republican Party cannot get a significantly higher percent of the Hispanic vote than it has in recent elections it is headed for long-term minority party status. This is particularly true in the case of presidential politics. The GOP cannot achieve an Electoral College majority without Texas and Hispanics are on track to become the largest ethnic group in Texas in about a decade. A Republican Party that receives less than 30 percent of the Hispanic vote is in trouble. Since 1980 (the first election for which such data is available and reliable), no one has won a presidential election with less than 30% of the Hispanic vote. In 2012, Romney received only 27%.

Fortunately, Hispanic voting patterns are not set in stone. While it is unlikely that the GOP is going to win a majority of Hispanic votes anytime soon, it should be recognized that the Republican Party’s standing among Hispanic voters is currently at a twenty year low and that it was much higher fairly recently. George W. Bush did quite well among Hispanics. In 2000, he received 35% of the Hispanic vote and in 2004 he won between 41 and 44% (depending on the source).

This brings us to the question of why the GOP currently does so poorly among Hispanics. Between 2004 and the midterm elections of 2006, the Republican Party saw its share of the Hispanic vote fall by between one quarter and one third. While the GOP lost ground among pretty much every demographic group, the drop in support among Hispanics was substantially greater than among other groups. One thing that likely contributed to this collapse in support is that W’s attempt to pass a Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act (CIRA) was thwarted by a GOP-controlled Congress.

Perhaps more at fault than the actual failure of the CIRA was the nature of much of the right’s opposition to it. Groups such as the Minutemen received prominent news coverage and, while their motives may have been benign, they were portrayed as anti-Hispanic vigilantes and bigots. Such coverage may have been unfair, but it was not without a factual basis. In 2008, Minuteman founder Jim Gilchrist expressed dismay at the number of organizations with “sinister intentions” that grew out of the Minuteman Project saying, “I very well may have been fighting for people with less character and less integrity than the ‘open border fanatics’ I have been fighting against.” On a less extreme level, it’s hard to argue that conservative commentators like Rush Limbaugh help the perception of the GOP among Hispanics when they argue against immigration reform on the grounds that Hispanic immigrants are welfare-dependent, job-stealing, criminally-inclined drains on America’s public finances planning to reconquer the Southwest for La Raza (not that La Raza wouldn’t like a reconquista).

So why, you may ask, if the GOP is generally perceived to be unwelcoming to Hispanics, is immigration reform necessary to improve the GOP’s standing among Hispanics?

Well, immigration is more of a threshold question than a magic bullet. Passing immigration reform would demonstrate to Hispanic voters that the GOP is not hostile to them. There are currently large numbers of Hispanics who might be receptive to the conservative message on the value of hard work, traditional morality, and opportunity, but who reject it out of hand because they perceive the messengers to be hostile to them. We cannot persuade someone of the rightness of our position if they aren’t willing to give us a hearing in the first place.

But shouldn’t Hispanics already be receptive to our position? After all, polling tends to show that Hispanic voters care far more about the economy than they do about immigration.

It’s true that polling suggests that Hispanic voters care far more about the economy than they do about immigration reform, but that doesn’t really matter in this context. As Mickey Kaus astutely pointed out, the fact that voters in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District stated that the economy was a higher priority to them than immigration doesn’t mean that immigration doesn’t matter. Sauce for the goose being sauce for the gander, Hispanic voters may care more about the economy than they do about immigration, but that doesn’t mean they don’t care about immigration.

What about the argument that amnesty would add millions of new Democratic voters to the electorate?

