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Don't Listen to What They Say, Watch What They (Don't) Do

In all of the controversies regarding immigration policy, the standard trope of the GOP establishment has been that Hispanics are natural Republicans and the future of the party.


There are 21 current congressional districts that were majority Hispanic in the 2000 Census. All are represented by Democrats, which Mehlman might explain by pointing to Pete Wilson and the GOP's historic treatment of Hispanics. But if the GOP has a good message to offer to Hispanics, why isn't it even running candidates in Hispanic districts? Of those 21 districts, the GOP fielded no candidate in 6 of them, and provided no funding for 14 more. The only candidate to receive any support from the national party, incumbent congressman Henry Bonilla, lost in 2006.

Of the 42 districts that are one-third or more Hispanic, 35 elected Democrats in 2006. Excepting Bonilla's district, none of those 36 Democrats received a serious GOP challenge last year - much less one on which Ken Mehlman's RNC or National Republican Congressional Committee was willing to spend a dime. If Mehlman really believed that "Hispanic Americans are natural Republicans," as he wrote in the Journal, he would have at least run serious candidates in these districts. Howard Dean sent Democrats to run in Republican districts in the belief that people in Indiana would see that not all Democrats have horns, which could yield seats in the long run and pleasant surprises in the short run. Mehlman could have tried that in East L.A. or along the Rio Grande. He didn't. (Timothy P. Carney, in the July 2 issue of The American Conservative)

Inaction belies trite rhetoric; the reality is far grimmer:

The post-modern American empire turns inward, against it's own population. The elite effectively occupies the nation against its will through the invading force that is the illegal alien mass, illicitly, even illegally, trading off to a foreign population a stake in the American Commons for greater power and the economic needs of their lobbyist overlords. (Dennis Dale)

In other words, it is not about the GOP and the future of conservatism; it is about the plutocracy. Ahem.

Comments (24)

Its actually worse than that. I go to Southern California once a month on business. Compared to the 1980's, there is no longer a middle class. Upward mobility is much reduced, and housing costs are outrageous. The result is a class of well-heeled liberal elites living in fancy houses, being waited on by an army of lower paid service workers. In this sense, Southern California has become a mirror image of much of Latin America.

If California is the trend that America follows 20 year later, the U.S. will not exist in any desirable form around 2030 or so.

This is the reality that our political "leaders" (I use this term loosely) either refuse to deal with or, more ominously, welcome as a desired outcome.

Due to my personal experience and unique circumstance, I have the option of living and operating in East Asian countries such as Japan or China. However, this is not an option available to the vast majority of Americans.

Is it possible that desirable outcomes can only come about by non-state players using non-state methods?

Plutocracy is the precise term for it: an aristocracy of wealth. An aristocracy of birth or even talent may retain loyalty to the ground of these things -- namely the social state from which it arose -- while a plutocracy will be loyal only to lucre.


Let's not get ahead of ourselves. We have stopped dead two disastrous immigration bills in the Congress, one under the leadership of each party. An (admittedly meager) border security bill passed in the Senate. Few outside the deluded ranks of right-Liberals doubt what is the real opinion of the Republic on this issue. The tide may have turned, because the people themselves, in Publuis' phrase, answered the plutocracy decisively.

If you want to the hispanic vote you have to listen to it and engage it. Oh I am sorry Rush calls this pandering.

Sorry a lot of the rethoric in dueing the immigration debate was way over the line toward hispanics. We did a horrible job policing our own. It is amazing but the vote has been trending our way. We are in trouble in Florida, Colorado, and Nevada right now because of the immigration deabte among hispanics. That is a fact. So far the GOP frontrunners are doing precious little to reach out to this important group. Romney at alest appeared at the Republican National Assembly Convention last week. THe only one to do SO!!!!


JH: what, on your view, would the GOP have to do to "engage" the Hispanic vote?

