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Discussion: (40 comments)

  1. SeattleSam

    You’re absolutely right that Senator Rubio is looking at this from a practical, rather than political perspective.

    From a political perspective this isn’t going to work for the GOP. They’ll never out-liberal the Democrats, and they never get any credit when they try — any more than the Democrats would get credit if they actually tried to help reduce government spending.

    1. Peter Schaeffer

      “While immigration reform alone won’t make most Hispanics switch from D to R, it is the gateway policy needed before conservatives can begin to make their case to that community.”

      If you need to “make the case” you have already lost. Indeed, Hispanics have always favored welfare-state expansion and hence the Democratic party.

      “Keep all that stuff, of course, but what about education and health care reform and the tax code’s anti-parent bias?”

      Obamacare was designed to lock Hispanics into the Democratic party and it worked. More of them (via Amnesty means more Democratic voters). No Child Left Behind failed dismally.

      “Even if it will be initially hard to move the Hispanic vote rightward, immigration reform sends a signal to other groups — Asians, women, younger voters — that the GOP is an open, inclusive, and compassionate party.”

      That a great message for a small upscale elite. For the vast majority of Americans (and legal immigrants) it amounts to

      “We want cheap labor for corporate exploiters a lot more than we want to help you”

      The party of Open Borders / cheap labor isn’t going to attract Hispanic votes, white votes, Asian votes, or black votes.

  2. would Ronald Reagan’s political philosophy be considered “liberal” today?

    or to put it in context – give the current definition of “liberal” how many of the previous dozen POTUS would now be classified as “liberal”?

    Eisenhower, Nixon, Carter, Ford, Bush I , Clinton, Bush II, etc?

    has the right shifted more to the right?

    1. “..would Ronald Reagan’s political philosophy be considered “liberal” today?”

      Reagan later admitted amnesty was his biggest mistake. He thought the border and workplace enforcement was going to actually happen. He was swindled.

      1. I think immigrants did not fear Reagan as they now fear the GOP. Reagan genuinely cared about them and wanted to find a good answer.

        I think if he were alive today and took that same attitude, it would rile up the right to no end. I do not think Reagan would align with the current GOP base on this.

        We’ll never know of course but Mr. Bush also had a decent relationship with Hispanics.

        There is no doubt the GOP is split on this.

        1. “I think immigrants did not fear Reagan as they now fear the GOP. Reagan genuinely cared about them and wanted to find a good answer.”

          What a load of nonsense. And how did Hispanics repay Reagan? He gave them amnesty in ’86. His successor, George Bush senior, received about 30% of the Hispanic vote 2 years later.

          If there’s any reason why immigrants would “fear” the GOP, it’s because people like you are always out there whooping up the race card against them.

          “We’ll never know of course but Mr. Bush also had a decent relationship with Hispanics.”

          I don’t know which Bush you mean, but W maxxed out about 38-40% of the Hispanic vote in 84. In other words, he lost by a landslide.

          1. Here is the all inclusive list of people who complain about the race card: 1. Racists

  3. Funny, Jim, you use the word “gateway” in relation to illegal immigration (amnesty from 3M to 11M proposed since Reagan).

    Sounds like a speedway to me.

    Thirty-two years of history regarding the illegal immigration matter, no return on Republican appeasement.

    Immigration pales in comparison to jobs and the economy as Hispanic and Latinos issues. This is evidenced by the fluctuation in illegal immigration streams based on the state of the US economy.

    Finally, this matter goes beyond whether or not it is opportunistic to grant amnesty. It is a matter of fundamental principle and sovereignty.

    Do we, as a nation, get to decide who we permit to enter our country or do we continue to permit breaking and entering?

    1. re: ” Do we, as a nation, get to decide who we permit to enter our country or do we continue to permit breaking and entering?”

      do we as a nation get to vote on it?

  4. Ken Royall

    Amnesty = Permanent national majority for Democrats. 1 party rule. The preview of that has already happened in California. It is horrible for the Republican Party and I have no idea how Pethokoukis can be so dumb on this issue.

    Hispanics are not Conservative people generally speaking. They believe in a large welfare state. Democrats are going to give them that. They are also more liberal socially. They are *not* moving up the income ladder, even after multiple generations which makes them susceptible to Democrat class warfare crap.

    I have enjoyed the writings of Pethokoukis, but his credibility is now in shambles. He can’t take off his Libertarian blinders for one second to see reality.

    1. “Amnesty = Permanent national majority for Democrats.” Where’s your evidence that continued opposition to amnesty does NOT equal permanent national majority for Democrats? [Just because A = B does not mean Not A = Not B.] Demography is destiny. Republicans only hope is to get this issue behind them, not to keep it festering so that it continues to drive away ALL nonwhite minorities (a growing numbre) while we become a permanent-minority party for white people (plus a few “token oreos and coconuts” as MSNBC would say).

      The choices are (1) get the best bipartisan bill possible and put the immigration debate behind us or (2) keep the present system of no enforcement, de facto amnesty, vote hemorraging and race card playing. Option (3), a perfect conservative immigration plan in which Republicans are lauded for saving the Republic, is NOT among the available options. Note: Option (2) = permanent national majority for Democrats.

      I have no doubt my beloved Stupid Party will chose Door #3 and will be shocked, shocked! to find option #2 behind it. We need to get the best bill possible and support it 100%, but I’m sure we’ll get a fair-to-middlin’ bill (at best), a handful of Republican votes (plus ALL D votes) and it will be the national version of Prop 187 (the reason there are no Republican officeholders in Calif anymore) – a continuing club labeled “proof of racism” that Dems will wield for decades to come. Obama: “We Democrats passed immigration reform over the continued opposition of our racist enemies in the Republican Party!” Yeah, that’ll win future national elections for us.

      I don’t understand how Republicans can understand economics so well and politics so poorly, while Democrats understand politics so well and economics so poorly.