Opponents of the path to citizenship frequently make the claim that it will result in 11 million new Democratic voters, ushering in a permanent Democratic majority. While it’s true that providing a path to citizenship to those illegally in the country would lead to an increase in Democratic votes, the actual net effect is likely to be far less than the 11 million figure. First, it needs to be recognized that 11 million is the total number of illegal immigrants in the country and that not all of these are going to become citizens. I have a friend who is an immigration lawyer and staunch opponent of comprehensive immigration reform. His best estimate is that between 40 and 50 percent of current illegal immigrants will not end up becoming citizens — some because of ineligibility or return to their home country, most because they don’t really care about citizenship and would be content with legal status as permanent residents. Let’s assume the high end of his range opts for citizenship. 60% of 11 million is 6.6 million. That’s not the end of the analysis. Hispanics have a voter turnout of 48%, so of the 6.6 million eligible to vote only 3.17 million are likely to actually vote. Not all of these will vote Democrat. If we assume that the GOP is able to increase its share of the Hispanic vote from the currently abysmal 27% to a 2000 level 35% we end up with 2 million new Democratic votes and 1.1 million new Republicans for a net increase of only 900,000 Democratic votes. If the GOP can revive its share of the Hispanic votes to 2004 levels, the net increase in Democratic votes shrinks to 380,000.

And that doesn’t take into account the effect of comprehensive immigration reform on the larger established Hispanic vote. The first amnestied voters won’t go to the polls for a decade. By then, the established (non-amnestied) Hispanic electorate will be around 35 million, of which around half, or 17.5 million will actually vote. Under current voting patterns, the GOP will receive about 4.72 million of those votes. If the GOP share of the Hispanic votes rises to 2000 levels, it will receive 6.13 million votes and if it rises to 2004 levels it will receive 7.7 million votes for a net increase of between 1.41 million and 3.02 million votes. Thus a path to citizenship, taken on its own, will likely lead to a net increase of between 380,000 and 900,000 Democratic votes, but the overall effect of comprehensive immigration reform will likely be a net Republican gain of between 500,000 and 2.6 million votes.

What about the risk that amnesty will just induce another wave of illegal immigration?

I agree that’s a real problem. That’s why I oppose comprehensive immigration reform at the moment. At least until we control the Senate, preferably until we retake the White House in 2016.

* In fairness, Murphy did make some of these points, or points of a similar nature.

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  1. user_44643 Inactive
    user_44643
    @MikeLaRoche

    Why should anyone care what Mike Murphy thinks?  He is to political consulting what New Mexico State is to college football.

    • #91
  2. Jager Coolidge
    Jager
    @Jager

    Salvatore Padula: But the drop in the GOP Hispanic vote occurred before the 2006 midterms. McCain received the same percent of the Hispanic vote in 2008 that GOP congressional candidates received in 2006. The collapse in the GOP Hispanic vote preceded McCain.

    The “collapse” is perfectly in line with the GOP historical trend. 1980-2012 the GOP got and average of 31.67% of the Hispanic vote in Presidential Elections. This is basically what the GOP got  in 2006 and McCain got in 2008.  Of note, in the two Presidential elections following the 1986 Reagan Amnesty the GOP average was 27.5% of the vote. Very similar to Romney. So in a terrible post 2004 environment, with Romney running to the Right on immigration he performed in line with the GOP vote shares after Amnesty.   

    • #92
  3. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    I have one additional thought on this Sal before I call it a night.

    I don’t think Hispanic voters have changed nor do I think their perceptions of the GOP have changed. This is what has changed: the Democrats have been very successful at bringing a socio-economic group to the polls that has never voted before. It is a new group, a big group and an ever-growing group.

    • #93
  4. user_2505 Contributor
    user_2505
    @GaryMcVey

    Palaeologus

    (….) However, even assuming that Sal is wrong about the Hispanic vote per se (I’m not), there are other factors to consider. Often demeanor trumps policy on culturally charged issues.

    For example, it is easy to find an electoral majority that flatly rejects preferential college admissions by race. It is even easier to find an electoral majority that wouldn’t even consider voting for a party which it perceived to be openly racist in its opposition to affirmative action.

    Palaeologus!  The comment is brilliant–it’s a perfect example of a tricky political mystery: what ought to be a 70%-30% issue, our favor, that when badly handled turns into a narrow wedge for them. 

