Republican Suicide

 

shutterstock_180961979Nine years ago, aboard a National Review cruise, I debated immigration policy with my colleagues and the cruisers. It was a good discussion that touched all the familiar bases. Are there really jobs Americans won’t do? Are big business and big agriculture enmeshed in a corrupt bargain with liberal Democrats whereby business gets cheap labor and Democrats get new voters?

I argued then, as I do today, that there are many serious immigration reforms we ought to be undertaking. We have a valuable commodity – the right to live and work in the USA (and in some cases to become a citizen) – and we should not be handing it out to just anyone. We should swiftly deport criminals even as we should be more welcoming to those who earn PhDs or bring other skills. But I also argue that illegal immigration, particularly from Mexico, is steeply declining and likely to continue to; that even most Republicans, to say nothing of the larger electorate, are moderate on immigration, and that immigrants tend to work hard.

I respect the restrictionist position, but there is one argument they advance that I do not understand. They say that unless we stop immigration – legal and illegal – there is no chance for conservative governance or for the Republican Party. I say, unless Republicans refrain from causing a stampede to the Democrats by denigrating Mexicans as “rapists” and urging “deportation” (even of American citizens!), we will not win another national election.

The demographic reality is already baked into the cake. The share of the electorate that considers itself Hispanic grew by 49 percent between 2000 and 2012, compared with 5.8 percent growth for the non-Hispanic portion. Hispanics are disproportionately young. The median age for native-born Hispanics is just 18, compared with 42 for non-Hispanic whites. The vast majority of Hispanic youths (93 percent) are native-born and thus eligible to vote when they turn 18, as 800,000 Hispanics do yearly. Generational replacement alone could double the number of Hispanic voters by 2032.

While it’s true that Hispanics remain only 10 percent of voters for now, their share of the electorate is growing in key swing states. In North Carolina, for example, the Hispanic share is projected to increase from 3.1 percent (2012) to 4.5 percent (2016). The white percentage is expected to drop by two points. Assuming 2012 turnout rates, North Carolina, which voted for Romney, would go to the Democrats. The picture is similar in Florida, Nevada, Colorado, and Virginia.

Hispanic voter participation rates are among the lowest of any race or ethnic group. Only about half of eligible voters participate in presidential years and many fewer in off years. But that could change very fast. The presence of Barack Obama on the ballot shot black voter participation rates through the ceiling in 2008 and 2012. A Hispanic Democratic nominee might do the same for that demographic — as could the presence on the Republican ticket of a candidate who favors deporting American-born children of illegal immigrants.

“Oh please,” say the restrictionists, “Republicans can’t pander to Hispanics the way Democrats do.”

Nor should they. How about just appealing to them as Americans and not insulting them?

Consider the results of recent races. Greg Abbott, governor of Texas, won 44 percent of the Hispanic vote. Georgia’s Republican Governor, Nathan Deal, won 47 percent of Hispanics, as did Gov. Sam Brownback in Kansas. In New Jersey in 2013, Gov. Chris Christie got 51 percent of the Hispanic vote. They were all winners. As Pew’s Mark Hugo Lopez, explained in 2014, “It’s not a massive phenomenon, but Latinos identified less with the Democratic Party and a growing share identified with Republicans.” It is not necessary for Republicans to win a majority of Hispanic votes to win elections. What they cannot survive is a trend in which African-American sized percentages of Hispanics vote Democrat.

In 2014, 49 percent of Hispanic voters said their number one issue was the economy, which was more than the 45 percent of the whole electorate who named the economy as the top issue, and dwarfed the 16 percent of Hispanics who cited immigration.

But that was in a year when Republicans were not at war with immigrants.

Everything depends on tone. With an inclusive message, there’s no limit to what Republicans might achieve, even on restricting immigration. But if the Trump claxon comes to define Republicanism, the list of those fleeing will start with Hispanics, but won’t end there. What’s left will be moribund.

There are 103 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    You may be shocked to know that some of us knuckle draggers make a distinction between legal and illegal immigration.

    • #1
  2. James Madison Member
    James Madison
    @JamesMadison

    We don’t have to win Hispanic voters, just blunt the number who decided to show up or switch a few who vote for the Democrats. That is not hard to do. Susana Martinez’s speech at the 2012 GOP convention explained how. People who come to America to work (legally or illegally) are not interested in those who come to tap welfare and be lawless. They left that once.

    One thing that is often overlooked by those who are moved by Trump’s speeches, he says he wants to deport all illegal workers and reimport the good ones. He adds this will be humane and quick. He says he has people who know how to get this done. These later parts fly by as he uses the words, “make your head spin.”

