Are Republicans Finally Realizing Their Immigration Problem?

Republicans are starting to talk about immigration reform, but do they really mean it?

One of the more interesting things to watch over the days since the Presidential Election is the apparent shift that we’ve seen in attitudes on the right regarding immigration. In light of the absolutely drubbing that Mitt Romney took among Latino voters, it isn’t at all surprising that we’d hear people like Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush repeating things that they’ve been saying for months regarding the party’s need to reconsider its positions on a whole host of immigration issues important to Latino voters, not just for the selfish reason of trying to attract these voters to the GOP but also because they are good for the country as a whole. What’s surprising, though, is the number of Republicans who have been relatively silent on, or even hostile to, the idea of comprehensive immigration reform saying that the GOP needs to get with the program before its too late:

After a presidential election in which Latino voters rewarded President Obama while punishing Republicans for their positions on immigration, Republican leaders and prominent conservatives moved quickly this week to shift to new ground, saying they could support some kind of legislation to fix illegal immigration.

The prospects for an immigration overhaul next year improved with stunning speed after the vote, with John A. Boehner, the speaker of the House, who had long resisted any broad immigration bill, saying on Thursday that “a comprehensive approach is long overdue.” Haley Barbour, a Republican elder statesman and former governor of Mississippi, echoed Mr. Boehner, and Sean Hannity, the conservative talk show host — in a startling turnaround — joined calls for measures opening pathways to legal status for illegal immigrants.

One of every 10 voters who cast ballots on Tuesday was a Latino, and they favored President Obama, with 71 percent of their votes, compared with 27 percent for Mitt Romney, forcing Republican leaders to wonder if they could ever regain the presidency without increasing their appeal to Hispanic Americans.

Mr. Obama wasted no time, renewing in his acceptance speech early Wednesday his promise to move “in the coming weeks and months” on “fixing our immigration system.”

A host of advocates noted that the coalition of forces supporting a thorough repair of the immigration system, including the offer of legal status for more than 11 million illegal immigrants, is broader and more organized than ever before. It includes Latino organizations, business and agricultural employers, libertarian conservatives, evangelical Christians and law enforcement groups.

“Is the Republican disconnect with the Latino community temporary or permanent?” asked the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, the largest organization of Hispanic evangelicals. “The Republicans can redeem the narrative with this community by passing comprehensive immigration reform,” Mr. Rodriguez said Thursday.

Republicans, in soul-searching after their loss, weighed the lessons from Mr. Romney’s failed campaign. Looking at polls that showed immigration was not the top subject of concern for Latinos, Mr. Romney avoided the issue when he could and instead based his appeal to them on the economic themes he used with other voters. That was a serious misunderstanding of Latino sensibilities, leaders said.

“How you talked about immigrants sent a signal on what kind of perspective you had on Latinos over all,” said Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund, a bipartisan group.


Mr. Boehner chose his words carefully on Thursday, in an interview with ABC News. Saying he was ready for a “comprehensive approach,” he said he was confident that Congress and Mr. Obama could find “common ground to take care of this issue once and for all.”

Speaking to reporters in Washington on Friday, Mr. Boehner declined to say whether he was endorsing a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

“What I’m talking about is a common-sense step-by-step approach that would secure our borders, allow us to enforce our laws and fix a broken immigration system,” he said. “But again,” he added, “on an issue this big, the president has to lead.”

Mr. Boehner’s use of the word comprehensive caused a stir, because supporters of legal status for immigrants who lack it have long called their proposal “comprehensive immigration reform.”

The most surprising comments of all, though, came not from a Republican politicians, but from one of the denizens of the conservative movement:

One day after the GOP suffered a crushing presidential defeat that spotlighted the party’s unpopularity with Latino voters, Fox News star Sean Hannity announced that his position on undocumented immigrants had “evolved” and that he now supports a pathway to citizenship. (Listen above.)

Musing on his radio show about how his party could convince Latinos to switch parties, Hannity proposed a solution:

“We’ve gotta get rid of the immigration issue altogether. It’s simple for me to fix it. I think you control the border first, you create a pathway for those people that are here, you don’t say you gotta home. And that is a position that I’ve evolved on. Because you know what–it just–it’s gotta be resolved. The majority of people here–if some people have criminal records you can send’ em home–but if people are here, law-abiding, participating, four years, their kids are born here… first secure the border, pathway to citizenship… then it’s done. But you can’t let the problem continue. It’s gotta stop.”