    Mickey Kaus has (correctly in my opinion) singled out fellow opponents of illegal immigration when their clowning harms the cause (Steve King, we’re looking at you). Clinton was marvelous at doing relatively little for black politicians while coming across as “black friendly”. That was even despite Sister Souljah. They weren’t going to get much from anyone, so at least he acted like he respected them. 

    Do we have anyone with Bill Clinton’s political skills? I’m not being rhetorical. Do we?

    • #94
  5. Fricosis Guy Listener
    Fricosis Guy
    @FricosisGuy

    Gary McVey:

    Palaeologus

    (….) However, even assuming that Sal is wrong about the Hispanic vote per se (I’m not), there are other factors to consider. Often demeanor trumps policy on culturally charged issues.

    Mickey Kaus has (correctly in my opinion) singled out fellow opponents of illegal immigration when their clowning harms the cause (Steve King, we’re looking at you). Clinton was marvelous at doing relatively little for black politicians while coming across as “black friendly”. That was even despite Sister Souljah. They weren’t going to get much from anyone, so at least he acted like he respected them.

    Do we have anyone with Bill Clinton’s political skills? I’m not being rhetorical. Do we?

    Let’s add in Obama to the “do we have anyone with [comparable] political skills” question; after all, he has won two popular vote majorities. For all the talk about W’s relative success with Hispanics, he only won the popular vote once and that time he ran as an incumbent war leader. Even then, he only got in through the skin of his teeth in Ohio.

    I believe that Gary and Paleologus have the right idea: politicians of the right don’t convey consistent respect to these groups. An example is a much-mocked Obama campaign tactic: going on local non-political radio shows like the infamous “Pimp With The Limp” appearance. Along with Obama’s more sophisticated use of Web 2.0, this approach meant that Obama could communicate directly with lower-income, young, Hispanic, and Black voters. As was noted in the linked HuffPo piece, even when Romney went on local radio or TV, it was predominantly on conservative talk or news outlets, neither of which reach very many in the demos we’re concerned about.

    If we’re not talking directly to these voters, we’ll struggle to make inroads at all.

    • #95
  6. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    Tom Meyer:

    Salvatore Padula: The GOP has a problem with the Hispanic vote in the sense that large numbers of Hispanics never consider our actual arguments because they think we don’t like Hispanics. You can argue that we shouldn’t have a problem with the Hispanic vote, but when we only receive a little over a quarter of it we do most certainly have a problem.

    Bingo.

    Right now, a great many Hispanics who might otherwise be amenable to our arguments won’t hear us out because they believe we’re racists. That this is untrue — although not completely baseless — is of secondary importance to figuring out a way to get through to them without overly compromising our principles. To the extent Murphy is arguing that, he’s right.

    That said, border security first then some form of limited amnesty seems the only viable solution.

     How do you argue with someone who thinks you are a racist when you are nothing of the sort? My experience as an individual, and watching the political battles rage for 35 years, is that you can’t EVER win this argument engaging this person. The charge of racism is a tactic, not a sincere feeling. To the extent that it is a feeling, it is a feeling they WANT to have. 

    When you consider that the bulk of the media narrative is that Republicans are generally racists and Democrats making hay on that stereotype, there is NO WAY Hispanics who are harboring this presumption will ever vote for the Republican candidate. 

    If you look at the history of blacks in the last 35 years, somehow the notions, “America is racist” and “Republicans are racist”  have survived every attempt at rebuttal. It doesn’t matter what the evidence is, it’s never enough. And when you think about it, the very denial “I’m not a racist” is considered a mark of a racist, akin to proclaiming “I am not a witch” in the 1600’s. Blacks have been steadily drifting towards the Democrat Party for decades, latest high about 95%. 

    No matter what Republicans have done for African-Americans and Hispanics is viewed as reluctant at best and cynical at worst. Even the conversation here reveals that “we” are only doing this to save our own skins with Hispanic voters. 

    Passing some immigration reform bill is not going to change perceptions. Any and every part of the bill that inconvieniences hispanics will be laid at the feet of Republicans. Every protestation from Republican pols will be heard as defensive and keeps the battle raging. It’s what the Democrat media-complex does. 