    What he is talking about is “out/in,” humanely quick. The 11.3 million people will present a logistical nightmare for deport. So, practically this comes down to register here first. Then if you have no legal issues, you can stay. The only “out/in” will be over in nanoseconds while the undocumented workers and illegal residents are filling out a card that allows them to “return,” meaning stay without going back. The “bad” ones will be sent back. So expect the good ones to register and the bad to go to ground.

    What this really amounts to is giving illegal or undocumented workers and residents documentation to stay – or, AMNESTY. The sooner Trump gets pinned down on this, the sooner his position starts to look like the other 16 plus most of the Democrats. The Democrats want documentation to allow them stay for political effect and to begin the process of extending more benefits to lock them into the welfare state. We may not want that, but that is a different matter. Blue and Red states are already doing this. Deportation en masse is unlikely to ever happen.

    Also when you pair up 2016 (a bad Senate year for us given the seats that are up) with 2018 (a good Senate year for us which could take us to 60 seats), you can see the compelling reason to pick a presidential candidate who can capture the hearts of anti-establishment Republicans without degenerating in to “us” versus “them.” Plurualism and personal appeal are important if we are to hold onto marginal Senate seats and win Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania. Our criteria should be, which candidate can concieveably carry Pennsylvania without driving up the Democratic voter turnout.

    And without immigration to beat Jeb! over the head with, what is the Donald? He’s a guy who wants to restrict free markets, raise taxes (on the rich of course), and spend a lot of money on infrastructure. He is a mix of nativist, populist, liberal positions focused on attacking the GOP establishment and he reflects the GOP voters who are mostly social conservative and who feel the GOP has sold out to bail outs, the rich and the lobyists.

    Let’s address the real concerns of the anti-establishment Republicans while we try to adjust our “tone” on immigration.

    • #2
  3. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    Here’s what we’re not addressing which is the elephant in the room that, sadly, the Trump beast has tapped into: 51% of immigrant led families are on some for of welfare. That’s legal and illegal. When the illegal immigrants are coming here against the law and sending the proceeds of their work back across the border that is an invasion and the carting off the spoils of war. That we’re subsidizing it with out tax dollars is just too much.

    • #3
  4. PHenry Member
    PHenry
    @PHenry

    unless Republicans refrain from causing a stampede to the Democrats by denigrating Mexicans as “rapists”

    Trump NEVER denigrated Mexicans as rapists. Please review the quote. Now the right is playing left wing media games against Republican candidates?

    • #4
  5. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Mona Charen: The demographic reality is already baked into the cake. The share of the electorate that considers itself Hispanic grew by 49 percent between 2000 and 2012, compared with 5.8 percent growth for the non-Hispanic portion. Hispanics are disproportionately young. The median age for native-born Hispanics is just 18, compared with 42 for non-Hispanic whites. The vast majority of Hispanic youths (93 percent) are native-born and thus eligible to vote when they turn 18, as 800,000 Hispanics do yearly. Generational replacement alone could double the number of Hispanic voters by 2032.

    Wow. And these are not people who understand the basic precepts of self-government.

    • #5
  6. Quinn the Eskimo Member
    Quinn the Eskimo
    @

    Mona Charen: I respect the restrictionist position, but there is one argument they advance that I do not understand. They say that unless we stop immigration – legal and illegal – there is no chance for conservative governance or for the Republican Party.

    I’m actually working on a post these lines.  Demographics aren’t destiny.  Ideas, both good and bad, have a power all their own.  For example, gay marriage has a lot of support because gay marriage activists persuaded a lot of people, not because anyone crossed a border.  If we are having trouble persuading people of our arguments, keeping foreigners out isn’t going to solve that in the long run.  At best, maybe you buy yourself a little time, but you still lose in the end.

    • #6
  7. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    Quinn the Eskimo: …gay marriage has a lot of support because gay marriage activists persuaded a lot of people, not because anyone crossed a border. If we are having trouble persuading people of our arguments…

    Or argue something entirely different, which is what the left does, as was so perfectly demonstrated by how they won on “gay marriage.” They never, ever argued for what they actually wanted. They argued for some vague thing having to do with equality. It’s how the left has stayed ahead of us on immigration as well.

    • #7
  8. Mark Thatcher
    Mark
    @GumbyMark

    Quinn the Eskimo:

    Mona Charen: I respect the restrictionist position, but there is one argument they advance that I do not understand. They say that unless we stop immigration – legal and illegal – there is no chance for conservative governance or for the Republican Party.