In 2002, the Pew Hispanic Center surveyed the beliefs and attitudes of Hispanic Americans on various subjects.

With the exception of Cubans, those surveyed - especially younger people - overwhelmingly identified as "Hispanic" rather than "white."

By absolutely gigantic margins, they believe that they are discriminated against in the workplace and at school.

They overwhelmingly prefer "higher taxes to support a larger government that provides more services" - by contrast to American whites, who, by an equally overwhelming margin, prefer "lower taxes and...a smaller government that provides fewer services."

So, prima facie, it would seem that to "engage" the Hispanic vote, the GOP would have to throw in the towel even more completely than it already has on "racial preferences" and "diversity" and "multiculturalism" and to endorse even higher taxes and even bigger government.

Frankly, if that's the cost of appeasing Hispanic voters, than what's the point? Why not just let the Democrats take over and be done with it?

There are, of course, a couple of issues where Hispanics are more conservative than whites. Like American blacks, they are much more anti-gay and anti-abortion than whites. So I suppose the GOP could ratchet up the rhetoric still further on those issues. I mean, since it's been so effective at winning the black vote...

JH -

No, the Hispanic vote most certainly is not "trending our way" in any sense. As Steve Sailer has shown on Vdare here, here, here, here and here, the GOP has made little if any inroads into the Hispanic vote over the last 25 years, if not longer.

Why this is so isn't too terribly difficult to understand. The vast majority of new Mexican immigrants to the US were, while they lived in Mexico, supporters of the unreconstructed Marxist PRD party, and therefore are virtually unreachable for even a mildly right-leaning centrist party such as the GOP. Someone who believes that mass nationalization of industry is a swell idea isn't someone who is likely to ever vote for a center-right party, much less a right-wing one.

As to your assertion that the immigration costs the GOP Hispanic votes in 2006, I'll just note that a seven point drop in Republican support between 2004 and 2006 was seen in virtually every major demographic, and in almost every poll, so it's to be expected that Hispanic support would also fall by seven or so percent, which it did.

Corrigendum, third paragraph:

As to your assertion that the immigration debate cost...

We are in trouble in Florida, Colorado, and Nevada right now because of the immigration deabte among hispanics.

The GOP is in trouble in these states owing to demographic trends, simply.

The GOP establishment appears indifferent to the slow hemorrhaging of the conservative base over this and related questions, leading one to suspect that they might welcome an electorate that enabled them to cater more effectively to their plutocratic constituency.

I don't think they're going to get any electorate. I think they're just being plain stupid. It's hard to believe. Plutocracy, if that is what's behind this, is just simply losing out.

I'm not sure how much of the Hispanic population can be made into Republicans, but I know one way not to acoomplish that goal is to proceed as the Republicans have proceeded.

At some point Republicans and 'conservatives' are going to have to stop living in a no immigration dream world and pick the least worst option. And Republicans are going to have to contend with people like myself who have absolutely no sympathy for the racists and nativists they cozied up with over this issue. Anyone with eyes to see can tell that the anti-immigrant wing is made up of a significant number of racists. There are reasonable steps that can be taken, but reasonable people need to start making those reasonable arguments. Militarizing our border with a people we've enjoyed peace for over 50 years and with whom we have no prospect of having war isn't a reasonable argument.

Partitioning political discourse into little sets labeled "reasonable" and "unreasonable" without providing any sort of explication as to why they should be classified as such is a hoary, cheap rhetorical slight of hand. It's quite reminiscent of 2002 when anyone who had the good sense to oppose the Mesopotamia debacle was smeared as a fool who wasn't so much incorrect as he was simply unable to understand to nature of the issue, and therefore shouldn't even receive the dignity of a response. When you have placed your opponent's position beyond the pale of consideration victory is trivial.

It's also meaningless.