      1. I personally do not believe that Hispanics, Blacks and Asians just want big govt and big govt handouts.

        I think that insults all minorities to an extreme but more than that – it indicates a defiance on the part of the GOP to not even try to understand the wants and needs of the minorities and to address them in their policies and messaging.

        All 3 are significantly into family values and I would argue conservative values yet listening to the GOP, it’s like ” these are not our kind” type talk.

        LORD!

        1. “I personally do not believe that Hispanics, Blacks and Asians just want big govt and big govt handouts.”

          Who really cares what you believe, what does the data say?? The data says Hispanics and blacks use welfare at a much higher percentage than white people or Asians. Hispanic illegitimacy rate is over 50%.

          “All 3 are significantly into family values..”

          And what does that mean? Heather MacDonald, who does yeoman’s work on immigration, interviewed the founder of the oldest Latino marketing firm in California. He said, “What Republicans mean by ‘family values’ and what Hispanics mean are two completely different things,” … “We are a very compassionate people, we care about other people and understand that government has a role to play in helping people.”

          “.. it indicates a defiance on the part of the GOP to not even try to understand the wants and needs of the minorities and to address them in their policies and messaging.”

          We want small government. Some minorities by and large want bigger government. It won’t help us any to add 11 million more mostly poor people, 60% without a high school degree, who have entirely different ideas about
          the role of government.

          1. ” We want small government. Some minorities by and large want bigger government. It won’t help us any to add 11 million more mostly poor people, 60% without a high school degree, who have entirely different ideas about
            the role of government.”

            I think it’s hard to say all whites are capitalists and just as hard to say all minorities are “takers”.

            It’s surely a mix. There are Black, Asian and Hispanic businessmen who have similar perspectives to white businessmen.

            I’ve found Hispanics to be hard working individuals myself when hired to do contractor work.

            I had two Asian guys put down a floor the other day and they went 5 hours straight without a break… until that floor was done then they hopped into their truck to do another one.

            I just think stereotyping people is wrong-headed in general but it’s truly a bad political narrative.

            It’s almost as if the GOP does not care… and are willing to go down in flames sticking to their “principles” which are not so smart when it comes to minorities.

          2. “I think it’s hard to say all whites are capitalists and just as hard to say all minorities are “takers”.

            Yeah, me too. That’s why I never made that claim. My wife is a minority and she makes more money than I do.

            “There are Black, Asian and Hispanic businessmen who have similar perspectives to white businessmen.”

            Yeah. I know some. So? What have you proved here besides there are few absolutes in life? What are the percentages?

            “I’ve found Hispanics to be hard working individuals myself when hired to do contractor work.”

            Same here. What you didn’t see was the net loss to the taxpayers. The Medicaid, foodstamps, housing subsidies, cost of educating their children, etc. come out to a net loss even if the illegal immigrant spends all day mowing lawns and picking lettuce. I had a guy from Honduras lay tile in my house. He worked hard too, and also told us how the govt picked up all the cost of his wife’s hospital bills when they had their kids.

            Heritage Foundation estimated the 2007 bill would cost the taxpayers around $2.6 trillion. The cost would be much higher today since Obama loosened eligibility rules and upped the allotments. It’s not hard to believe when you consider most of the illegals don’t have a HS degree and show up here with little to no assets.

            “I just think stereotyping people is wrong-headed in general but it’s truly a bad political narrative.”

            You’re doing the stereotyping, we are talking about the data. It doesn’t matter what you “believe” if your facts are wrong. The facts are amnesty will be a huge fiscal drain at a time when we’re already running trillion dollar deficits. If you can show otherwise, please step up.

            “It’s almost as if the GOP does not care… and are willing to go down in flames sticking to their “principles” which are not so smart when it comes to minorities.”

            The GOP has never won the Hispanic vote for the reasons I’ve already given. It would be idiotic to add millions more voters to the Democrat column. One good test is to look around and see where people like you stand on the issue.

            Besides, how exactly would it help the GOP to give Obama a huge win on immigration? He would take 100% of the credit and the media would merrily chime along. The Democrats would win 90% of the Hispanic vote after that.

          3. re: ” Besides, how exactly would it help the GOP to give Obama a huge win on immigration? He would take 100% of the credit and the media would merrily chime along. The Democrats would win 90% of the Hispanic vote after that.”

            are you advocating permanently writing off the Hispanic vote? Isn’t that pretty much political suicide?

          4. “are you advocating permanently writing off the Hispanic vote?

            The GOP will never win the Hispanic vote, I’m just being realistic. By and large they want more government to give them things according to the polls. How can the GOP compete against Santa Obama and the Democrats on that terrain especially when you and the rest of the Democrats are screaming “raaaacists!” all the time?

            “Isn’t that pretty much political suicide?”

            I think the GOP is probably finished anyway, might as well kick the can down the road and try to hold on for dear life. Adding millions of Democrat voters won’t exactly help.

            California is the future, as is eventual collapse.

        2. What are you blabbering about? What a weak rejoinder to your originally robust post.

          As for Dave H who has bought the amnesty myth, another commenter has already demolished it by writing:

          “And how did Hispanics repay Reagan? He gave them amnesty in ’86. His successor, George Bush senior, received about 30% of the Hispanic vote 2 years later. ”

          What makes you think it’ll be different this time? Just because the echo chamber that is the mainstream media tells you so?

          As stated previously, the GOP was actually more liberal, generally speaking, in the 1980s than today. And the hispanics, many of them new citizens under the mass amnesty, duly flocked to the Democratic party.

          Second, the vast majority of polls show that immigration isn’t as big an issue for hispanics as the media claims it is.

          The biggest issues is on taxes, welfare, gay marriage and so on. The Hispanic community is liberal through and through.

          Giving them amnesty should be rationalized on more intelligent grounds than desperate vote-chasing.

          The GOP has allowed itself to be pushed into this corner by supporting all kinds of far-left ideas, including mass immigration from the third world, affirmative action and so on.