    I’m actually working on a post these lines. Demographics aren’t destiny. Ideas, both good and bad, have a power all their own. For example, gay marriage has a lot of support because gay marriage activists persuaded a lot of people, not because anyone crossed a border. If we are having trouble persuading people of our arguments, keeping foreigners out isn’t going to solve that in the long run. At best, maybe you buy yourself a little time, but you still lose in the end.

    A growing welfare state and non-enforced borders is destiny.  That combination is toxic.

    • #8
  9. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    PHenry:unless Republicans refrain from causing a stampede to the Democrats by denigrating Mexicans as “rapists”

    Trump NEVER denigrated Mexicans as rapists. Please review the quote. Now the right is playing left wing media games against Republican candidates?

    Who is on the right in the OP?

    If it walks, talks, and acts like a leftist media outlet, well it isn’t a rhinoceros.

    • #9
  10. Hydrogia Inactive
    Hydrogia
    @Hydrogia

    Wow,

    Why  imply that Republicans are usually or ever “at war with immigrants”? That is the progressive

    subversion theme to use race as a drumbeat. Trump is a minor problem in the big scheme of things, if a problem at all

    as things go.

    • #10
  11. George Savage Contributor
    George Savage
    @GeorgeSavage

    Mona, I think the restrictionist argument includes an important component you fail to mention. It is the never-ending nature of the present immigration pattern that is encouraging entrenched balkanization in lieu of Americanization. Past immigration waves were followed by pauses, during which new immigrants became new Americans, reachable as such.

    The thoughtful restrictionist believes that we are now overdue for another such pause in mass immigration. The expectation is that this step, over time, will yield the happy effect of America’s growing Hispanic contingent voting pretty much like everyone else.

    Trump is tapping into a visceral concern, felt most acutely in the lower-strata of the labor market, that we are sliding in the opposite direction. For example, instead of the new arrival on the construction crew gradually learning English, fluency in Spanish is now a prerequisite for employment. Small employers unable to afford Obamacare and other mandated expenses turn to illegal immigrants who are exempt from the usual penalties, leaving the citizen and legal immigrant dependent on food stamps. Politicians worry endlessly and loudly about the children of new illegal arrivals in preference to those already here, citizen and non-citizen alike.

    I agree that Trump is an extraordinarily flawed messenger. However, he is tapping into a very real and valid concern . Victor Davis Hanson provides the most compelling look at this world in his 2003 book Mexifornia and recent columns.

    • #11
  12. Sash Member
    Sash
    @Sash

    Ignoring this real issue will not make it go away.

    Trump needs to make some nice with the Latino community.

    I do not believe he has anything against them as a race, it is just the law breaking and the way La Raza (who has no right to call anyone else racist) is dominating the internal conversation.

    I doubt Trump can do better than Romney did, and that worries me.

    Let’s hope he figures out how to fix this self-inflicted wound.

    • #12
  13. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    George Savage:…

    Trump is tapping into a visceral concern, felt most acutely in the lower-strata of the labor market, that we are sliding in the opposite direction. For example, instead of the new arrival on the construction crew gradually learning English, fluency in Spanish is now a prerequisite for employment. Small employers unable to afford Obamacare and other mandated expenses turn to illegal immigrants who are exempt from the usual penalties, leaving the citizen and legal immigrant dependent on food stamps. Politicians worry endlessly and loudly about the children of new illegal arrivals in preference to those already here, citizen and non-citizen alike.

    I agree that Trump is an extraordinarily flawed messenger. However, he is tapping into a very real and valid concern . Victor Davis Hanson provides the most compelling look at this world in his 2003 book Mexifornia and recent columns.

    Extremely well articulated. It is too easy to focus on the cult of personality that is Trump and ignore the very real motivation behind his support that is the real issue.

    • #13
  14. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Sash:Ignoring this real issue will not make it go away.

    Trump needs to make some nice with the Latino community.

    I do not believe he has anything against them as a race, it is just the law breaking and the way La Raza (who has no right to call anyone else racist) is dominating the internal conversation.

    I doubt Trump can do better than Romney did, and that worries me.

    Let’s hope he figures out how to fix this self-inflicted wound.

    He met for an hour with the CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the CEO at least complimented on how polite Donald Trump was to him.

    Perhaps a long way from making nice, but it is substantial that Mr. Trump took a meeting with the chamber.

    • #14
  15. Arizona Patriot Member
    Arizona Patriot
    @ArizonaPatriot

    I don’t trust these figures about the increasing share of the electorate that it Hispanic.

    If you looked at my family — me, my wife, and my 4 kids — you would see white, upper-middle class, conservative Christians.  But 5 of the 6 people living in my house are Hispanic. You see, my wife is 1/4 Hispanic, so our kids are 1/8 Hispanic.

