Quotes of the day

That Hispanics are the fastest-growing segment of the electorate and a key swing vote in several toss-up states was well-known within the Romney campaign. That Republican opposition to immigration reform helped Democrats increase their appeal in the Hispanic community and take back the House in 2006 was also well established. Yet Romney’s team cultivated an unswerving belief that the torpid economy would sink Obama under its own weight and depress Latino support, even after the administration ordered temporary visas for Dream Act students.

Demographics—and Obama’s superior political machine—won the day. Republicans who have been sounding the alarm for years are wondering if Tuesday’s election will finally resonate as a clarion call.

“If we as Republicans had moved just a few percentage points of the Hispanic vote in states like Florida, Ohio, Colorado, and Virginia, it could have thrown the election to Romney,” said former Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida, a Cuban-American and past chairman of the Republican National Committee who fought for sweeping immigration reform. “This is not a choice. It’s either extinction or survival.”


The president captured 48% of the Cuban-American vote in Florida—a record high for a Democrat, according to an exit poll by Bendixen & Amandi International, Mr. Obama’s Hispanic polling firm. Republican Mitt Romney received 52%…

Given his overwhelming support among Florida’s non-Cuban Hispanic voters, who make up a growing share of the electorate, Mr. Obama carried the state’s Latino vote overall by 61% to 39%, exceeding his margin in 2008 by seven percentage points. Together, both trends are accelerating a realignment of the state’s Latino vote, from once solidly Republican to now reliably Democratic, analysts say.

“The president has successfully picked the lock in Florida,” said Fernand Amandi, managing partner at the polling firm.


The conservative base is smaller than it has been in three decades, with its share falling to 35% while liberals edged up to 24%, a narrowing advantage further diminished by the fact that about a fifth of that conservative base consists of blacks and Latinos who still overwhelmingly voted for Obama. The Republican conservative base seems perilously close to shrinking to white southern evangelicals, senior white males, and upper income Protestants

To be sure, a better crafted campaign would have filled in Romney’s policy goals more convincingly than the ritualistic invocation of five point plans and generic references to cutting regulation and producing more domestic energy. But that failure is not just a marketing flaw on the part of Romney’s ad men: it is a symptom of a modern conservatism that seems spent and resistant to innovation on some days, purely oppositional and reactive on other days. And the weightiest part of the recent conservative agenda, Paul Ryan’s budget plan, was barely mentioned and its details only intermittently defended. (The details of Ryan’s budget had their share of political pitfalls, but the scant attention to it by the Romney campaign surely contributed to the impression that the Republican wish list was being kept deliberately shadowy.)


Each of the key groups in Obama’s coalition of the ascendant is growing in society—which means that they will provide an even greater advantage to Democrats over time unless Republicans start winning more of them. “When you have a younger generation with a different set of ideas, and a changing demographic in the country, there’s going to be a tipping point; and during that tipping point, the two sides are roughly at parity,” says Morley Winograd, a senior fellow at the Democratic advocacy group NDN and coauthor with Michael Hais of two books on the millennial generation. “But at some point, that parity goes away and the direction becomes very clear.… We think this coalition is not only ascendant but will be dominant.”…

After these results, the big question facing the GOP is whether it can improve its performance among minorities, especially Hispanics, without returning to George W. Bush’s support for immigration reform that provides a pathway to citizenship for those living here illegally. That policy shift would face impassioned resistance from conservatives. “Looks like a brawl coming soon,” says longtime GOP strategist Mike Murphy. “The question is: Will the party base accept these facts, since they chose to ignore similar facts after Obama’s election four years ago?”…

“That 28 percent [minority-vote share of the electorate] will be 31 percent probably in 2016, and then it will be 34,” notes Matt Barreto, a founder of Latino Decisions, a polling firm that specializes in Hispanic voters. To win future elections, Republicans will need to either improve their minority performance or win even higher percentages of whites. “So it’s either going to get scarier in terms of those huge racial divides,” he says, “or the Republicans are going to have to sit up and say, ‘How can we cut into the Latino, African-American, and the Asian-American vote?’”


Maybe these people are convinced the larger GOP project can be saved simply by caving on just this one issue. That seems cracked. The bulk of the Hispanic electorate appears to instinctively vote Democratic, and not just because of immigration. (“[T]his is just a fairly liberal voting block.”) Maybe they can be wooed over to the Republican side over the course of decades. But by then there will be another wave of new, instinctively Democratic illegal immigrants (lured by the Boehner Amnesty) for Dems to appeal to. And the idea that the GOPs don’t have to change any of their other ideas if only they appease this one ethnic group (making up 10% of the electorate) is highly questionable, as David Frum has argued. … There were plenty of other reasons why Romney lost. (If he’d gotten McCain’s share of the Latino vote … he still would have lost.)…

A much better strategy would be to enact the enforcement measures (including a border fence and a system of employment checks), then wait a few years and see if they survive. If they do, sure, come up with some kind of amnesty. You could calmly pitch that plan to Latinos–it ends in the same place (amnesty). But that’s not the sort of sensible approach you will insist on if you are part of a stampede of panicked pols and consultants whose only goal is to pander to what they think Latinos want to make up for their shortcomings in other areas.


If Republicans want to change their stance on immigration, they should do so on the merits, not out of a belief that only immigration policy stands between them and a Republican Hispanic majority. It is not immigration policy that creates the strong bond between Hispanics and the Democratic party, but the core Democratic principles of a more generous safety net, strong government intervention in the economy, and progressive taxation. Hispanics will prove to be even more decisive in the victory of Governor Jerry Brown’s Proposition 30, which raised upper-income taxes and the sales tax, than in the Obama election.

