Skip to comments.The Latino-Vote Obsession
Posted on 11/13/2012 6:27:56 AM PST by SeekAndFind
Postelection panic among conservatives about the Latino vote has reached the point of absurdity and mostly reveals the naïveté of detached political grandees who know little about the ideology and motivations of those they are now supposed to adroitly woo.
Republican postmortems have focused heavily on the Latino vote. According to exit polls, it went 70 percent for Barack Obama, and this year it might have accounted for 10 percent or so of the electorate. Presumably, this margin was an important, and in some exegeses the decisive, factor that denied Mitt Romney the presidency. Given demographic reality, then, the Republican party must in response be more inclusive, curb its illiberal and gratuitous rhetoric, and seek a grand bargain on illegal immigration, which will welcome Latinos into the party, and thereby result in a new 21st-century inclusive majority that will win presidential elections.
Yet, aside from the always-sound advice to be civil, show empathy for the less well off, and avoid callous rhetoric, almost all such thinking is oversimplistic, if not flawed altogether.
In the first place, why do Republicans think their conservative message is a natural one for the majority of contemporary Latinos/Hispanics rubrics that strangely now include everyone from Cubans and upscale Argentinians to Oaxacan indigenous peoples and Hondurans? In truth, the vast majority of Latinos who vote overwhelmingly Democratic is made up of poorer immigrants from Central America and Mexico rather than Marco Rubiolike second-generation Cuban-Americans. De facto amnesty, generous entitlements, vast increases in public expenditures and hiring, and more taxes on the wealthy are understandably widely supported by both the Latino leadership and rank-and-file. Public employment is increasingly more attractive and more subject to affirmative action than the private sector, and, quite logically, its expansion is seen by poorer Latinos as a natural pathway into the middle class.
Had Republicans come out in favor of open borders and blanket amnesty, I doubt that they would have won the Latino vote much less done much better in a state like California, given that its latest round of steep tax increases (now over 13 percent on top incomes) was widely supported by the so-called Latino community. Pundits can rail about supposedly naïve, out-of-touch Republicans who talked of self-deportation and thereby lost the Latino vote; but one just as easily might have castigated them for decrying out-of-control entitlements and food stamps, predicating legal immigration on education and skills, or criticizing unworkable and discriminatory affirmative-action policies, since these positions are also politicized as anti-Latino dog whistles.
Second, the grand bargain on comprehensive immigration reform envisions ending illegal immigration but granting amnesty to, at least, those who were brought here as children and are still under 25, in school or in the military, and without a criminal record. But why do Republicans think Latinos are in any significant way opposed to continuing illegal immigration? For the last 40 years, the influx of millions of illegal aliens leaving the impoverishment of Mexico by simply crossing the border, without much worry about U.S. law, has been a win/win situation for those already here. An expectation of cyclical amnesty or a general unwillingness of Americans to enforce their own laws is a magnet for millions in Latin America. In the surreal world of American liberal orthodoxy, the nanosecond a young Mexican national crosses the border, he becomes immediately eligible for affirmative action despite having little history of victimization by the United States or claim of contemporary bias. In some 21 years of teaching at CSU Fresno I weekly mentored young illegal immigrants who were on federal and state scholarships, were recipients of the in-state tuition discount, and were courted by professional schools by virtue of being minority members with supposed historical claims against the majority. Given the disparity between life in Mexico and life in the United States, why would a voting bloc give up such advantages especially given that the larger the pool of unassimilated illegal immigrants, the greater the avenue for second- and third-generation Mexican-Americans to offer them collective representation and advance their own careers in government, media, and academia on the basis of collective ethnic grievances?
Imagine, for a minute, that the Republican leadership did attempt to negotiate the grand bargain, a platitude as constantly voiced as it is never defined. If Republicans were willing to grant DREAM Actlike amnesty, what exactly would they ask for in exchange? The completion of the border fence? Employer fines? E-Verify? Deportation of millions of unDREAM illegal immigrants who do not meet the above criteria?