    By this standard, my family is also:

    • 6/6 German
    • 5/6 Italian
    • 5/6 Polish
    • 5/6 Irish
    • 5/6 Dutch
    • 5/6 British
    • 5/6 Lithuanian (supposedly; I think they were really Poles)

    Does anybody know how much of the supposed growth of the Hispanic electorate is due to this demographic mixing, coupled with grouping all non-Hispanic whites into a single category?

    • #15
  16. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    The GOP will survive Trump.  Bush will end things for them.  Watch and learn.  I’m astounded by the insular and ignorant nature of political pundits about the implications of Jeb.

    • #16
  17. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    I think one thing people are overlooking with Trump is that he is reaching a large segment of Democrats who are as disturbed by the immigration effects as many Republicans.

    I’m not sure he needs to change anything.

    Just as Reagan tapped into the school choice movement as well as the pro-life movement to attract a large number of voters who usually vote for the Democratic Party candidate, so it may be the case that Trump is seeing some unrest on the Democratic Party side, and he plans to capitalize on it.

    Furthermore, as a business executive, I would have expected Trump to be more vocal about the government regulatory environment than he has been. That he is a crony capitalist is one explanation, but what if the other explanation is that he is going after a large segment of the Democratic Party voting bloc, and he knows they love regulations.

    • #17
  18. Arizona Patriot Member
    Arizona Patriot
    @ArizonaPatriot

    I have some other questions.

    Does anyone know the demographic figures regarding the voting patterns of first generation Hispanic immigrants, compared to second and subsequent generations?  It would not be at all surprising if — like almost all other white demographic groups — the early generations of Hispanic immigrants tend to be poorer and vote for Democrats, while later generations are more prosperous and vote for Republicans.

    Which means, demographically, that if we reduce Hispanic immigration now, we cut off a source of future Democrats, while the Hispanics that are already here continue to transition to Republicans.

    Does anyone have access to cross-tab information on Hispanic voting patterns?  What I’d like to know is whether Hispanic whites and non-Hispanic whites vote the same or vote differently, once income levels (and perhaps other variables) are taken into account.

    • #18
  19. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    I say we mate with all the nubile Hispanic maidens and dilute the gene pool.  The peril may be too great for some but others will rise to the challenge.  Who’s with me?

    • #19
  20. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    MarciN:I think one thing people are overlooking with Trump is that he is reaching a large segment of Democrats who are as disturbed by the immigration effects as many Republicans.

    I’m not sure he needs to change anything.

    Just as Reagan tapped into the school choice movement as well as the pro-life movement to attract a large number of voters who usually vote for the Democratic Party candidate, so it may be the case that Trump is seeing some unrest on the Democratic Party side, and he plans to capitalize on it.

    Bernie Sanders gives a very fiery populist speech focused on the harmful effects of illegal immigration on labor. He is competitive with Hillary in many races and this may be one of the reasons.

    • #20
  21. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    DocJay:I say we mate with all the nubile maidens and dilute the gene pool. The peril may be too great for some but others will rise to the challenge. Who’s with me?

    Done.

    • #21
  22. paulebe Inactive
    paulebe
    @paulebe

    Mona:
    I’ve heard you make this or a similar point often on NTK and in articles. Your post reads as though your concern with those who disagree with you is a problem of “tone”. Do I have that right? Or is it that we really shouldn’t be making an issue out of immigration at all, as it harms Republicans and/or conservatives with those in the Latino demographic?
    Each time you bring up this topic, the same thought crosses my mind – you really need to get out of the northeast/dc world a good deal more often.
    My absolutism on this topic (and perceived tone) comes from a fundamental sense of right and wrong. Illegal immigration is destructive. It has been destructive for a long time and we’ve done little to nothing. Many if not most of the illegal aliens from Spanish-speaking countries, are here to work for cash, not pay taxes like the rest of us, and are, in fact, using our welfare-state services in significantly greater numbers with significantly greater freedom because they have little fear of consequence. We cannot continue this policy of limited border security, no pain if you’re caught, and then grant them access to social services. We also cannot afford the luxury of telling 11-20M people that “Oh well. Our bad. You can stay even though you broke and continue to break, our laws.” I am very concerned that the impact of millions of workers who work for cash depress wages. I do worry about the fact that illegal aliens commit crimes and are not immediately deported. I read Victor Davis Hanson’s posts about the Central Valley in CA and see it happening before my eyes in certain areas in TX .
    As for legal immigration, having experienced the maze that is foriegn-birth adoption process, it is a byzantine mess. I choose to see that as a feature, not a bug. If an individual wishes to work or be a citizen in this country, the country and it’s citizens have every right to make it as easy or difficult as they choose. (I do wish it would make more sense and not require lining the pockets of immigration attorneys). If those same citizens also feel as though we’ve had enough for a while until we can figure this out, isn’t that their right, too?