          Now, terrified, it tries to appease even more. But the bully just keeps hitting.

          One day the victim is dead. And that victim is the GOP. I feel no pity for the party that despises its grassroots and tries to woo those who shun it.

          1. (Note: my reply was to LarryG and his inane ramblings. Paul, on the other hand, is lethally intelligent and clear-minded.)

          2. re: Hispanics vote against the GOP no matter if GOP caves or not on amnesty.

            I do not think it’s one issue but they are related.

            If you scare the bejesus out of minorities in general and Hispanics directly – amnesty is not going to fix it.

            It would feel like a pandering bribe.

            the GOP actually has to assimilate and interrelate with Hispanics – not just on immigration but the things that affect Hispanics overall as a culture and a people.

            The GOP keeps treating them like they are some sort of two-headed being from another planet that just wants govt handouts.

            I’d like to point out that SOME Hispanics are Native-born Americans that descended from generations of native-born – who were living here BEFORE the land became the United States. Some areas of New Mexico were owned by Hispanics BEFORE it was New Mexico.

          3. “The GOP keeps treating them like they are some sort of two-headed being from another planet that just wants govt handouts.”

            That’s the Democrat crap narrative anyway. My Colombian wife is more conservative than I am and she doesn’t feel what you say at all. She does see people like you calling us racists all day long in order to keep the Hispanics from wandering off the Democrat plantation.

            “I’d like to point out that SOME Hispanics are Native-born Americans that descended from generations of native-born – who were living here BEFORE the land became the United States. Some areas of New Mexico were owned by Hispanics BEFORE it was New Mexico.”

            Gee, thanks for the little historical lesson. I’m sure nobody here was aware that some Hispanics were born here and didn’t just recently swim across the Rio Grande.

          4. re: GOP racists

            part of the problem is that in the ranks there ARE some but by and large, the GOP is not – but they are NOT comfortable with minorities in part because the GOP stereotypes minorities when it uses words like “illegals” or “anchor babies” or demands English to be spoken, etc.

            these are things that MOST minorities do see and their view is that the GOP is clearly not only not comfortable with minorities but really has no intention in appealing to them.. having already written them off.

            that’s a recipe for a permanent minority party which is a very bad thing because the last thing in the world the country needs is to have the Dems in charge of everything.

            yes.. I know that absolutely SHOCKS you Paul! :-)

          5. “.. but they are NOT comfortable with minorities in part because the GOP stereotypes minorities when it uses words like “illegals” or “anchor babies”

            You mean we address actual problems? Illegals and anchor babies are not assets unless you’re a Democrat looking for new voters. I don’t see how that terminology means we aren’t comfortable with minorities. We certainly aren’t comfortable with having our pockets picked by people who shouldn’t be here in the first place.

            “..or demands English to be spoken, etc.”

            Before multiculturalism garbage came along, it used to be commonsense and expected that immigrants would learn the national language in order to become part of the melting pot. The left would prefer them to be cloistered in their own communities, cut off from the rest of society and the opportunities within. Keep them in poverty and dependent on the handout party.

            “these are things that MOST minorities do see and their view is that the GOP is clearly not only not comfortable with minorities ..”

            It doesn’t help when people like you are whispering all kinds of nasty things about the GOP in the ears of minorities while promising all kinds of free stuff. In the real world, the GOP passed the STEM act a few months ago and it now sits on Harry Reid’s desk to die a lonely death. It would be a boon to America and skilled immigrants who want to come here or already here. I doubt you even knew about it because it doesn’t fit the liberal media narrative of a raaacist GOP.

  5. We should separate two of the many issues that “immigration reform” aims to address.

    The first issue is the presence of 11 million unauthorized immigrants. Deporting them all seems impractical, and although I admire restrictionists like Kaus and Krikorian, attrition through enforcement seems to me arbitrary and inhumane. (I would prefer subsidizing voluntary repatriation: pay people to return home with their families.)

    The second issue is ongoing unauthorized immigration. I would argue that we can curtail this through employer enforcement. And if we’re letting employers keep their current illegal immigrant employees via amnesty, then how many more immigrants do employers need?

    It may be impractical to send people who are living here back home, but it is not impractical to prevent more people from coming here. Legal immigration is even easier to control than illegal immigration.

    So I will support Senator Rubio if his plan calls for 1) amnesty for most illegal immigrants, 2) enforcement (universal E-Verify), and 3) greatly reducing ongoing immigration.

    1. I don’t think there is any doubt that if you busted the chops of those who employed illegals and make that transaction the financial kiss of death – that a lot of the problem would go away but the rude truth is that it’s the GOP constituency that is often involved with hiring these folks and that explains why the GOP has never come out strongly in favor of draconian sanctions against employers of illegals.

      1. I listen to NPR a lot, and I often feel extremely frustrated with their one-sided presentation of immigration issues. For example, I once heard an NPR reporter state matter-of-factly that “everybody” hates e-Verify: immigrant rights groups hate it, employers hate it, and labor unions hate it. And so of course, that’s “everybody”!

      2. “..that a lot of the problem would go away but the rude truth is that it’s the GOP constituency that is often involved with hiring these folks and that explains why the GOP has never come out strongly in favor of draconian sanctions against employers of illegals.”

        Not true. The GOP is split on this. The Wall St Journal crowd loves themselves illegal immigration in part because of the cheap labor. Here in Az, the GOP Gov is a big proponent of E-Verify. McCain won reelection as Senator pretending to be tough on illegal immigration, and promptly switched back to his old self after election day.

        1. 1) I wonder whether e-Verify could be a vote winner, despite the NPR reporter’s contention that “everybody” hates it. After all, more voters are employees than employers, and if you are looking for a job, you probably won’t think it’s fair for unauthorized workers to compete with you.

          2) Tea party folks are not going to like my proposal to subsidize voluntary repatriation (pay people to return home with their families), but I wonder whether it might actually save money in the long run.

