Liberal Myths: Proposition 187

There are some things that just are not at all true, but are still part of the conventional wisdom, and are repeated with frequency in magazine articles and talking head shows.  Lies often have a useful function and the longevity of the Prop 187 myth is due primarily to just how useful it is, to both sections of the left and right.

And so this story is trotted out once again, in Peter Beinart’s piece in The Atlantic, The Republican Party’s White Strategy.  This time, the purpose is to attempt to discredit Trump’s anti-illegal immigration strategy by arguing that it’s been tried before, to utter failure, and Trump is offering a redo of the same failed strategy that will lead to the same result as it allegedly led to in California, unending Democratic rule as far as the eye can see.

Well there certainly is unending Democratic rule for as far as the eye can see in California.  The gist of Prop 187 myth is as follows:  The 1994 proposition forbade illegal aliens from accessing non emergency medical care, public education, and other California services.  Republican Governor Pete Wilson latched on the proposition to win re-election, but by doing so, he destroyed the Republican Party in California by forever alienating Hispanic voters because of hate, bigotry, or whatever.  Except for celebrity candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger, Republicans have been shut out from power ever since.

That general thesis has been more or less debunked on the right. Anne Coulter broke down the issue here, arguing that supporting Prop 187 won Pete Wilson a 20 point victory in the election. The actual vote totals on the Prop 187 referendum break down this way:

Support for Prop. 187 was strongest among white non Hispanic voters (+28 points), and especially white males (+38 points). Latinos, on the other hand, voted No by a 73% to 27% margin. Blacks and Asians divided about evenly, with 52% voting in favor and 48% opposed.

So in terms of an ethnic breakdown, Prop 187 was popular and won among all ethnic groups except for Hispanics.  Even then, as Coulter points out, Proposition 187 was still more popular among Hispanics than President Bush was in running for re-election just 2 years earlier (14% in California).

So Prop 187 passed and the voters never had contact with it again.  Naturally this proposition went to the courts immediately and was finally struck down in the California courts in 1997.  So how did a wildly popular voter’s referendum that helped a flailing Republican gubernatorial candidate achieve a massive re-electoral victory doom the Republican Party in California?

Beats me.  But that’s the myth.

But the media and conventional wisdom have stuck with that, but actually there is a simpler answer and since it comes from the left in theory it should resonate at least with those more left leaning.  Reliable Lefty writer Kevin Drum of Mother Jones takes another look at the proposition 187 myth and finds it lacking.  Welding the mighty tool of Occam’s razor, a tool that’s useful only as long as you are not trying to confabulate a Rube Goldberg method to get a preferred answer, Drum makes a simple observation:

The greater the share of the non white vote; the greater the share of the Democratic vote.  It’s the demographics…again.  Prop 187 wasn’t even a bump on the road to Republican decline; that marched in lockstep with the share of the nonwhite electorate.  This is now and will be soon replicating itself across the United States.  Of course as I’ve noted, there could be stop sticks along the way, but the general trend, in our tribalistic era, is that the Republican electorate shrinks as the white population shrinks, and it’s shrinking everywhere.

So even though the Prop 187 myth isn’t true doesn’t mean it’s not pointed out real problems.  But the purpose of the myth is to force Republicans into open borders/amnesty types of positions; in other words, to accelerate the shrinking of their own electorate.  It’s clearly obvious why the Democrats would support that, but why do so many Republicans fall for that too?

It’s not called the stupid party for nothing.

More Red States?

Gallup had a party affiliation analysis  that purports to show there are now more red Republican States than blue Democratic ones.  Good news Republicans!  From their study:

“Gallup’s analysis of political party affiliation at the state level in 2015 finds that 20 states are solidly Republican or leaning Republican, compared with 14 solidly Democratic or leaning Democratic states. The remaining 16 are competitive. This is the first time in Gallup’s eight years of tracking partisanship by state that there have been more Republican than Democratic states. It also marks a dramatic shift from 2008, when Democratic strength nationally was its greatest in recent decades.”

On paper, this does seem like good news for Republicans.  Certainly the divisive Obama years have eliminated almost the last of the Blue Dog Democrats and gave the Republicans their largest majorities in the House and Senate since before the Great Depression. At the State level, Republicans have made a 900 seat gain in State legislatures since 2010.  In strictly office holder terms, the Obama years have been good for the Republican Party.  So smooth sailing to November 2016 right?

I noticed two anomalies on the map that struck my eye.

First Florida.  Since it’s my home State, I have a familiarity with the state that may not show up in polling.  First the obvious: Florida went for Obama twice in a row; in 2008 and 2012.  Is there something that’s going to break that pattern?  A lot of things could, except that the State used to be a red State, now, according to Gallup, it’s “competitive.” But there are trends that are moving Florida from red to blue, and that’s demographics. As NPR helpfully points out, Puerto Ricans have been pouring into Florida.  Although it’s part of a long term trend, it’s exacerbated by the financial crisis in Puerto Rico.  Although Puerto Rico can’t vote in a Presidential election, Puerto Ricans can, the minute they leave Puerto Rico.  And again as NPR hopefully shows, Puerto Ricans predominately vote for Democrats.

And secondly, just looking at that State map from Gallup, when did Texas go from solidly Republican to leaning Republican?  I wonder what could be causing that?  Demographics maybe?