And California is the wave of the future. A March 2011 poll by Moore Information found that Republican economic policies were a stronger turn-off for Hispanic voters in California than Republican positions on illegal immigration. Twenty-nine percent of Hispanic voters were suspicious of the Republican party on class-warfare grounds — “it favors only the rich”; “Republicans are selfish and out for themselves”; “Republicans don’t represent the average person”– compared with 7 percent who objected to Republican immigration stances.


To follow up on the question of whether Hispanics are held back from their natural Republican affinities by immigration-reform obstructionism, let’s not forget Obamacare. A Fox News Latino poll in September 2012 found that 62 percent of likely Latino voters backed President Obama’s handling of health care, including the Affordable Care Act. Only 25 percent of those voters wanted the act repealed. The Catholic Church’s strong opposition to the bill’s contraception mandate did not tip the Latino scales against it, dealing another blow to the myth of the “social values” Hispanic conservative. A Romney Spanish-language ad trumpeting Romney’s opposition to the Affordable Care Act showed that his strategists “don’t know what they are doing,” Latino pollster Matt Barreto told USA Today in August…

Out of sheer fatigue, I would almost be willing to support an E-Verify-preceded amnesty (starting with a DREAM Act that, unlike every extant version, disqualifies applicants with criminal records and requires serious educational attainment) in exchange for the elimination of chain migration and its replacement by a skills-based selection process. Congressional Democrats’ recent torpedoing of green cards for foreign Ph.D. science graduates, however, simply to preserve the “diversity” visa lottery shows how deep Democratic commitment to low-skilled immigration is. It would be risky to assume that they don’t know what they’re doing.


It is prudent and sensible to favor amnesty for the remaining non-violent, long-term illegal aliens after a fully articulated enforcement system is in place and functioning and proven. But that will require some time, not just to staff up and put the physical and IT infrastructure in place but also to overcome the years-long scorched-earth litigation campaign the ACLU and its comrades will launch to stop all enforcement initiatives. (Or do you think they’ll feel bound by whatever illusory deal their congressional allies are compelled to settle for?)…

The Left understands much better the point of mass immigration. See, for instance, the comments of Eliseo Medina, vice president of the SEIU and an honorary chairman of the Democratic Socialists of America: “[Immigrants] will solidify and expand the progressive coalition for the future. . . . We will create a governing coalition for the long term not just for an election cycle.”

Conservatives shouldn’t be helping them do this.


“This is a very, very dangerous area for Rubio if he has national aspirations,” said Roy Beck, head of the anti-immigration group Numbers USA. “You’ve had Republicans trying to do this in the past that really lost their status in the party once they did it.”…

In the aftermath of Tuesday’s elections, many Republicans believe they need to recalibrate and listen to Rubio. But while Rubio may be able to sway his Senate colleagues, his influence among House members is less certain.

“My gut is there are not too many Republicans who have been against comprehensive reform who will change positions,” said longtime pro-immigration activist Rick Swartz, who founded the National Immigration Forum. Reform “is easy to talk about but harder to get it done.”


Former presidential candidate Rick Santorum charged Thursday that President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party held off on immigration reform so they could capitalize politically during the election.

“It did not get done, in my opinion, by this president because he wanted this as an issue,” Santorum said on Fox News’s “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren.” “I don’t believe the Democrats are at all sincere about doing anything and compromising with Republicans on immigration.”…

“They would rather have the issue and continue to drive…this wedge between races and creeds and classes or whatever else they want to divide America,” Santorum said of the Democratic approach to the immigration issue. “That’s unfortunate. Let’s see if Barack Obama, in a second term, is serious about solving problems or wants to perpetuate politics.”


On Feb. 11, 2011, the person who should have been the Republican nominee laconically warned conservatives about a prerequisite for persuading people to make painful adjustments to a rickety entitlement state. Said Indiana’s Gov. Mitch Daniels: “A more affirmative, ‘better angels’ approach to voters is really less an aesthetic than a practical one. With apologies for the banality, I submit that, as we ask Americans to join us on such a boldly different course, it would help if they liked us, just a bit.” Romney was a diligent warrior. Next time, Republicans need a more likable one.

And one who tilts toward the libertarian side of the Republican Party’s fusion of social and laissez-faire conservatism. Most voters already favor less punitive immigration policies than the ones angrily advocated by clenched-fist Republicans unwilling to acknowledge that immigrating — risking uncertainty for personal and family betterment — is an entrepreneurial act. The speed with which civil unions and same-sex marriage have become debatable topics and even mainstream policies is astonishing. As is conservatives’ failure to recognize this: They need not endorse such policies, but neither need they despise those, such as young people, who favor them.


Via WaPo:


Amnesty for whoever is here. And it’s gonna be blanket, and it’s gonna be pretty quick. That’s where we’re headed. So I want to get in the game. I want to propose EIB amnesty. And I’ll agree to it. Amnesty for every illegal citizen who is here. There’s just one caveat. In exchange for having all of the laws that have been violated forgiven…

In exchange for blanket automatic citizenship without having to take the test, without having to learn the documents… (You’re here. You’ve been here a number of years so you’re a citizen. That’s where we’re headed.) One caveat: You can’t vote for 25 years. And let’s see how much support that idea gets. Let’s see if amnesty is what really is desired. Let’s see if it’s citizenship that all of these compassionate Democrats really have in mind.


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