  6. It’s really distressing that we can only ascertain the value of policy as it pertains to electoral politics. That is intellectually bankrupt. It also leads to a platform of arbitrary policies that masquerade as ideology: modern conservatism is hardly conservative, it is simply a collection of policies bundled together and labeled.

    And frankly, the Republican Party hasn’t been interested in small government since the adoption of the Two Santa Clauses strategy. Instead of mythology we need rational frameworks in which we solve common problems.

  7. Madness.
    I’m a fan of your economic analysis James, but this post is utter madness.
    “Immigration Reform” (hereinafter “Amnesty”) would give the Dems millions of additional voters and a heartening political victory. This is so manifestly obvious that I am almost speechless that any intelligent Conservative could even consider the idea.
    GOP support for Amnesty may indeed send a signal to “moderate” women and other groups — perhaps nudging the needle slightly in the GOP direction, but I doubt it. Folks that impressionable and unprincipled will find many other reasons to decide that the GOP is evil after all. The MSM, Hollywood, and the rest of the propaganda machine will convince them that the Dems are the heroes of the story, and that the GOP racists were an obstacle that was overcome after a long struggle (see how the civil rights movement is portrayed). And even if Amnesty did nudge the needle for a handful of moderates, what would be the cost? How would the GOP base react to another massive sell-out by the party elite? How will working class voters react when they see the GOP going to bat for “cheap household help,” line-cutters, and lawlessness?

    You note that Asians vote overwhelmingly Democratic, and suggests that Amnesty would influence them to vote GOP. Why? Why would immigrant Philippines, Japanese, Koreans, etc, who waited their turn, paid their fees, took citizenship exams, etc, be encouraged to vote for the GOP because the party decides to support a massive “jump in line” for illegal immigrants, mostly from Latin American countries. If anything, the massive Asian support for the Dems demonstrates, once again, that for many voters party affiliation is not a rational process. No more so than becoming a Red Sox fan. It is possible that Amnesty might have some marginal benefit to the GOP among Asian American voters, but I see no reason to bet on it.
    How does the GOP get from back from 47% to 51%? I certainly don’t know. And no one knows for certain. Sometimes, when the way ahead is perilous and the course is unclear, the best bet is to stick to your principles.

  8. “are you advocating permanently writing off the Hispanic vote? Isn’t that pretty much political suicide?”

    The GOP was founded as an anti-slavery party. In the 1950s and 1960s the GOP pushed through civil rights legislation while Southern Democrats opposed it. Lyndon Johnson and the Democrats started offering free stuff via the Great Society and other entitlements?

    How has that worked out for the GOP with winning the black vote, LarryG? You sure haven’t learned from history, have you?

    1. well the only problem is that the GOP and the Dems names were reversed during the anti-slavery movements.

      The Southern Democrats were the conservatives of the day.

      they did not represent blacks but instead the interests of slave owners and those that benefited from a slave economy.

      but nice revisionist history spin…

      but when you and others say that minorities like the Dems because the Dems give them free “stuff” – you’ve essentially written off ALL minorities INCLUDING a substantial number that are educators, entrepreneurs, business owners, etc.

      There may well be minorities that like “free stuff” just as a certain percent of white folks do but when you implicate a whole race of people – you’re obviously not interested even in the segment that does not want free stuff.

      what kind of political party works this way? Not one that is going to be effective for sure.

      1. “There may well be minorities that like “free stuff” just as a certain percent of white folks do but when you implicate a whole race of people – you’re obviously not interested even in the segment that does not want free stuff.”

        Keep on beating the hell out of those pathetic strawmen, Larry. Nobody is implicating a “whole race of people.” But the facts are the Democrats are the party of free stuff and the overwhelming % of Hispanics want more government. According to Heather MacDonald, U.S.-born Hispanic households in California use welfare programs at twice the rate of native-born non-Hispanic households. The amnesty shills want to make citizens of millions of people who will on net take money out of the pot rather than put money into it at a time when we are adding a trillion dollars to the debt around every 9 months. Do you have a shred of proof to the contrary?

        Your whole argument (and the Democrats) is all touchy-feely crap with no actual facts. It’s probably good politics, but ruinous for the country.

        http://www.pewresearch.org/daily-number/hispanics-favor-bigger-role-for-government/

  9. Peter Schaeffer

    “Why Hispanics are Natural Democrats and what the GOP can do about it ”
    http://super-economy.blogspot.com/2012/11/why-hispanics-are-natural-democrats-and_12.html

    Read it all. Better yet, follow the link and read it (with the graphs).

    There has been no shortage of commentary on the impact of the Hispanic vote on the election outcome. Much of the Republican post-election commentary has focused on the failure of Romney to gather a sufficient share of Hispanic support. Much of the discussion is confused.

    Two factors decide the impact of the Hispanic vote. One is the percentage of Hispanics who vote Republican. The other is how many Hispanic voters there are. Empirically, variation in numbers was far more important than variation in voting patterns.

    Romney did not lose because he lost the Hispanic vote in some unusual fashion. Rather, he lost because of rising number of Hispanics. In 1992 Hispanics were two percent of voters, in 2012 ten percent of voters. If the Hispanic vote share would have been what it was in 2000, let alone 1992. Romney would have won. Romney however would not have won with the vote share Bush got among Hispanics with the current composition of the electorate.

    The Hispanic vote is now finally large enough to win Democrats elections. Unlike what Karl Rove, Jeb Bush and Fox News might claim, this is almost entirely due to the growth of the Hispanic population share, not due to Hispanics having moved against Republicans. Hispanics have voted overwhelmingly for Democrats in every election during the last three decades.

    Here is a graph of Hispanic voting behavior 1980-2012.

    As you see, there has never been a majority of Hispanics voting for a Republican president. This even when Republicans have supported or even enacted an immigration Amnesty, the issue most commonly cited as key to garner Hispanic support. The variation in Republican support is fairly small. What turned out to be decisive in 2012 was hence the increase in the number of Hispanic voters.

