As Senator Ted Cruz said last week, “I don’t trust Republicans.”
I agree. Although Cruz was talking about budget negotiations, to me it applies to the issue of immigration more than any other issue. That’s because so many Republicans are not only prepared to vote for amnesty, they are actively campaigning for it, even though it is not only damaging public policy, but damaging to those same Republican’s political futures.
At least with the Democrats, I perfectly understand their motivations for wanting amnesty, and frankly, from their perspective they seem totally logical to me. It’s bad public policy for the nation, but its great political policy. For the Democrats, out of a possible 11 million new voters 10 to 15 years from now, 9 million will vote for Democrats. That’s enough to turn the rest of the Southwest, including Texas, deep blue. Without Texas, the Republicans are no longer viable as a national party.
And from a policy perspective, that adds 11 million more citizens in which ¾ of them don’t even have a high school diploma and virtually none of them have the high tech skills required for the 21st century workplace. That means most of them will live and die below the mean income level, and will be major consumers of social programs. That’s voting gold for the Democrats. The Democratic Party was never stronger as when FDR saw “one third of a nation, ill housed, ill clad, ill nourished.” Importing millions to fill that gap helps create the very conditions of income inequality and widespread poverty that is the fertile ground for Democratic power.
But what do the Republicans get out of it?
That is the real head scratcher. Of course there are some aspects of big business that do use unskilled and semi skilled labor that really like the downward push on working class wage rates that increased numbers of unskilled workers provide. Certainly the Wall Street Journal Opinion page is filled with pro illegal immigration editorials. But for most businesses interested in immigration, the demand isn’t for millions of unskilled workers but for hundreds of thousands of skilled workers, which current immigration law limits to a mere trickle.
Politically, it seems to make even less sense. There isn’t any evidence that pro illegal immigration positions help Republican candidates. A recent CIS study showed that Latinos in pro-immigration Republican Districts were no more likely to vote for Republicans than Latinos living in anti-illegal immigration Republican Districts. Certainly it didn’t help Senator John McCain in his 2008 Presidential bid. And of course, what is the political advantage of ensuring that your political party remains a minority party for the foreseeable future?
And yet… Republicans, including conservatives, are falling all over each other to support the Gang of 8 bill. Fox talker Sean Hannity even hosted a one hour special for Marco Rubio last Friday that did little more than pimp the bill with friendly “questions” and a generally pro bill agenda. Hard as I try, I can’t see a rational reason to support this. Bad public policy, bad political strategy… what am I missing?
My suspicion is that I’m not missing much, and that the real problem with Republicans is that they think they can buy Latino votes with the bribery that has proven so successful for the Democratic Party for decades. But the Democrats can’t be outbid. There is no line that Republicans can draw that Democrats won’t cross to buy more votes. Republicans were just as delusional in 1986 when they accepted a “one time’ amnesty with the promise that this would be the last one and that Latinos would now love Republicans.
Instead we lost California permanently. Well, if Republicans regard Texas as an embarrassment they can’t wait to be rid of, they are well on their way. The Democrats won’t be embarrassed by Texas at all once they own it.