For all practical purposes, comprehensive reform means granting amnesty but also leaving the border fence uncompleted, having a guest-worker program, and issuing green cards to millions of illegal residents. If we were to deport the tens of thousands of Mexican nationals in our prisons, or the hundreds of thousands on some form of public assistance, does anyone believe that would win over the Latino leadership? The Reagan-era (1986) Simpson-Mazzoli Act (which required employers to verify immigration status, and which also amnestied about 3 million illegals) led to greater influxes from Mexico, did not stop calls for more amnesties, and certainly did not swell Latino support for Republicans.
Among most Mexican-Americans that I know there may have been just as much outrage at Romney for advocating legal immigration based on skills and education rather than family ties, as there was furor for his talk of self-deportation. Is it not hurtful (and seen as racist) to prefer that someone immigrate from Slovakia with an engineering degree and some capital rather than from Oaxaca with no money and without a high-school diploma? Under the present system, a Mexican national who is an unskilled worker can massage citizenship far more easily by virtue of ethnic clout and kindred ties to a Mexican-American than can a South Korean dentist or Greek doctor or Hungarian capitalist. Why would Mexican-Americans not favor such a system, and why would they not resent Republicans who advocated legal immigration based on higher education and specialized skills? Are the new Republican centrists to win the Latino vote by avoiding talk about basing legal immigration largely on criteria other than ethnic and family affiliations?
There are other, rarely spoken, reasons for Latinos to prefer Obama that have little to do with Republican positions on border enforcement. One is a sort of minority solidarity, in which the president, by virtue of his liberal and African-American profile, is seen as somehow more sensitive to other minorities, or at least in some vague mindset representing a shared challenge to the so-called white status quo. Note how those who dream of splitting the Latino vote do not talk in the same manner of drawing off the black vote. Do they cynically expect that black solidarity trumps the administrations actual dismal record on black unemployment? Asian-Americans went 70 percent for Obama as well. Should Republicans advocate fast-track immigration from the Pacific, or cool their rhetoric about China? Or was the reason here as well that David Axelrods community-organizing-themed campaign brilliantly demonized Mitt Romney as an uncool old rich white guy, while reminding minorities that the future of America is to be theirs?
For all the talk of family values and natural conservatism, there is not much evidence that rates of illegitimacy, crime, or divorce are much lower among Latinos than among the general population, and plenty of reason to believe that they may in fact be higher than averages among whites and Asians. Issues like abortion, gay marriage, and environmentalism have been successfully welded by the Latino leadership into a liberal package at best, the price that Latino elites pay to white liberal counterparts for their support of amnesty and generous entitlements; at worst, because they believe these issues are a thorn in the side of the status quo establishment. After all, why would a right-to-life argument or a traditional-marriage appeal attract Latinos when it did not win over the black community this year despite all the publicity given conservative black preachers, whose congregations were supposedly so angry over Obamas liberal social agenda that they were going to sit out the election?
In truth, the only means of winning over Latino voters to conservative positions are long-term and deeply embedded in American customs, economic self-interest, and the melting pot. Whatever short-term political damage would accrue from closing the borders would be outweighed by the long-term value that reduced and legal immigration will have in assimilating Latinos the key to both their economic success and sympathy for conservative politics. At present, second- and third-generation Latinos, many of them middle-class and without knowledge of Spanish, have legitimized their claims for preference on the basis of a pool of over 12 million illegal aliens and tens of thousands more who arrive each year and have not gained parity. Illegal immigrants from the poor interior of Mexico and from Central America, when lumped in with Latino-Americans, warp all sorts of statistics from education levels, test scores, and English proficiency to health care, and thereby provide arguments that the dominant culture has not done enough for all Latinos.
The model for Republicans should be the Italian immigration experience. Italian-Americans were once a monolithic Democratic pool of millions. But, as immigration from Sicily and the rest of Italy greatly slowed down, and as the natural course of American capitalism brought Italian-Americans into the middle class and differentiated them into subclasses of higher and lower incomes, Italian ceased to be an ethnic straitjacket. Today, Italian-Americans may vote partly on the basis of tribal pride, but not in any predictable political pattern. Italian conservatives have no problem voting against Andrew Cuomo or Nancy Pelosi, while liberal Italians did not particularly rally to Rudy Giuliani. The 30 percent of Latinos who opposed Barack Obama may suggest that we are seeing the beginning of such a phenomenon.