    Romney received 27 percent of the Hispanic vote, marginally down from Comprehensive Immigration Reform enthusiast John McCain who got 31 percent. The highest vote share a Republican has received among Hispanics is Texas governor George Bush who got 40 percent post September 11th and right before the peak of the housing boom, and hence the peak of Hispanic economic fortunes. The forty percent Bush got was still a decisive defeat. Even though Republican President Ronald Reagan had granted illegal immigrants Amnesty in 1986, two years later only 30 percent of Hispanics voted for Bush Sr.

    The solution offered by many establishment Republican commentators such as Karl Rove, Sean Hannity and Charles Krauthammer is nonetheless…Amnesty! Amnesty will probably make a slightly larger share of Hispanics vote Republican, but historical experience proves that the effect is limited. Amnesty will however do this at the cost for Republicans of the Hispanic population growing further. Republicans will win a few more votes because Hispanics will become less anti-Republican but make Democrats gain many more votes because the Hispanic population share will accelerate upward.

    Making Hispanics a larger share of voters through Amnesty only makes strategic sense for Republicans if the GOP can get a majority or near-majority of the Hispanic vote once Illegal Immigration is out of the way.

    It is fashionable for Republicans to say that Hispanics are “Natural Republicans”, because they believe in ”hard work, entrepreneurship and family values”, or some similar combination of issues. They only vote against Republicans because the GOP is mean and doesn’t give illegal immigrants Amnesty.

    For example Charles Krauthammer writes that Hispanics:

    “should be a natural Republican constituency: striving immigrant community, religious, Catholic, family-oriented and socially conservative (on abortion, for example). The principal reason they go Democratic is the issue of illegal immigrants.”

    This claim is demonstrably false. In 2012 Hispanics solidly support the Democrats on virtually every issue, not only on illegal immigration. This includes taxes, the size of government and health care. Less known is that increasingly liberal Hispanics now also support Democrats on abortion, gay marriage and contraception.

    Why do Hispanics vote Democrat? The main reason is that Hispanics on average earn far less than Whites (henceforth “Whites” refers to non-Hispanic Whites). It is simply not in Hispanic material self-interests to vote for the party of limited government.

    The main reason that people believe largely unsupported claims about Hispanics being “Natural Republicans” is that unflattering facts about immigration are considered gauche in US public debate. It is just not nice to point out that a large segment of a group is comparatively poor and low-skilled. Though confronting these facts frankly may be uncomfortable to some, doing so is crucial to the survival of the Republican Party.

    1. Hispanics have low average income. According to the latest Census estimate, 42 percent of Hispanics are poor or near-poor, a higher share than African-Americans.

    Isn’t it true that Hispanics work hard? Yes, it is. However, working hard and being well off is not the same thing. Hispanics in the United States on average have low levels of education and tend to work in low-paying professions. According to U.S Census:

    “Educational attainment of foreign-born Hispanics was lower than all other race, Hispanic origin, and nativity groups. The percentage of foreign-born Hispanics who completed at least high school was 48 percent. Although native-born Hispanics had higher educational attainment than foreign-born Hispanics, all other native-born race groups had higher educational attainment than native-born Hispanics“

    The share of U.S born Hispanics who hold a college degree is less than half that of Whites, while more than twice as many U.S born Hispanics lack a high-school degree.

    This graph shows the average family income of Hispanics relative to Whites as calculated by the Census Bureau 1972-2011.

    Rather than converging, the disparity between Hispanics and Whites is growing over time. Hispanics on average earn forty percent less than Whites, a sizable disparity.

    2. Not surprisingly Hispanics are ideologically more likely than average to agree with a big-government philosophy. In the 2008 Exit Polls voters were asked:

    “Which comes closer to your view, “Government should do more to solve problems” or “Government is doing too many things better left to businesses.”

    This question strongly predicts voting for Democrats: three quarters of those who wanted bigger government logically voted for Barack Obama.

    I looked at the micro-data to compare Hispanics with Whites. Among Whites voters only a minority supported expanding government even in the 2008 enviriment. That year 45 percent of White voters believed “Government Should Do More” and 55 percent believed ”Government is Doing Too Much”. Among Hispanics by contrast it was 71-29 in favor of bigger government. This fundamental outlook on the role of government is unlikely to vanish because of any Republican shifts on immigration policy.

    Pew-Hispanic surveys Latinos about their policy preferences using a slightly different phrasing. In 2011 they asked: “Would you rather pay higher taxes to support a larger government or pay lower taxes and have a smaller government?”

    Hispanics chose big government and higher taxes by an astonishing 75-19 margin. Even third generation Hispanics are to the left of the general public. If you look at a previous Pew survey which broke out Whites, the corresponding numbers were 32-61, which means twice as many preferred smaller government to bigger government. Indeed Whites have been moving to the right on fiscal issues during the last three decades. The reason that the electorate is moving to the left is demographic transformation.

    There is nothing strange about this. Anglo-Americans are culturally probably the most pro-capitalist group on the planet. It is not a coincidence that 8 of the 10 countries with the highest ranking in Economic Freedom Index are Anglo or former British colonies.

    There is no corresponding ethos of individualism, self-reliance, and distrust of government in Latin America. All those countries are all left-leaning, with large segments of the population idolizing Che Guevara and Hugo Chavez. Does Charles Krauthammer think Mexican voters in Mexico have supported the populist left for generations because of GOP opposition to illegal immigration?

    3. Hispanics are no longer particularly socially conservative. Hispanics are mostly catholic, not evangelical Protestants. As Hispanics integrate, they integrate towards socially dominant liberal values. About 53 percent of Hispanic births in 2011 were out of wedlock, hardly the epitome of family values.