There’s admittedly not small degree of self-interest at work here. The election returns from Tuesday are rather clear, as is the rising influence of the Latino population in the United States. But, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. One of the way’s that representative democracy is supposed to work is by pressuring political leaders into taking action, and if fear of losing power is the way to motivate them, then it’s as good as anything else. The real point is to get the job done, which in this case means finally getting through Congress and onto the President’s desk a comprehensive package of immigration reforms that deals with issues of border security, which are clearly a legitimate concern, while at the same time recognizing the reality that something needs to be done about the people who are already here under the radar that doesn’t involve the simplistic notion that they can all be deported. We also need to make it easier for people who want to come to this country to do so, especially highly skilled people, students who graduate with STEM degrees, and, at the other end of the spectrum, the migrant workers upon whom our nation’s farming system relies for many months out of the year. If that can be accomplished by scaring the electoral crap out of enough Republicans to get a good bill through Congress, then that’s who it’s accomplished.

What I’m noticing, though, is that many of the Republicans who are calling on the party to change its stance on immigration are doing so because they are looking for a quick fix to the party’s demographic and electoral problems. You can see the same kind of a desire for a quick fix in the fascination that many on the right have with Florida Senator Marco Rubio. Having observed the Senator for two years now, I don’t think there’s any question that he’s a good politician, a very good public speaker, and that he presents an image of the Republican Party that we don’t often see. Just this week it was announced that he would be speaking at a fundraiser in Iowa next week, which set off the inevitable speculation about his Presidential ambitions. In fact, I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see Rubio throw his hat in the ring in 2016, but only if Jeb Bush decides that he doesn’t want to run. Bush and Rubio are close allies and every Florida political observer I’ve read has said that Rubio would never enter the race if Bush decided to give the Presidency a shot himself. On the other hand, if Bush doesn’t run, the odds of Rubio running will skyrocket and I’d be surprised if he didn’t run.

The problem I foresee is the fact that people on the right seem to think that all they need to do is nominate Marco Rubio and all their problems with Latino voters will be solved. While I don’t pretend to have any special insights into the Latino community, it strikes me that nothing could be further from the truth. For one thing, Rubio is Cuban-American, and it’s long been well known that there are real differences between the Cuban-American community and, say, Mexican-Americans or other Latino sub-groups. So, it’s unclear just how well Marco Rubio at the top of the ticket would be in attracting Latino voters as a whole. Second, I have to wonder how much Marco Rubio at the top of the ticket would make up for the GOP’s past positions on immigration in the mind of Latino voters. Would the 2016 Republican platform rewrite its language to remove those portions that many deemed anti-immigrant, for example? Would the party stop insisting that “the borders must be secured” before they’ll even talk about immigration reform? These are questions we don’t know the answer to, but they strike me as important. Finally, it strikes me that there’s a certain amount of tokenism in the manner in which some people on the right seem to view a Rubio candidacy in 2016. If they come across giving an impression that says “well, we put a Latino on the ticket, that should be good enough for you,” then that creates the impression that Rubio is just the GOP’s token Latino. Quite honestly, he’s far too accomplished and far too good a politician to be viewed in that manner.

It’s good to see Republicans finally starting to realize where there party has screwed up when it comes to immigration, but it’s going to take a lot more than slogans and tokenism to fix the problems that they have with the nation’s fastest growing minority group.

FILED UNDER: Borders and Immigration, Democracy, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. legion says:

    In a word: No. Here’s why:

    The most surprising comments of all, though, came not from a Republican politicians, but from one of the denizens of the conservative movement:

    Any coming shift in GOP rhetoric on immigration is just another toe dipped in the water. They want to figure out what they have to _say_ to get minorities to vote for them, but they’re totally uninterested in doing what they have to do to get minorities to vote for them. Until people in the actual party – not just talking heads like Hannity – figure out the difference, the GOP will continue sounding like the grumpy old dude on his porch, yelling at the kids to get out of his yard.

  2. john personna says:

    The funny thing is that Republicans seem to be having a public conversation, among white guys, recognizing themselves as a white group, about how to deal with Hispanics.

    I’m not sure they can ever solve the problem with that perspective. It is outreach, and not acceptance of diversity.

  3. john personna says:


    I’m sure they can pick up some votes just by saying less stupid things, and a few more by saying a few good things.

    But yes, when your self-identity is white-christian-fundamentalist there is only so far you can go. You can love a man with Hindu roots, if he’s currently a christian-fundamentalist himself, now. A current Hindu? God help us.

  4. mattb says:

    As I keep saying, Hannity, or rather his program, is the one to watch. He was on the opposite side in 2006(?) when GWB attempted reform. He’s also the most “go with the wind” of the major talking heads.

    This is a dangerous path for the Republicans and will probably highlight the differences between the National party and the local parties in individual states. That will most likely cause losses in the short term.