Nor is the presence of so-called "racists" and "nativists" within the immigration reform movement a dispositive argument against it. The anti-Iraq War protests in 2002 were replete with a veritable smörgåsbord of lunatics - antisemites, hard leftists, terrorist sympathizers, and yet they were absolutely correct and the Establishment was dead wrong. Every faction has its share of marginalized figures and outright psychopaths; the immigration reform cause is no different.

NB: The Japanese and South Koreans would beg to differ as to whether an industrialized nation can get by while having practically no immigration, and still manage not to collapse into chaos and ruin, as our open borders fanatics would predict.

Neither is it a reasonable argument that native-born Americans should submit to the wholesale reconstruction of their economic arrangements, the alteration of the demographics and sociology of their communities, the attenuation of their political culture, the increasing stratification of American society, the displacement of their native language, the rising crime rates, the overburdening of public services, the ballooning of real-estate costs, the disfavouring of their children under affirmative action regulations, the obliteration of what remains of their culture, and, as the cherry on top, the declaration - not even an insinuation - that they are racists for finding any of this distasteful. In fact, if one wishes to find "racists" in America, all one needs to do is persist with the present immigration regime, and the deleterious consequences will create reluctant "racists". No nation-state has ever endured save upon the foundation of a relatively homogenous population, ethnically and culturally; and given the choice between an openness to the Other that entails the destruction of a settled way of life, and an exclusion of the Other that protects one's own, people will always opt for the latter - if their masters permit them.

Mr. Forrest:

I am very familiar with the views of quite a few prominent immigration restrictionists. Not one of them is opposed to *all* immigration. So what's with the phrase "no immigration dream world?"

If you have any interest at all in discussing this issue seriously, you might want to drop that kind of talk.

Full disclosure, for those not already aware: my wife is an immigrant, a Russian from the Ukraine. She immigrated legally, and hopes to be naturalized within the coming year. She earned a masters degree in engineering over there, though she now stays home with our children. So, no, not opposed to all immigration, or immigration per se.

Well, I guess I'm not really interested in discussing the matter. There's nothing really to discuss. People want a wall erected on the Mexican border, and I'm supposedly under some vast obligation to establish that the whims of the anti-immigration crowd have anything to do with Mexicans. There are 25 references to 'hispanic' on this page alone and yet to say the "anti-immigrant wing is made up of a significant number of racists" without impugning a single person here - an insult could be implied by the term sympathizer - brings out the long knives. The no immigration fantasy clearly implies a no Mexican immigration fantasy, but we must pretend to have vast ignorance over what I could possibly be referring.

So in a word, no I'm not interested in debate. I'm not interested in debated anyone who will not honestly represent their views. Maximos actually goes to the trouble of making a counter-argument and not feign ignorance on the matter, which is a credit to him.

In point of fact, there are plenty of concerns about non-hispanic immigrants coming over the Mexican border, just because it is so ludicrously porous. Just recently I read of a known smuggling ring to bring Iraqis over that border, and a couple of years ago a Middle Eastern terrorist group was negotiating with a hispanic drug gang to bring dirty bomb parts into the U.S. over that same border. We don't entirely know who in the dickens is coming over that border, because we aren't patrolling it and controlling it. We're in fact entirely non-serious about doing so. So there are plenty of args. that have nothing to do with race at all for a wall, and militarizing the border, and everything. Oh, and don't forget the exceedingly nasty drug lords who are arrogantly building roads into Arizona to bring their product in and who ran off some of our National Guardsman by an armed attack a few months ago. I don't care if they're green with purple polka dots or as white as I am. They should be stopped by force of arms if necessary.

One of the things, beyond the potential for moral status posturing, that I find so deplorable about the racism accusation is that it is so redolent of the old "disparate impact" theory of institutional racism. No one of whom I am aware is arguing that Hispanics qua Hispanics, by virtue of some phenotypical characteristics, ought to be excluded from the United States; rather, the argument is that such immigration ought to be restricted on socio-cultural/political grounds. Now, it is reasonable to surmise that an immigration policy which aimed at preserving the cultural, economic, and political cohesiveness of America would have that disparate impact upon Latin Americans, but this is racist-by-definition if and only if, say, some group or other being statistically underrepresented among lawyers is also racist. Which is to say, not really.