    Pew Research Center concludes: “Latinos have often been characterized as more socially conservative than most Americans. On some issues, such as abortion, that’s true. But on others, such as the acceptance of homosexuality, it is not. When it comes to their own assessments of their political views, Latinos, more so than the general public, say their views are liberal.”

    In another survey, after the Democrat shift on this issue Pew finds: “More Latinos Now Favor Gay Marriage Than Oppose”, by a healthy 52-34 margin.

    Reuters provides excellent detailed analysis of 2012 exit polls. Contrary to Charles Krauthammer’s wishful thinking, Hispanics voters supported the Democrat position on abortion (always or mostly legal) over the Republican position by a 57-36 percent margin!

    Though they are mostly Catholic, Hispanics supported President Obama’s position that “health insurance organizations should be required to cover contraceptives” by a 68-11 margin.

    Remember, just because a group is church-going doesn’t mean they are Republican. African-Americans are the most church-going demographic in the United States and tend to vote overwhelmingly Democrat. The long tradition of Catholics-liberalism is well alive in the Hispanic community.

    4. Hispanics support Democrats on policy issues other than immigration. In addition to exit polls, Reuters also provides data using a large sample of regular polls. By a overwhelming 73-7 percent margin Hispanics supported raising taxes on wealthy Americans.

    Hispanic believed Obama had a better plan for taxes by a 47-23 percent margin, while Obama lost Whites on taxes by a 32-44 percent margin.

    Hispanics supported Obama on Social Security by a 48-17 margin, while Obama lost won Whites on Social Security by a 26-40 percent margin.

    Hispanics supported Obama on Education by a 52-20 margin, while Obama lost Whites on Education with 33-39 percent margin.

    Hispanics supported Democrats on the crucial issue of Obama-Care by a massive 69-31 margin, while White opposed Obama-Care by a 39-61 margin. This is not surprising, according to Department of Health and Human Services: “Hispanics were most likely to be uninsured for at least one month during 2008 to 2009 (52.3 percent)”. Of course the most uninsured group prefer the candidate who promises to give them free health-care over the rich guy who wants to cut programs that they depend on.

    I could go on, but the results are repetitive and depressing. On gun-control, the environment, energy, foreign policy, economics and every subject Hispanics were to the left of Whites and to the left of the Republican party. It is not true as Charles Krauthammer claims that Hispanics are Natural Republicans who are alienated from the Republican Party simply because of GOP opposition to Amnesty. Hispanics are Natural Democrats on every major policy issue, be it immigration or economics or even social issues.

    One important explanation for why the conservative leadership has convinced itself that Amnesty will make Hispanics gravitates towards the GOP is psychological. Following a crushing defeat against a President openly championing liberalism, Republicans elites are in the first state of grief, namely denial. The truth that America is slowly transforming into a center-left country (due primarily to past immigration policy) is simply too painful to acknowledge. Republican refuse to accept that the political philosophy they offer is unattractive for low-income voters.

    I understand that is is painful to acknowledge that the electorate rejected your ideology. It is however foolish to convince yourself that you can make people vote for you against their own material self-interests merely by compromising on one issue (illegal immigration) or by “reaching out”. This especially if the easy path Charles Krauthammer offers involves accelerating demographic transformation, the very process which is killing the GOP.

    5. Another argument brought forward by George Bush to explain why Republicans could win the Hispanic vote was premised on Hispanic Entrepreneurs voting Republican. In fact he self-employment rate is lower among Hispanics than among Whites. The Bureau of Labor Statistics finds:

    “Whites continued to be more likely than Blacks or Hispanics to operate their own businesses”.

    More importantly the Hispanic self-employed are mostly small one man operations, such as construction workers, plumbers and landscape architects, not rappidly growing entrepreneurial companies. Mexican immigrants are nearly 30 percent of all immigrants, but only 2 percent of founders of firms in “Innovation/Manufacturing-Related Fields”

    6. Finally, it is frequently argued that the above facts that should be troubling to Republicans regarding Hispanic immigration are merely temporary. After all, it is said, nativists claimed the Irish wouldn’t integrate either, but they did. According to this theory regardless of today´s situation either American Exceptionalism or Libertarian Historical Determinism will grantee that immigration will end up benefiting classical-liberalism.

    Just because we can point to one prominent historical example of immigrants integrating successfully hardly guarantees that all immigrant groups will always integrate. There are also prominent historical examples of immigrants not integrating, such as in Western Europe during the last four decades.

    The world is different now than in 1850. We now have the welfare state and multiculturalism, which both aggressively work against integration and in favor of keeping tribal ethnic pride alive and well.

    Keep in mind that immigrants integrated into the US during the early 20th century after the flow immigration slowed. Stanford Economist Edward Lazear has argued that an immigrant group is less likely to integrate the larger it is and the more recently arrived the migrants of the group are. Newly arrived immigrants are cheaper substitute for immigrants already here and press down their wages. Moreover people are less likely to integrate to majority culture if they live semi-isolated in a sea of the immigrant culture.

    As an empirical matter, Mexican immigrants to the United States have not integrated even after four generations. UCLA sociologists Telles and Ortiz have investigated outcomes for 4th generation Mexican-Americans. They do not converge to white averages in either income or education. More troubling, integration stops in generation 3, there are no further gains. (They also find 4th generation Mexican immigrants still tend to vote for Democrats.)

    As an aside, this is also the reason as to why Democrats would do well to temper their demographic triumphalism somewhat. Ethnic fragmentation of America is indeed making Democrats politically dominant. It is also putting virtually every US social outcome desired by Liberals further out of reach, be it in the area of inequality, education, wages, environment, etc. If defeating conservatives is an end in itself, unskilled immigration is a good strategy for Democrats. However progressives that are in business of achieving social goals rather than merely beat their political rivals should take a moment to consider what impact unskilled immigration has on for example income equality or the viability of a generous social safety net.

