AHORRO EL G.O.P.

Dick Morris argues,

PRESIDENT Bush’s immigration/amnesty proposal will probably be remembered in history as the idea that saved a political party.

By taking the lead in extending the benefits of legal protections to more than 10 million illegal immigrants now living in the United States, Bush has taken a bold and dramatic step to avert the extinction of his own party.

Until Bush acted, the grinding inevitability of demographic change was likely to doom the GOP to an early death. As America became 1 percent more Hispanic each year, the Republicans could not concede this growing group to the Democrats by 2-1 ratios without risking total annihilation down the road.

The Republicans have got to break the solid demographic phalanx that sustains the Democratic Party: Blacks, Hispanics and single white women. Together, this group cast 25 percent of votes in 1990, 32 percent in 2000 and will account for 40 percent in 2008.

But by embracing the cause of Hispanic immigrants and extending to them elemental civil rights and minimum-wage protections, Bush has struck a blow on their behalf that will resonate in their voting habits for generations to come. His legislative proposals are akin to the sponsorship of a sweeping civil-rights bill in 1963-65 by Presidents Kennedy and Johnson and will have a similar effect in binding Hispanics to the Republicans as the civil-rights legislation did in linking blacks to the Democrats.

For decades, Republicans systematically alienated Hispanics by insisting on English-only initiatives, opposing benefits for illegal immigrants and demanding an end even to free public schools for the children of those who came here illegally. These measures drove Hispanics into the waiting arms of Democrats. Bush has now acted to reverse the legacy of these initiatives and to welcome Hispanics into the GOP.

This would certainly run counter to the thesis of John Judis and Ruy Teixeira’s famous The Emerging Democratic Majority. That said, while I understand that electoral politics is always a major consideration when making domestic policy–and indeed should be in a representative system–one hopes that it isn’t the primary motivation behind such a fundamental piece of legislation.

FILED UNDER: US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. McGehee says:

    Morris is ascribing African-American-style voting behavior to a constituency that has never been that monolithic. He needs to quit snorting Desenex.

  2. James Joyner says:

    I think that’s right. On the other hand, Hispanics are a natural GOP constituency. They’re reasonably religious and conservative. If they don’t perceive the Republicans as anti-Hispanic, I think we’ll at least forestall having 2/3 of an increasingly large population sector voting for the Democrats. Even if it goes to 50/50, that would be a huge gain.

  3. Dick Morris is never right. About anything. I’m leery of quoting him even on whether or not the sun is shining.

    Plus, he’s a total slimeball. I don’t trust anyone who turns on their friends.

  4. bryan says:

    Bush is forestalling the demise of the G.O.P.? Huh? All I’ve heard is that the democratic party has been self-destructing.

    Sorry, I’m not buying. Clearly, Bush is pandering to the hispanic vote, but leaping from there to the argument that he’s staving off the vultures from the G.O.P. is laughable, especially given recent election history.

  5. James Joyner says:

    bryan,

    The argument has abeen that demographic trends–especially the explosive growth of the Hispanic population–bodes poorly for the GOP. It has already made California a virtual Democrat lock whereas only 15 years ago it was a solid Republican state.

  6. bryan says:

    James,

    who’s governor of california, again? 😉

  7. James Joyner says:

    bryan: Arnold Schwarzenegger is Republican in the sense Zell Miller is a Democrat.