There is also the reality that many Latin Americans retain a sense of ethnic identity and pride - a sense that was once common to most ethnic groups, but has long since atrophied - which will, as their numbers increase and their political demands grow more strident, reawaken what now lies dormant. Connect this with the sense of grievance many Mexicans, particularly, nurse towards the US, as well as the willingness of Latin crime syndicates to cooperate with Islamic terrorists, and the argument for the militarization of the border appears quite formidable.

Mr. Forrest:

"Long knives?" It seems that you're a very sensitive fellow, so I will do my best to phrase this cautiously.

As I said before, I am very familiar with the views of quite a few prominent immigration restrictionists - for example, Mark Krikorian, David Frum, Mark Steyn, John Derbyshire, Michelle Malkin, Steve Sailer, the GNXP folks, some of my colleagues here at WWWtheW, and so on. And I am myself an immigration restrictionist - though by no means a prominent one.

And it isn't just that not one of them is opposed to all immigration - *not one of them is opposed to all Mexican immigration*, either. Nor am I.

It is a complete mystery to me why you believe that I am feigning ignorance, or not honestly representing my views, on this matter, and can only assure you that I am not.

On the other hand, I believe that most prominent immigration restrictionists would like to *aim* for the elimination of all *illegal* immigration - as a sort of regulative ideal, while recognizing that perfection is unobtainable. And they are obviously aware of the fact that most illegal immigration today is coming across the Mexican border.

So if you would like to use the phrase "no illegal immigration (most of which now comes from Mexico) dreamworld," I would take no offense.

But that phrase sort of lacks the sting of "no immigration dream world."

Look: this is a sensitive topic. There are strong feelings involved. We should try to speak precisely and dispassionately, and to avoid characterizing the positions of others in ways that they themselves would be unwilling to accept.

If you find that difficult to do, then I would suggest that you avoid paraphrase altogether. Always *quote* your opponent before offering your critique, and do your best to make your critique directly responsive to the words you quote.

This helps to avoid the impression that your knowledge of said opponent is pure hear-say.

Oh, and by the way, Mr. Forrest - I am glad that you recognize in Maximos' remarks a "counter-argument" worthy of "credit."

I'd like to associate myself with that argument, while at the same time looking forward to your reply.

I think Maximos' most recent point about disparate impact is esp. well-taken.

I must admit, though, that I think it's legitimate to take into account how "close" a person's cultural background is likely to be to that of the U.S., for purposes of evaluating assimilation difficulties and setting quotas from various countries and backgrounds. In such a hierarchy (which is what it would be), Mexico would certainly not be at the very top. So I suppose that in what I envisage there would be a certain amount of more direct "cultural discrimination," but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

One other thing: Why is okay for the GOP leaders to note Mexican cultural aspects that they think favor immigration by getting them "natural conservative voters" (which is false anyway), but it's "racist" to note other aspects (e.g., thinking it's normal for government to be corrupt) that count against permitting massive immigration from Mexico?

One other thing: Why is okay for the GOP leaders to note Mexican cultural aspects that they think favor immigration by getting them "natural conservative voters" (which is false anyway), but it's "racist" to note other aspects (e.g., thinking it's normal for government to be corrupt) that count against permitting massive immigration from Mexico?