    The evidence is overwhelming that Hispanics will not become Republican any time soon. Giving in to Amnesty will mostly have the effect of causing further cycles of Amnesty-Illegal-Immigration-Amnesty, bringing the GOP ever closer to irrelevance.

    It is worthwhile to do some crude arithmetic here. Amnesty would lead to approximately 11 million new citizens. Once they are citizen, they have the right to bring their relatives to the U.S. According to Princeton researcher Bin You On “On average, each principal immigrant would bring 2.1 family members to the United States as part of the unification process.” (though this takes some time). Let’s ignore the fact that Amnesty is virtually guaranteed to lead to further illegal immigration.

    Amnesty therefore means in the ballpark of 34 million new citizens, overwhelmingly low-skill. On average sixty percent of eligible voters tend to vote. Let’s say only half this group votes. Amnesty means 17 million new voters who owe their loyalty to President Obama.

    What percentage of this voting-block can Republicans hope to get if they let President Obama become a hero and grant them Amnesty?

    Romney only got 27 of the Hispanic vote because the Cuban still vote leans Republican. Illegal immigrants are mostly Mexican or Central American, not Cuban. First generation Mexican immigrants lean more Democrat than Hispanics as a whole. Let’s be generous and say that Republicans get 30 percent of the vote of illegal immigrants and their families if they agree to Amnesty.

    Obama won the 2012 election with a margin of 3 million votes. Amnesty for illegal immigrants would create a ball-park of 7 million votes net for the Democrats in the medium run, let alone the long run. The “solution” offered by Republican elites for their defeat would triple the Democratic victory margin.

    6. So what are conservatives to do? Forsake hope and despair? Pack up shop and disband the GOP? Not quite yet. Romney did not, after all, lose in a landslide, even facing demographic transformation. He closed President Obama’s margin over McCain from 7.2 percent to 2.8 percent.

    The fact that Romney did far better than McCain (and only a point below Bush in 2000) is because of his rising vote-share among Whites. Regardless of what the commentary on MSNBC might claim, Romney did not run on White racism or tribalism. Nevertheless he received one of the highest voting shares among Whites.

    As some commentators have pointed out, what appears to be happening is that as Whites become a smaller share of the electorate, they are naturally gravitating toward the GOP. Whites are still 72 percent of voters, enough as a base to win elections for many decades to come. One reason is that Whites are feeling more self-conscious of the fact that they are becoming a minority, as TV-news and pundits gleefully remind them on a nightly rebasis. As American Whites are transformed into merely another ethnic minority, they are coalescing electorally, as ethnic minorities tend to do.

    You can compare demographic group vote shares with the nation as a whole (so if a Republican gets 50% nationally and 60% of Whites, Whites are +10R). It is a bit problematic as whites are a huge component of the total they are being compared with, but it is an illustrative exercise nonetheless. Below, I calculate this measure both for Whites and Hispanics:

    Hispanics:
    1972: D+26
    1976: D+25
    1980: D+17
    1984: D+22
    1988: D+24
    1992: D+18
    1996: D+23
    2000: D+14
    2004: D+10
    2008: D+15
    2012: D+21

    Whites:
    1972: R+6
    1976: R+4
    1980: R+6
    1984: R+5
    1988: R+4
    1992: R+4
    1996: R+6
    2000: R+7
    2004: R+7
    2008: R+10
    2012: R+12

    As you can see Hispanics have leaned Democrat for decades. Romney did no worse among Hispanics compared to the national average than Reagan, Nixon, Dole or HW Bush. Bush and McCain did better, no doubt due in part to their stance on illegal immigration. Both those candidates nevertheless lost Hispancis by crushing margins.

    There is a strong correlation between the share of whites who vote Republican and how many Whites there were. While Whites are shrinking as a group, they are trending Republican.

    The reason that Romney did not do even better with Whites is that he was blocked by the perception that he is a socially conservative Taliban among women/academics/Asians and that he is a greedy rich guy who doesn’t care about the middle class among working class men.

    So, what to do for Republicans? For now, the Republican Party can take the most obvious step as dictated by the median voter theorem, i.e. moderate or clarify its positions on unpopular issues (Tax cuts for the rich, Abortion in cases of rape and incest, Contraception mandates, interventionist foreign policy) and gains 2-3 points across the board more from all ethnic groups. That’s enough to win for now.

    If Republicans seriously want to reach out to Hispanics they must also moderate their positions on economic policy. Courting Hispanic voters with fiscal issues rather than with more immigration is strategically less insane. Amnesties gives Republicans a slightly larger share of the Hispanic vote, but at the cost of making the Hispanic vote larger and thereby further weaken the electoral position of the GOP. (it also costs White working class votes). Moderating on fiscal policy gives you more Hispanics (and more Whites, and more African Americans) without making the Democratic base larger.

    Republicans should eventually support Amnesty, but now is not the right moment. Voters don’t like more illegal immigration, but they feel sorry for the guys already here. It would however be strategically and practically foolish to give Obama the chance to give Hispanics Amnesty. That will cement Democrat loyalty among Hispanics for perhaps a generation. Furthermore any concessions in the area of actual immigration enforcement gained as part of a “comprehensive” deal are unlikely to actually materialize if they are to be implemented by the Obama administration.

    If the Republican Party wants to survive, they must first demand near complete end to illegal immigration as their price for Amnesty. Moreover, Republicans must slow down legal immigration of low-skill workers. This flow is nearly big as illegal immigration, and these groups of immigrants are also anti-GOP. Once the flow of unskilled (legal and illegal) immigration is manageable, the GOP can work hard for the survival of the itself and more importantly the country to integrate the Hispanics already here.

    What than can Republicans offer low-income, philosophically left-leaning Hispanics that Democrats cannot? After all, the GOP might move to the left on health care and taxes, but that is hardly a unique selling point. The Democrats will always be able to outbid the Republicans in this field, even though the disadvantage can be mitigated.

