The upcoming immigration bill fight has GOP insiders jumping through a lot of hoops these days, and it’s putting new life into the long standing debate over if and how Republicans can make more inroads with Hispanic voters. The two questions easily fit into one box, since it seems to be a given that any opposition to immigration reform will hurt Republicans in that area, and the Gang of 8 is exacerbating the situation. That came even more clear when Kelly Ayotte made the round of the morning shows.
Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire told CBS’s Face the Nation this morning that she supports the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill.
“This is a thoughtful bipartisan solution to a tough problem,” Ayotte said, giving a boost to the legislation. She also defended the bill’s path to legalization, calling it a “tough but fair way for them to earn citizenship.”
But will bending a bit in these particular political winds really benefit the GOP? At The Corner, Heather Mac Donald makes the case that this whole thing is a red herring which won’t gain any ground without completely scrapping the conservative platform.
Karl Rove was back promoting the “Hispanic Republican voter in waiting” meme last week, in order to warn Republicans to watch “what they say” when the Gang of Eight immigration bill came to the Senate floor. This is the meme that refuses to die among Establishment Republicans, no matter how much counterevidence is provided against it. It has already been repeatedly pointed out that if Republicans want to get on the right side of Hispanic political values, they will have to junk their opposition to Obamacare (Hispanic support for Obamacare: 62 percent), big government (Hispanic support for big government: 75 percent), and racial preferences (the Latino Caucus in California is close to its longstanding goal of overturning Proposition 209’s ban on racial preferences in public higher education), as well as their positive view of capitalism (55 percent of Hispanics have a negative view of capitalism, the most of all groups surveyed by the Pew Research Center).
Now we can add a new stumbling block to the post-amnesty Hispanic-Republican embrace: Republican enthusiasm for fracking. In a recent poll, 55 percent of Hispanic voters in California “favored an immediate and outright ban on fracking that could be lifted only by the Legislature — a view shared by only 42 percent of whites,” reports the Los Angeles Times.
First of all, I just have to ask… fracking? When the heck did fracking become a bone to chew along demographic lines? Some days I really just hate to read the news.
But more to the point, are we really now just accepting the traditional Democrat philosophy that Americans can be divided along lines of gender and skin color and boxed off into political pigeon holes? I’ve long been under the impression that the “Hispanic community” – if we can even refer to it as such – was pretty much as diverse as any other and that all politics are still local. (Even in that community.) If you go visit with Hispanic voters in New York City, Miami and San Diego you will find three very different sets of concerns and kitchen table issues, believe me. But the numbers cited by Mac Donald are disconcerting none the less. How did Obamacare, big government and capitalism all wind up on the same side of the net unless you’re standing on the green at a liberal arts college?
But if this data has any validity at all, you’re left with some pretty unpleasant choices. I don’t know what you do about it, but it’s clearly going to have to be on the agenda for the next two cycles at least.