    • #22
  23. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    MarciN:I think one thing people are overlooking with Trump is that he is reaching a large segment of Democrats who are as disturbed by the immigration effects as many Republicans.

    But is this “large segment” of Democrats large enough to matter? I hear people hoping that, if Trump, say, runs third-party, he’ll attract as many Democrats as Republicans. I don’t for a minute believe it will happen, though.

    Whatever appeal his stance on immigration might otherwise have for, say, poorer Democrats, there are also a lot of other things about him that Democrats of any sort generally find disgusting.

    • #23
  24. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:

    MarciN:I think one thing people are overlooking with Trump is that he is reaching a large segment of Democrats who are as disturbed by the immigration effects as many Republicans.

    But is this “large segment” of Democrats large enough to matter? I hear people hoping that, if Trump, say, runs third-party, he’ll attract as many Democrats and Republicans. I don’t for a minute believe it will happen, though.

    Whatever appeal his stance on immigration might otherwise have for, say, poorer Democrats, there are also a lot of other things about him that Democrats of any sort generally find disgusting.

    I don’t know, Midge.

    I would love to know the numbers. I suspect Trump knows. He is a market share guy. He would find out what his market is and what it wants.

    His candidacy is really interesting.

    • #24
  25. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    It’s also true that people who are dependent on government benefits and who vote Democratic would logically be alarmed at the dilution of benefits available to them because of the increases in immigration from the poor countries in South and Central America.

    Not only are the new immigrants competing with our existing unskilled labor population but they are also competing with our existing dependent population.

    I’ve always been surprised, as a former Democrat, that the Democratic Party has been so gung-ho on increasing immigration. It just seems illogical. They are usually the protectionist and isolationist party.

    • #25
  26. Mr. Dart Inactive
    Mr. Dart
    @MrDart

    DocJay:I say we mate with all the nubile Hispanic maidens and dilute the gene pool. The peril may be too great for some but others will rise to the challenge. Who’s with me?

    That’s positively Bulworthian!  Sign me up, Doc.

    • #26
  27. Mark Thatcher
    Mark
    @GumbyMark

    MarciN:I’ve always been surprised, as a former Democrat, that the Democratic Party has been so gung-ho on increasing immigration. It just seems illogical. They are usually the protectionist and isolationist party.

    Democratic politicians see increasing immigration as a zero-sum game and they are correct (the economics of immigration are not zero-sum on a macro level but that’s another story).  In political terms it is zero-sum.  New immigrant citizens will either vote D or R.  The Dems are betting that new immigrants who become citizens will vote more D than R.  I think that is a good bet. I assume R’s who want increased immigration coupled with citizen are making the opposite bet. I think that a bad bet.  Even if R’s get 45% of the vote of those new citizens, the net D vote margin increases.

    • #27
  28. Mark Thatcher
    Mark
    @GumbyMark

    MarciN:It’s also true that people who are dependent on government benefits and who vote Democratic would logically be alarmed at the dilution of benefits available to them because of the increases in immigration from the poor countries in South and Central America.

    And there’s always more money!  That’s what “the rich” are for.

    • #28
  29. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    DocJay:I say we mate with all the nubile Hispanic maidens and dilute the gene pool. The peril may be too great for some but others will rise to the challenge. Who’s with me?

    Do I have to be with you while I’m doing it?

    • #29
  30. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Mark:

    MarciN:I’ve always been surprised, as a former Democrat, that the Democratic Party has been so gung-ho on increasing immigration. It just seems illogical. They are usually the protectionist and isolationist party.

    Democratic politicians see increasing immigration as a zero-sum game and they are correct (the economics of immigration are not zero-sum on a macro level but that’s another story). In political terms it is zero-sum. New immigrant citizens will either vote D or R. The Dems are betting that new immigrants who become citizens will vote more D than R. I think that is a good bet. I assume R’s who want increased immigration coupled with citizen are making the opposite bet. I think that a bad bet. Even if R’s get 45% of the vote of those new citizens, the net D vote margin increases.

    The truth of what you are saying here is impossible to miss.

    It’s probably a CoC violation for me to say this, but, wow, do I see a concerted effort by the Obama administration to bring this about. His true lasting legacy.

    • #30

Comments are closed because this post is more than six months old. Please write a new post if you would like to continue this conversation.