    But even more precarious is the fact that if the National party makes a concerted run at this and they get their legs caught off by the base (i.e. have to do a 180 and shoot down the legislation that they initially supported) it’s going to tarnish the brand for at least a decade.

    Arguably the party is already feeling the effects of the rejection of the GWB plan. To have you base reject reform twice in a decade — especially if the rhetoric is as heated and ugly as it was the last time around — is going to cement the GOP’s standing as the “Angry Whites Party.”

  5. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Do the chattering classes have amnesia?

    Back in 2005 George W. Bush (gulp) proposed a comprehensive immigration package that included a guest worker program. Mel Martinez and Mario Diaz-Balart and others were talking about center-right solutions to this issue before then. And Ronald Reagan (gulp) signed a de facto blanket amnesty bill.

    Republicans are not a homogenous population of robots who all think alike.

    The problem is that the xenophobic right, albeit very small in numbers, possesses very large, very loud microphones.

    And the non-pragmatic, anti-immigration right, again small in absolute numbers, also are in possession of loud microphones and fervent followers.

  6. superdestroyer says:

    If amensty (comprehensive immigraqtion reform) passes in the next four years, the Republicans will receive a smaller portion of the Hispanic vote than they received in 2012.
    Can any image having President Obama at an amnesty signing ceremony surrounded by liberal hispanic activities, liberal Democratic politicians, and a few children.

    Are the Republicans really stupid enough to believe that they will receive any credit for for voting for amnesty and open borders? Any Republican who votes for immigration reform is just voting for his own political extinction.

  7. Spartacus says:

    Doug wrote: “Finally, it strikes me that there’s a certain amount of tokenism in the manner in which some people on the right seem to view a Rubio candidacy in 2016.”

    Tokenism is the only form of minority outreach the GOP seems to know.

    Clarence Thomas
    J.C. Watts
    Mark Rubio
    Mia Long

    Irrespective of each of these people’s individual talents (or lack thereof), the GOP cast them into the limelight for the purpose of trying to rebut its racist reputation. It hasn’t worked and it will never work because most minorities have long understood that some of them will be hand-picked for prominent positions solely for this reason, and they fully understand that the selection of a few token minorities does not in any way mitigate the racism that is still present in a minority of GOPers and still tolerated by the overwhelming majority of GOPers.

  8. michael reynolds says:

    God bless Superdestroyer and Tsar, maybe they and people like them can get Republicans to see sense. To whit: there is no way the GOP can adapt.

    It is too late. The party is run by mental patients and imbeciles. Hell-o-o-o-o: too late. Ship condition: sailed. Lemming location: off the cliff.

    And to address James Joyner’s fantasy: no, electing Romney would not have solved the problem.

    The GOP welcomed the idiots into their party and now they are the party of idiots. Who is going to change the party’s direction? David Brooks? Ross Douthat? James Joyner? Where is this fantasy force of rational Republicans? I’ll tell you exactly where they are: in the Democratic party.

  9. michael reynolds says:


    You forgot uber-token Michael Steele. Who now works for MSNBC.

  10. Al says:

    What just about everyone else said. Until the GOP is willing to own up to the fact that they let their immigration stance be run by racists no one is going to believe that there will be any sincerity behind wanting to shift policy. It’ll be seen as damage control more than anything else.

  11. superdestroyer says:

    @michael reynolds:

    As I have said many times before, The Republicans are a minority party that will lose support if it tries to make any changes. Voting for amnesty while letting the Democrats get all the credit for passing it does not benefit the Republicans at all.

  12. superdestroyer says:


    I think the loyal Repulbican voters will sit it as selling out to the Democrats while throwing the loyal Republicans under the bus. Any Repulbican who supports amnesty is going against virtually everything that the average Republican voter supports.

  13. michael reynolds says:


    It’s not about race you cretin. It’s about racists. It’s about racist clowns like you. The GOP embraced racist clowns like you, and now they’re screwed. As a Democrat: thanks. As an American: grow old and die off.

  14. superdestroyer says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I guess screaming racist is easier than explaining how amnesty helps the middle class whites who make up the Republican Party. How has amnesty helped the middle class whites in California. Would you at least admit that one of the reasons that the total number of whites has been going down in California was the amnesty that President Reagan pushed for in the 1980’s.

    Maybe the solution would have been to enforce the immigration laws during the good times so that the U.S. did build up a massive number of illegal aliens. Maybe the issue would have been to not give set asides and quotas to Hispanics so that they would be wedded to the Democratic Party. Maybe the issue would have been to admit that Hispanics are not really conservatives as too many Republicans proclaim but are actually very loyal liberal.