    • #96
  7. user_653084 Inactive
    user_653084
    @SalvatorePadula

    Franco: How do you argue with someone who thinks you are a racist when you are nothing of the sort? My experience as an individual, and watching the political battles rage for 35 years, is that you can’t EVER win this argument engaging this person. The charge of racism is a tactic, not a sincere feeling. To the extent that it is a feeling, it is a feeling they WANT to have.

    I think it’s worth distinguishing between truly committed leftists who use the charge of racism as a tactic against the GOP, and less ideological  or politically aware rank and file Hispanic voters who look at the way much of the GOP talks about immigration and conclude that the GOP is unwelcoming to Hispanics. Those in the first category are unreachable. Those in the second would be in play if we handled things right.

    • #97
  8. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Franco: If you look at the history of blacks in the last 35 years, somehow the notions, ”America is racist” and “Republicans are racist” have survived every attempt at rebuttal. It doesn’t matter what the evidence is, it’s never enough.

    Insularity. “I have my culture, and you have yours. I hear what I want to hear, and don’t believe what you say because you’re not like me.”

    • #98
  9. user_96427 Contributor
    user_96427
    @tommeyer

    Salvatore Padula: I think it’s worth distinguishing between truly committed leftists who use the charge of racism as a tactic against the GOP, and less ideological  or politically aware rank and file Hispanic voters who look at the way much of the GOP talks about immigration and conclude that the GOP is unwelcoming to Hispanics. Those in the first category are unreachable. Those in the second would be in play if we handled things right.

     Seconded.

    • #99
  10. user_653084 Inactive
    user_653084
    @SalvatorePadula

    EThompson: don’t think Hispanic voters have changed nor do I think their perceptions of the GOP have changed. This is what has changed: the Democrats have been very successful at bringing a socio-economic group to the polls that has never voted before. It is a new group, a big group and an ever-growing group.

     It’s a good theory and I’m sure that’s what the Democrats are trying to do, but that isn’t supported by the data. Democrats haven’t been particularly successful in turning out poor Hispanics. Hispanics have the lowest voter turnout of any ethnic group. Poor Hispanics are much less likely to vote than are middle class and affluent Hispanics. It’s true that more Hispanics are voting than used to, but it isn’t a function of GOTV efforts. It’s a result of the rapidly growing Hispanic population. If anything, Democrats have been relatively unsuccessful at getting poor Hispanics to the polls.

    • #100
  11. Ed G. Inactive
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Salvatore Padula:

    …..

    Not quite. Republicans have a problem of being perceived as generally unwelcoming to Hispanics. That perception is substantially a result of the debate over a specific policy: immigration.

    …..

     Sal, I have no trouble agreeing that the GOP has trouble with Hispanics electorally, but I’m not seeing evidence that our immigration stance is a substantial reason that this is so. If electoral percentages loosely correlated to specific congressional battles are the only evidence then Jager’s evidence indicates just as strongly that changing our stance on immigration won’t improve the situation as you suggest.

    Better PR will improve the situation. Better tying conservative tenets to voter values will improve the situation. Calling the left out on its brand of racism and racial bean counting will improve the situation. Most importantly: making headway at the local level of urban centers will improve the situation; no matter what we do on immigration a local D will remain a D for the national election in most cases. Is immigration key locally?

    • #101
  12. Ed G. Inactive
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Tom Meyer:

    …..

    …..

    Right now, a great many Hispanics who might otherwise be amenable to our arguments won’t hear us out because they believe we’re racists. ….

    But how would changing our stance on immigration change this? The main tactic against us is to portray us as bigots, hateful, religious zealots bent on controlling those we don’t want to exclude or kill. This is true on tax policy, spending policy, foreign policy, social issues – whatever they can contort to fit. The 1986 amnesty didn’t help us; an official policy of non-discrimination (unlike the left) doesn’t help us;  why would a change in stance on immigration policy help?

