Have some Democrats fallen into the “demography is destiny” trap? Sure, though there’s a difference between the demographics of immigration favor us and we should bring in even more immigrants who will vote for us. It should also be noted that the claims about favorable demographics were never just about immigration. For instance, commentators citing the 2004 book The Emerging Democratic Majority by John B. Judis and Ruy Teixeira as an example of immigration-based triumphalism probably haven’t actually read it: Only a fairly small portion of the book focused on immigration. What’s more, Judis and Teixeira noted that immigrant groups had traditionally followed a variety of political trajectories: Asian Americans, for instance, used to lean Republican because of their aversion to communism. While the authors did discuss the immigrant shift toward Democrats in the 1990s and early 2000s, their prediction that the immigrant bloc could “constitute a formidable advantage for any Democratic candidate” was hedged with a pretty big caveat: “if these voters remain solidly Democratic” (emphasis added). And most of the trends discussed in the book had nothing to do with immigration: Judis and Teixeira argued that Democrats were favored by the growth of post-industrial “ideopolises,” that is, centers of the knowledge economy; by an increasingly educated, employed, and liberated female population; and even by what they saw as the return of the white working class to the Democratic party.
Other supposed examples of what we might term “replacement theory, but as a good thing” also frequently turn out, upon close inspection, to be . . . not exactly that. Carlson’s most recent smoking gun, for instance, is that in 2013, the Center for American Progress “announced that ‘supporting real immigration reform that contains a pathway to citizenship for our nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants is the only way to maintain electoral strength in the future.’”
Yes, CAP really did say that in an April 2013 report titled, “Immigration Is Changing the Political Landscape in Key States.” The report also said that several “red states” could turn “blue” as a result of the immigrant vote. But, once again, there is a big caveat: “Whether or not these states turn blue in the future has a lot to do with how politicians in both parties act and what they talk about on the subject of immigration reform.” The report treats a GOP shift to a more immigrant-friendly stance as a very real possibility in the wake of the 2012 election, when Mitt Romney was the anti-immigration baddie (remember “self-deportation”?).
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