Texas has 38 electoral votes.  Once that State moves from leaning Republican to “competitive” it makes a Republican Presidential win extremely “problematic” as a leftist might say, no matter how many State Houses Republicans win.

Republican wins on non Presidential years are not reflective of Presidential years.  Quoting myself:

There is a big difference between the number of people who show up to vote in the mid-terms and those who show up in Presidential years. Based on the numbers I’ve seen this morning, turn out for this year was even lower than in 2010, which was another big Republican year. So you have a 76 million voter turnout for this year, but in 2012 you had 129 million voters.  That’s about a 50 million voter difference between the midterms and the Presidential voting years.

So all things being equal, we should see Democratic Presidential wins from here on out. Of course, I caveat that by saying that sometimes all things are not equal. Wars, terrorism, or a financial crisis could flip the script; as could an off the wall Presidential candidate that has cross party appeal.  But Republicans shouldn’t take much comfort that some there are more red States on a Gallup map now.  That sort of information, like Hillary Clinton’s support, is miles wide but merely inches deep.

 

Some Snags in the Inevitable Decline and Death of the GOP

In the post election stupor that the Democrats find themselves in, The New Republic brought a little good news to the progressive plate; Five Charts That Show Why a Post-White America Is Already here. You don’t actually need all five graphics to see that.  This one explains it clearly enough:

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The gist of it is that for children under five, whites are 51 percent of the US population.  Of course I didn’t need a New Republic graph for that.  I’ve known that for years, just based on my children’s classmates at school.  And 2011 became the first year that minority births outnumbered white births.  So the browning of America is baked in the cake, as it were.  Since I frequent political forums, I’m constantly reminded of that on a near daily basis.  Some lefty wag will start off a thread with something like, “since demographics are dooming the Republicans, what will you hate filled white men do now?”   Or some similar statement along those lines.  Like the New Republic, that inevitable day when non white “minorities” outnumber non-Hispanic whites is like a Left Wing Rapture, the start of a new rainbow era of totally left wing political control as far as the eye can see.

But not quite…

The GOP doesn’t need a total demographic flip to be on life support.  Remember, it spent most of the 20th Century as a semi permanent second party. The Democrats were the political party for decades. Of course, they were a much broader coalition then; they had everything from segregationists to fiscal conservatives, trade unionists, to communists. That’s why I don’t necessarily buy the forum leftist’s prescription that the Republicans are necessarily doomed because of demographics. The stupid party doesn’t need a massive demographic change to doom it.  It’s been doomed before.  However there are a lot of trends going on at the same time that make the future of either political party hard to predict.

Will they Democrats broaden their coalition? In the Obama era, they’ve purged most of their moderates and it’s a much more leftward party than it was just 6 years ago. Will that pay off when Obama is out of office? Would a Jim Webb centrist or a Howard Dean leftist have a better chance in a general election?

As the demographics of the country change, are people going to continue to vote in the same percentages of their racial groups as they do now?

Will Whites continue to leave the Democrats for the Republicans? I had previously posted that there has been a pretty steady trend of whites abandoning the Democratic Party for the Republicans. If something were to happen to increase that trend, a Republican Party that dominates the white vote could dominate politically for years.

Will successful Hispanics and Asians want to be locked in with the party of grievance? The identity politics left assumes all people of color (including oddly white Hispanics) will all naturally side with each other against whitey. That of course is the reason that changing the national demographics is so important to the left. But Asians and Hispanics are groups with different factions and are not all locked in to the Democrats the way Blacks are. Japanese Americans are basically indistinguishable from white people in most key indicators. Most Asian groups are on the opposite side of the affirmative action debate since they are punished, not helped by it. They’re also on the opposite side of the shopkeeper/business owner vs rioter situation. For Democrats, being the “Black” party can backfire when some of your other constituents are the people having their stores burned to the ground. I’m wondering how much that impacted the decline in Asian support for Democrats on this last election.

Indians are growing in size and influence among Asians. Who is going to wind up with their loyalties? Right now there are two, count them two, southern Republican Indian-American governors. And this is in what the political forum left regards as the unreconstructed racist south. Since Democrats are un-churched, they don’t understand how religion plays a role…well in anything. The future political Indian-American divide may be among those who are Christians flocking to the Republicans and those who have other or no religions flocking to the Democrats. We see something similar among Korean-Americans. Christian Koreans are far more likely to be Republican that Buddhists or atheists. That’s a dividing line that may be more important to future America than race, however Democrats so discount religion it might be years before they can even consider the possibility.

And like Asians, the Democratic calculus on Hispanics assumes they will want to remain poor in the party of angry grievance. Don’t they think a fair number of people want to “make it?” They want to move to the suburbs, have a white collar job, and just don’t buy that they can never do those things because evil white Republicans are keeping them down.

Contrary to liberal science, Hispanics are an ethnic group and not a racial group. So for those who assimilate, increase their incomes, and intermarry, are they expected to remain loyal to Democrats because of last names?

As you can see, I have more questions than answers on this topic, but I admit it’s more complicated than it’s usually presented.  I agree with the internet leftists that demographics are a major factor, but they are not a determinative one.  The year 2043 doesn’t necessarily mean that the United States automatically becomes the Socialist Rainbow Coalition of America.  There are still a lot of things that can happen between now and then, and we don’t even know what most of them are.