    Of course, Republicans must aggressively recruit Hispanic candidates, and preferably Mexican-American rather than Cuban-American. Currently 65 percent of Hispanics in the U.S are Mexican and only 4 percent Cuban. Some Mexican American voters view Cuban-Americans as too privileged to identify with. This Time Magazine writer argues:

    “there is the perception among Mexican-Americans that Cubans, as a group, have not suffered in the United States the way other Latinos have.”

    Second Republicans should also be aggressive about stamping out all traces of ethnic intolerance in the GOP.

    Third, Republicans can emphasize law and order in crime-ridden Hispanic neighborhoods. (You can’t fix education and employment if crime remains high).

    Fourth, Republicans can make it a priority to improve education. Reforming teacher unions is part of this, but more funding should be on the table when necessary.

    These things are all well and good, but likely not enough. There is however one vital deal that Republicans can offer Hispanics that Democrats cannot: Inclusion and normalcy.

    Let’s not kid ourselves; Obama got 71 percent of the Hispanic vote in party by emphasizing “minority solidarity”. Liberals are now more or less openly inciting anti-majority ethnic resentment.

    The deal offered by Democrats to Hispanics is the same deal offered to African-Americans: Permanent exclusion from mainstream America as a politically protected ethnic minority. The key to the Democratic plan to make America a one-party state is that Hispanics forever remain a segregated ethnic voting block rather than a part of America. For the Democrat plan to work, Hispanics can never become part of the mainstream majority in terms of social identity or educational and economic achievement.

    Conservatives can offer Hispanics a far better deal than this. They should reach out with an open hand to Hispanics and offer them to join America as full citizens, not only formally but in all regards, as the Irish and Italians did before them.

    Libertarians, neocons and liberals that are high on Ellis-Island sentimentalism seem to forget that Irish- and Italian-Americans no longer view themselves as primarily Irish or Italian. Nor have they made more Irish/Italian immigration their primary political demand. They are fully American, not just Italians/Irish/Mexicans residing in America. Isn’t that after all the American Dream? Isn’t this what they came here for? For themselves and their children to become fully American, in outcomes and values and identity?

    If high-immigration policy is continued by 2050 U.S Census projects that Hispanics will become 31 percent of the population and non-Hispanic whites 45 percent. There is no place for a conservative political party in the country the U.S is slowly turning into. However as I have shown for another 10 to perhaps 15 years, there remains a narrow path for the GOP to avert political suicide. If what remains of the Republican party instead believe Karl Rove, Charles Krauthammer, and Jeb Bush and the liberal media telling them that accelerated Hispanic immigration will save the GOP, they deserve the fate that awaits them.

    1. Hi Mr. Schaeffer, I read and enjoyed your comment. I think you have some very good ideas.

      One thing I appreciate is that you are not proposing that the GOP should write off Hispanic Americans. Instead you are proposing ideas for competing for their votes. I would add that 1) those who are self-employed in one-man operations ARE entrepeneurs and might be open to the GOP message, and 2) not all Ibero-Americans are left-leaning, although the right wing in Ibero-American countries tends to be more communitarian than our right wing. For example, Colombia, Honduras, and Chile have all elected right-of-center governments if I’m not mistaken.

      I wonder whether there is a way to reduce overall immigration without alienating Hispanic Americans. For example, maybe we should reduce immigration from all areas of the world (including the country my parents moved from) so that we are not perceived as singling out Ibero-Americans for punishment. For example, I don’t see the purpose in the diversity lottery. Diversity is overrated. I’d much rather admit an equivalent number of educated Mexicans (if we could only convince them to come here).

    2. Peter – thanks for your post and the link to Super-Economy. The facts are irrefutable. The folks purporting to be Conservatives who are shilling for Amnesty are either ignorant or closet Leftists. Conservatives and in for a tough fight no matter what. But with Amnesty, the GOP is on the path to annihilation, and the U.S. will end up somewhere between the EU and Venezuela.

      Mr. Pethokoukis – I recommend the above post as an example of using data, rather than wishful thinking, to analyze the likely consequences of Amnesty. Shouldn’t AEI be producing work of this caliber? After reading it, don’t you think you should withdraw your post and apologize for the poor quality of its analysis?

      1. are we saying that the 40% that Bush got is not attainable by other GOP?

  10. Peter Schaeffer

    Here are a few easy ways to understand this issue.

    Republicans don’t win by importing Democrats.

    Reagan’s Amnesty killed the Republican party in California. Rubio’s Amnesty will kill the Republican party forever.

    These are just facts. Look them up.

    You don’t have to like them. Just accept them and deal with it.

  11. We Floridians could have sent Orange Charlie to the cesspool if we wanted what “Rube” io is selling!

    You dance with the one who brought you!

    “Rube” io is a career opportunist. “Rube” io doesn’t gave a damn about anybody but Marco Rubio. This isn’t Marco Rubio’s plan. This is Jeb Bush’s plan.

    “Rube” io sold out for access to Barbara Bush’s rolodex.

    “Rube” io can talk just like Obama. “Rube” io is a first term senator just like Obama. “Rube” io has NO executive experience just like Obama.

    “Rube” io sold out at first asking. The Age of Bush is over!
    “Rube” io is backing the wrong horse.

    The Cubans in south Florida are loyal conservatives. They fled Castro’s Cuba and recognize socialist policies when they see them. They have assimilated into society and are hard working. Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush could not stop the bleeding of loyal Cuban conservatives from Etch-a-sketch is the real story here not that the gopE can not attract Hispanics.

    Nice try with the Bush crime family spin. Marco Rubio will be lucky if he wins re-election for his senate seat. He was fortunate to sneak through last time because Democrats were not motivated to go to the polls because it wasn’t a presidential election. That is not the case for 2016.

    This last election proved that neither Jeb Bush nor Marco Rubio will be able to deliver Florida’s electoral votes for a Mini-Dem candidate.

  12. True Patriot

    If the GOP does down the amnesty path, they may not will another national election in decades.

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