    Part of it is that we simply need to try harder to reach those that are reachable – without fear of being labeled bigots and racists because as you can see we receive those labels anyway. Plow ahead with forthright arguments seems to be the only way we have a chance of reaching people with our real message.

    • #102
  13. Ed G. Inactive
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    By the way, the compromises being offered here seem mostly doable and are (I thought) already the mainstream position on the right, ie amnesty (or whatever to call it) contingent on border security first. That’s what’s getting us labeled as racists?

    • #103
  14. Ed G. Inactive
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Of course, there really is a substantive discussion that we need to have on what amount of legal immigration should we have. Joseph Stanko reasonably suggested that we keep economic realities in mind and that we should allow for people who only want to work here (not live here) who already have jobs lined up. That is reasonable, but economic considerations aren’t the only considerations.

    • #104
  15. Jager Coolidge
    Jager
    @Jager

    Salvatore Padula: I think it’s worth distinguishing between truly committed leftists who use the charge of racism as a tactic against the GOP, and less ideological  or politically aware rank and file Hispanic voters who look at the way much of the GOP talks about immigration and conclude that the GOP is unwelcoming to Hispanics. Those in the first category are unreachable. Those in the second would be in play if we handled things right.

     Where is the data that this group is “in play”? 1986 Reagan did comprehensive immigration reform with Amnesty. The GOP share of the Hispanic vote went down. 1994 Clinton took enforcement only action and in 1996 Clinton’s share of the vote went up to 72%.  In 1996 Clinton took enforcement only action and in 2000 Al Gore, running against the GOP’s best performer George W Bush, got 61% of the Hispanic vote.

    Historically, Hispanics do not vote for Republicans in large numbers no matter how we talk about immigration. 61% of Hispanics voted for Mondale when he won only one State against Reagan. 

    • #105
  16. user_653084 Inactive
    user_653084
    @SalvatorePadula

    Ed G.:

    By the way, the compromises being offered here seem mostly doable and are (I thought) already the mainstream position on the right, ie amnesty (or whatever to call it) contingent on border security first. That’s what’s getting us labeled as racists?

     As I’ve tried to make clear, I think the problem is less our position than our rhetoric. As long as immigration remains on the table the GOP is going to have a problem with a vocal segment of conservatives making arguments against reform on grounds (welfare-dependency, criminality, cultural incompatibility etc.) which Hispanics perceive to be anti-Hispanic and not simply anti-illegal immigration. It isn’t the mainstream position on the right which gets us labeled racists. Its the rhetoric of a segment of the right which opposes the mainstream position in terms which seem to be anti-Hispanic.

    • #106
  17. Ed G. Inactive
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Tom Meyer:

    Salvatore Padula: I think it’s worth distinguishing between truly committed leftists who use the charge of racism as a tactic against the GOP, and less ideological or politically aware rank and file Hispanic voters who look at the way much of the GOP talks about immigration and conclude that the GOP is unwelcoming to Hispanics. Those in the first category are unreachable. Those in the second would be in play if we handled things right.

    Seconded.

     Well I too agree with this. Is giving the left what it wants on immigration “handling things right”? I don’t think so. The fact is that our presidential candidates have been terrible. Our congressional leaders have been craven, PC, and bumbling when it counted. We don’t have cultural leaders to take up our cause.

    • #107
  18. user_653084 Inactive
    user_653084
    @SalvatorePadula

    Jager: Historically, Hispanics do not vote for Republicans in large numbers no matter how we talk about immigration.

     40+% is a lot more than 27%. As I’ve said repeatedly, I’m not arguing that immigration reform will cause Hispanics to vote Republican. I’m arguing that the currently depressed GOP Hispanic vote – which had been on a steady rise from 21% in 1996 to more than 40% in 2004 – is a product of the widely held perception among Hispanics that the GOP doesn’t like them, and that this perception is a product of some particularly off-putting rhetoric a portion of the anti-reform GOP has employed since the CIRA of 2006.