The answer, I believe, is that the establishment has already purposed that we, the people, shall have (endure) massive immigration from Mexico; therefore, the discussion is not really a dispassionate consideration of anything so vulgar as facts or evidence, but a thrashing about for rationalizations. The "natural conservatives" hypothesis is merely the one they thought they could sell to conservatives, another version of the confidence game the GOP always plays with conservatives: promise conservatism, deliver for the plutocrats. The GOP is merely returning to its roots - its nineteenth century roots, that is.

thinking it's normal for government to be corrupt

I think its normal (as in average, the most commonly occurring state) for government to be corrupt, hence my distrust of them. What are you saying - it is normal for a government to be pure? If my choices to describe your average government during the course of human history were a government is normally pure, or a government is normally corrupt, I would have to go with the latter. I hesitate to say there are even varying degrees of corruption to significant extents. There are certainly appearances of differences - some governments are much better than others at not openly displaying their corruption, or at allowing their corruption to give away the whole game (as one professor of mine said - pigs get fed, hogs get slaughtered), but corruption seems to be the nature of the beast.

For the most part, I have no problem with reasonable immigration restrictions. But I can't help but wonder at the relatively sudden concern over Mexican immigration and call for walling off Mexico when (1) illegal immigration between the US and Mexico has been going on since there has been a US/Mexican border (sometimes the immigration going south), and (2) Canada, with a much larger, much less observed border seems to get a relatively free pass, yet the Muslim population in Canada (which allegedly gives rise to the security concern on our southern border) is far larger. I don't hear calls to wall off Canada.

It is true that there are many LULAC/MALDEF types that try to take advantage of the situation, but they no more speak for all Mexican/Latin immigrants than Al Gore speaks for all whites. Many things (such as bi-lingual education) are pushed on them by their "betters" that they don't even want (watch 30 minutes of Spanish language television and every third commercial is about an English language kit). For many, it is not so much a question of not wanting to assimilate, but that assimilation would not serve the purposes of some self-appointed identity politics baiters, and therefore the opportunity to assimilate is more difficult.

C Matt, the word "normal" was meant to indicate the idea that it's no big deal. So, for example, if a person who (in this sense) thinks government corruption is normal becomes a petty county official or a policeman, is he more likely to seek and accept bribes than a native-born American? Both might. I suspect some cultures would encourage such behavior and lead to the idea that it's "just the way things are done" and hence no biggie morally more than does the U.S. culture.

Of course those of us who want illegal immigration stopped want it stopped over the Canadian border as well. Is it happening over that border anywhere near as much as over the Mexican border? I doubt that very much. I doubt it for many reasons: You never hear of drug gangs attacking National Guard outposts along the Canadian border. You never hear of drug gangs building roads into the U.S. along the Canadian border. You never hear of hospitals along the Canadian border being nearly driven into bankruptcy by illegals using their emergency rooms as doctor's offices without paying. You never hear of large numbers of women coming from Canada illegally at nearly nine months' pregnant so that their children can be born American citizens and be "anchor babies" for the rest of the family. And when the question of deporting illegal immigrants or even enforcing our borders is raised, the people _against_ enforcement make it a hispanic issue, not a Canadian issue. Ask the amnesty folks why *they* keep talking about all the poor Mexican immigrants just seeking a better life, coming here (illegally) to "do the jobs Americans won't do," and so on and so forth, rather than about all the (say) Quebecois or other Canadians doing so.

The reason for the greater numbers from that side is pretty obvious: There's a much higher standard of living in Canada than in Mexico.

At the most general level, the concern over Mexican immigration owes to several, related factors: first, the sheer magnitude of the immigration flows, dwarfing any which have preceded them historically; second, the proximity of the country from which these people emigrate, coupled with the prospect that the flows will continue indefinitely (literally); third, the obscene-gesture-in-the-face-of-the-American-people posture of the political, economic, and cultural establishments regarding the opposition of the former to the transformation of their country. When sleepy Pennsylvania towns like Hazleton, Lancaster, York, Carlisle, and dozens more now have fully-fledged barrios, it is no cause for marveling that Americans are 'concerned.'

The ethnic-identity activists need never enter into the equation, inasmuch as the overwhelming majority of these immigrants evince scant interest in actual American citizenship as a good in itself; rather, they are economic migrants, and opportunistic ones, at that.

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