What, then, should Republicans do? Stick to their melting-pot principles and apply them across the board, regardless of race and tribe, emphasizing the content of our characters rather than the color of our skins. Of course, avoid gratuitous polarization and loose talk. Close the border, and invest in the formidable powers of American assimilation, integration, and intermarriage to achieve for a soon-to-be-closed pool of Latinos what it has already done for Japanese and Italians. Consider the DREAM Act only if it is coupled with deportation of many of those who do not meet its requirements and with employer sanctions and border enforcement. A particular Italian-American may sometimes be indistinguishable to the eye from a particular Mexican-American, but the former does not qualify for affirmative action, does not take Italian Studies courses, is not labeled a victimized minority because of ethnic affinity with millions of poor Sicilian newcomers and is not beholden any longer to the Democratic party.
A final note. Republicans have convinced themselves that somehow they were insensitive and thus lost minority votes. In fact, for nearly four years the Obama administration and its surrogates worked to create a racialist divide energized by talk of a new demographic future that was never successfully countered. When the pastor gave the benediction when Barack Obama was sworn into office brags that whites are going to Hell, or when a columnist like Colbert King likens Romney to Andrew Johnson, the wrecker of Reconstruction, or when Chris Matthews serially alleges racism on the part of Republicans, or when Attorney General Eric Holder refers to blacks as my people and others as a nation of cowards and when these efforts are not countered or even addressed then the stereotype of a racist establishment certainly takes hold. The success of the Obama campaign in capturing the minority vote was not due to a Republican failure to have minority voices (cf. the partys multiracial convention), nor was it due to opposition to the DREAM Act, but rather to a moral failure on the part of Republicans (not even a mild rebuke to Joseph Lowerys racist rant?) to demonstrate that those who were building racial divisions for political advantage were themselves the real racists. If Republicans do not believe in a society in which race is to be incidental, not essential to our characters, and if they cannot stand on such principles, then why should anyone else?
NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author, most recently, of The End of Sparta, a novel about ancient freedom.
Doc Hanson is quite correct. Latinos(or hatever they wish to be called) voted for the president because he gives them stuff. Nothing to do with immigration. It’s free stuff they want.
Great. Just great.
My tax dollars at work. Ugh.
Doc Hanson is quite correct. Latinos(or whatever they wish to be called) voted for the president because he gives them stuff. Nothing to do with immigration. It’s free stuff they want.
Great. Just great.
My tax dollars at work. Ugh.
Yo soy una Latina por el socialismo.
“Yo soy una latina por free sh*t”
How about simply:
“0bama voters are lazy thieves”
Simple. To the point.
Outstanding article. VDH nails it again. We must stop the RINOs, Dems, and MSM from stampeding us into an amnesty, which will destroy this country with the stroke of a pen.
mi**da gratis (that’s the Spanish word you’re looking for. Sorry, I also have to mask it as there are many Spanish speakers here).
The left is just like Muslims, when you try to compromise with them, they’ll just take your compromise and continue to work toward their end goal. “Sure, we’ll take Jerusalem, but we’re still going to try to kill you all”.
The conniving, wily latinos know their extortionate demands will be met----but only when vote-crazed politicans clobberd by pressure groups----accede to Mexican demands.
Mexico is pushing north at a furious space---salivating for reconquista and lusting after foreign aid billions---throwing its "pressure groups" over the border--- financing and coaching their fifth column invasion of US borders.
The wailing and whining propaganda-----"just here for a better life, to do jobs Americanos won't do"---is designed for bleeding heart sap-happy liberals.....and vote-crazed US politicians.
HYPHENATE PRICE TAG---the price we are paying so that vote-crazed Obama and other desperate pols can get re/elected.
NOTE Conniving pols bury these programs within other programs making them difficult to find. Americans have been hammered with govt propaganda that it was the Iraq war and the war on terror that is bankrupting the US. Heres the real reasons:
1. $11 Billion to $22 billion is spent on welfare to illegal aliens each year by state governments.
Verify at: http://www.fairus.org/site/PageServer?pagename=iic_immigrationissuecenters7fd8
2. $22 Billion dollars a year is spent on food assistance programs such as food stamps, WIC, and free school lunches for illegal aliens.