    • #108
  19. Ed G. Inactive
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Salvatore Padula:

    Ed G.:

    By the way, the compromises being offered here seem mostly doable and are (I thought) already the mainstream position on the right, ie amnesty (or whatever to call it) contingent on border security first. That’s what’s getting us labeled as racists?

    As I’ve tried to make clear. I think the problem is less our position than our rhetoric. As long as immigration remains on the table the GOP is going to have a problem with a vocal segment of conservatives making arguments against reform on grounds (welfare-dependency, criminality, cultural incompatibility etc.) which Hispanics perceive to be anti-Hispanic and not simply anti-illegal immigration. …..

     But those are also legitimate concerns about immigration, whatever the perception. I’ve lived the transformation of two neighborhoods – so far – and it comes fast and leaves people worse off. The job is to change the perception, not to change our appreciation of those truths.

    Besides, immigration will always be on the table because it works for the left and because comprehensive reform won’t actually solve anything (considering that most of us are rightly skeptical that enforcement would actually ever occur consistently).


    • #109
  20. Jager Coolidge
    Jager
    @Jager

    Salvatore Padula:

    40+% is a lot more than 27%. As I’ve said repeatedly, I’m not arguing that immigration reform will cause Hispanics to vote Republican. I’m arguing that the currently depressed GOP Hispanic vote – which had been on a steady rise from 21% in 1996 to more than 40% in 2004 – is a product of the widely held perception among Hispanics that the GOP doesn’t like them, and that this perception is a product of some particularly off-putting rhetoric a portion of the anti-reform GOP has employed since the CIRA of 2006.

     John McCain has been a historical Republican champion of  immigration reform. He got 31% of the Hispanic vote.

     I think you are cherry picking the data to start at 1996 (the GOP’s worst showing) then say things got steadily better based on the Bush elections before falling after 2006. Again the opposite remains true, even though you do not admit it, the GOP share went down in each of the three elections following Amnesty, there was not really off putting rhetoric then. There has to be something beyond rhetoric or immigration policy that has Hispanic voting Democrat. 

    • #110
  21. Ed G. Inactive
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Salvatore Padula:

    …..As I’ve said repeatedly, I’m not arguing that immigration reform will cause Hispanics to vote Republican. I’m arguing that the currently depressed GOP Hispanic vote – which had been on a steady rise from 21% in 1996 to more than 40% in 2004 – is a product of the widely held perception among Hispanics that the GOP doesn’t like them, and that this perception is a product of some particularly off-putting rhetoric a portion of the anti-reform GOP has employed since the CIRA of 2006.

    That’s not what you’re arguing simply. Yes, you are making the argument that Hispanics perceive us poorly, but then you seem to go on to also argue that changing our stance on immigration reform will change that perception and so net us more Hispanic votes. If you’re suggesting that a good plan would be to stop discussing the problems with legal immigration until we can hammer something out on illegal immigration including security first, then I’m all for it.  Otherwise, we have to find a way to talk about the hard truths involved otherwise our political victories will be hollow or short-lived.

    • #111
  22. Ed G. Inactive
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    So Hispanics undoubtedly have a poor perception of the right. The question is: how do we change that perception without surrendering reasonable positions? I haven’t seen much evidence offered to suggest that changes to our illegal immigration policy stance will change the perception. I say the answer is to do the hard work of appearing before the people you’re trying to persuade, offering forthright answers to their arguments, and not shying away in an effort to soften or pander. I’m not so sure tat any pf our current leaders are capable of offering forthright answers; even if they were, I’m not so sure what they’d say. This is not to say that I oppose compromise, but we can’t be afraid of our own positions from the start.

    • #112
  23. user_653084 Inactive
    user_653084
    @SalvatorePadula

    Jager: John McCain has been a historical Republican champion of immigration reform. He got 31% of the Hispanic vote.

     In 2008 McCain positioned himself as an immigration hawk. Beyond that, the decline in the GOP Hispanic vote occurred two years before McCain was the nominee. McCain received the same proportion of the Hispanic vote in 2008 as Republicans did generally in the 2006 midterms. By the time McCain ran for president the GOP generally had a problem with the Hispanic vote.

    • #113
  24. Ed G. Inactive
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Salvatore Padula:

    Jager: John McCain has been a historical Republican champion of immigration reform. He got 31% of the Hispanic vote.

    In 2008 McCain positioned himself as an immigration hawk. Beyond that, the decline in the GOP Hispanic vote occurred two years before McCain was the nominee. McCain received the same proportion of the Hispanic vote in 2008 as Republicans did generally in the 2006 midterms. By the time McCain ran for president the GOP generally had a problem with the Hispanic vote.

     So McCain was engaging in the “off-putting rhetoric” then?

    • #114
  25. user_653084 Inactive
    user_653084
    @SalvatorePadula

    Ed G.: That’s not what you’re arguing simply. Yes, you are making the argument that Hispanics perceive us poorly, but then you seem to go on to also argue that changing our stance on immigration reform will change that perception and so net us more Hispanic votes. If you’re suggesting that a good plan would be to stop discussing the problems with legal immigration until we can hammer something out on illegal immigration including security first, then I’m all for it…

     I think that decoupling the issues of legal and illegal immigration would be a beneficial move for us, but I don’t think it is at all likely to happen.

    On the political issue of immigration reform my point is two-step. First, as long as immigration remains a prominently contentious matter the rhetorical excess of a substantial part of the GOP will largely undermine any other efforts to persuade Hispanic voters. Second, the only way to prevent that rhetorical self-sabotage is to remove immigration from the debate by passing reform.

    • #115
  26. Ed G. Inactive
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Here’s what the NY Times portrayed McCain’s record back then in this comparison of the candidates on the immigration issue.

    • #116
  27. user_653084 Inactive
    user_653084
    @SalvatorePadula

    Ed G.:

    Salvatore Padula:

    Jager: John McCain has been a historical Republican champion of immigration reform. He got 31% of the Hispanic vote.

    In 2008 McCain positioned himself as an immigration hawk. Beyond that, the decline in the GOP Hispanic vote occurred two years before McCain was the nominee. McCain received the same proportion of the Hispanic vote in 2008 as Republicans did generally in the 2006 midterms. By the time McCain ran for president the GOP generally had a problem with the Hispanic vote.

    So McCain was engaging in the “off-putting rhetoric” then?

     His rhetoric was not particularly off-putting. That of other immigration hawks was more so. Look, I think a lot of our problem could be solved if we were better at phrasing our position, but I don’t think that is very likely to happen.

    • #117
  28. user_96427 Contributor
    user_96427
    @tommeyer

    Salvatore Padula: Look, I think a lot of our problem could be solved if we were better at phrasing our position, but I don’t think that is very likely to happen.

     So… not like this:

    • #118
  29. Ed G. Inactive
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Salvatore Padula:

    …..

    I think that decoupling the issues of legal and illegal immigration would be a beneficial move for us, but I don’t think it is at all likely to happen.

    On the political issue of immigration reform my point is two-step. First, as long as immigration remains a prominently contentious matter the rhetorical excess of a substantial part of the GOP will largely undermine any other efforts to persuade Hispanic voters. Second, the only way to prevent that rhetorical self-sabotage is to remove immigration from the debate by passing reform.

    Sounds reasonable. However, the last time we tried it the perception didn’t change nor was the issue removed from the debate. Why would things work differently this time on either of these measures?

    • #119
  30. user_653084 Inactive
    user_653084
    @SalvatorePadula

    Ed G.: Sounds reasonable. However, the last time we tried it the perception didn’t change nor was the issue removed from the debate. Why would things work differently this time on either of these measures?

     The problem with the IRCA of 1986 was that there really wasn’t much in the way of enforcement, either at the border or at the point of employment. E-verify has dramatically improved the potential for enforcement at the point of employment and I think it possible to insist on a fence being completed before legalization is triggered. Basically, I think a combination of advances in technology and learning from past political mistakes makes real enforcement attainable.

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