Verify at: http://www.cis.org/articles/2004/fiscalexec.HTML
3. $2.5 Billion dollars a year is spent on Medicaid for illegal aliens.
Verify at: http://www.cis.org/articles/2004/fiscalexec.HTML
4. $12 Billion dollars a year is spent on primary & secondary education for children here illegally and [usually] cannot speak a word of English.
Verify at: http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANscriptS/0604/01/ldt....0.HTML
5. $17 Billion dollars a year is spent for education for the American-born children of illegal aliens, known as anchor babies (or as Terry Anderson says JACKPOT babies!)
Verify at: http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANscriptS/0604/01/ldt.01.HTML
6. $3 Million Dollars a DAY is spent to incarcerate illegal aliens.
Verify at: http://transcripts.cnn.com/ %20TRANscriptS/0604/01/ldt.01.HTML
7. 30% percent of all Federal Prison inmates are illegal aliens.
Verify at: http://transcripts.CNN..com/TRANscriptS/0604/01/ldt...01.HTML
8. $90 Billion Dollars a year is spent on illegal aliens for Welfare & socialservices by the American taxpayers.
Verify at: http://premium.cnn..com/TRANSCIPTS/0610/29/ldt.01..HTML
9. $200 Billion dollars a year in suppressed American wages are caused by the illegal aliens.
Verify at: http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRI
10. In 2006, illegals sent $45 BILLION in remittances to their countries of origin.
Verify at: http://www/..rense.com/general75/niht.htm
11. The Dark Side of Illegal Immigration: Nearly One million sex crimes committed by Illegal Immigrants In The United States.
Verify at: http: // www.drdsk.com/articleshtml
The total cost is a whopping $ 338.3 BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR WHICH WOULD BE ENOUGH TO STIMULATE THE ECONOMY FOR THE CITIZENS OF OUR COUNTRY.
1. The Earned Income Credit...money people get back on their taxes that they NEVER paid into in the first place! Illegal aliens, most of which pay zero in net taxes, enjoyed $4.2 billion from the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) last year. Thats more than the annual revenue from the selected oil tax deductions and corporate jet deductions combined!
Verify at: http://www.redstate.com/dhorowitz3/2011/09/02/illegal-aliens-receive-4-2-billion-in-additional-child-tax-credits/
2. The cost of prosecuting and making SURE the rights of illegals are protected by US laws madefor US citizens. In 2009, the U.S. Justice Dept filed nearly 92,000 pro-immigrant-related criminal cases in the federal courts. The record-breaker accounted for more than half of all new federal prosecutions, according to data maintained at Syracuse University.
Verify at: http://towncriernews.blogspot.com/search?q=federal+court+cases
(Funny/sad video) Democrats react to GOP-e thinking supporting amnesty will win them the next election:
So Republicans should give Latinos even MORE free stuff? (to get their votes)
“Me Too!” never works.
Socialismo o Muerte!
Or like the communists, “What’s mine is mine. What’s your’s is negotiable.
Yet another reminder that the Rule of Law is now Rule of Man
Why doesn’t the GOP go to Latino converts to Conservatism and ASK them why they switched? My husband is one. Brought up on a typical Dem Latino household. Became conservative. Made me, also brought up in a dem household, conservative. We are very conservative, anti-amnesty, anti-racial demagoguery. Why not ask people like my husband what made them see the light?
So stop pandering to Latinos by having everything in public be both in English AND in Spanish as English is becoming the worldwide language of choice...Hear that Lowes?
As long as we pander to the Latinos by letting them use Spanish and not insisting on the use of English, they will always be second class citizens of the world.
Well go on tell us, you got the information. Share it. The republican party is an organizational of men like you & me.
If we are going to accomplish anything we must reject Obama’s notion that everyone else is responsible and take responsibility ourselves.
Good piece by Hanson...the GOP needs to dump its fetish for Illegal Aliens/Hispanic Vote
Puerto Ricans are American citizens...and vote Democrat mostly. Illegal Alien Amnesty will not change their vote. Cuban Americans already enjoyed special entrance requirements because they would be punished if sent back to Communist Cuba..so Illegal Alien Amnesty no effect there
GOP pushing Illegal Alien Amnesty is like overdosing on a speedball....both will die a quick death
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