    If nothing else should convince the Republicans that amnesty is a lousy idea is the fact that all of the extreme leftist are telling them that it is a good idea.

  15. Spartacus says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I considered naming Michael Steele as well, but then I recalled all his “cool brother” shtick right after he was selected and I realized he was appointed not to rebut GOP racism, but to popularize it, so I didn’t think that fit the purpose of GOP tokenism.

  16. john personna says:

    I am not responding to superdestroyer. I am asking a separate question. How do we think any person not of (north) European ancestry thinks when they read lines like this?

    I guess screaming racist is easier than explaining how amnesty helps the middle class whites who make up the Republican Party.

    Obviously here is an active and passionate member of the Republican party, who is looking for it to deliver for middle class whites. I guess if you’re not that, you look elsewhere. Even if you are white, but don’t want to be only about that, you look elsewhere.

    But he’s not alone. In the AP story “California GOP Showing Worries Party Strategists” we get this strange progression of thoughts:

    Perhaps no part of the state better illustrates how Republicans surrendered ground than in Orange County, once a largely white, GOP bastion where Nixon’s seaside home became known as the Western White House.

    Today, whites make up a little more than 40 percent of the population, while 2 in 10 residents are Asian and about 1 in 3 is Hispanic, according to the census.

    In 1980, Jimmy Carter managed to collect about a quarter of the vote against Reagan in the county. But by 1996, with the county diversifying, Bill Clinton grabbed 38 percent of the vote, and Al Gore boosted that to 40 percent in 2000. This year, Obama won 44 percent of the vote in Orange County, according to preliminary returns.

    WTF, right? The first paragraph says Republicans surrendered Orange County, and the second jumps right to racial profiles.

    That is seriously broken. It really shows that the GOP has superdestroyer’s mental block. “Orange County is less white! We can never win!”

    Why on earth should any non-white believe any outreach when “you gotta be white” is built into everything?

  17. Spartacus says:


    “I guess screaming racist is easier than explaining how amnesty helps the middle class whites who make up the Republican Party. How has amnesty helped the middle class whites in California. Would you at least admit that one of the reasons that the total number of whites has been going down in California was the amnesty that President Reagan pushed for in the 1980′s.”

    First of all, it’s important to grant citizenship to illegal immigrants who have been here for a long time because we’re not going to make them leave and we’re not going to deny their children (most of whom were born here) education or healthcare. Since they’re going to be here no matter what, then it’s in our best interest to help them assimilate and succeed. Whether that has an immediately adverse impact on the wages of white (or other races) middle class citizens is, quite frankly, not as important.

    Secondly, why is it a problem that whites make up a smaller percentage of Californians than they did 30 years ago? Is there something inherently better about white people such that a state should strive to have the largest percentage of white residents as possible? I don’t think California has any reason whatsoever to be envious of West Virginia or Kentucky.

  18. michael reynolds says:

    @john personna:

    Exactly. This is why I’ve been harping on GOP racism since I first started hanging out here. They cannot see the world through any other than a racist perspective. They simply cannot imagine that they would ever get votes from black people or brown people. This is the poison the GOP drank in 1964 and 1968 and it is still in their system. They flatly refuse to acknowledge that they’re sick, so unsurprisingly they can’t get well.

    I don’t say all Republicans are racist, but all Republicans profit from racism. Without it they cannot win national elections. Except that now, they can no longer win with it. I’d call that justice delayed, but justice nevertheless.

  19. superdestroyer says:


    In the U.S. people vote with their feet as much as they vote at the ballot box. When middle class and blue collar whites were being bussed across town for social engineering purposes, they voted with their feet and left. When states like Mass. made their taxes too high, people voted with their feet and left. When states like Michigan had economic issues, people voted with their feet and left.

    In the 1960’s and 1970’s California was seen as a great place to move to for many people in the middle class. However, as the politics and economics changed in California, it is no longer a very friendly place for middle class whites. That is why they have been leaving.

    If California becomes a state of a small group of very rich elites and a very large popuation of poor and blue collar Hispanics, it will begin to resemble Mexico. The question is why do progressives want to turn California into Mexico?

  20. michael reynolds says:


    In very white states Obama won the white vote. Interesting, no?

    Conversely, Obama won one of his highest percentages of white voters in the state with the fewest minority voters: Maine. Ninety-five percent of Maine’s voters were white, and 57 percent of them voted for Obama. That ties with one other state for the highest percent of whites voting for Obama: Massachusetts, where 86 percent of the voters are white.

    In fact, Obama won the white vote only in states with small minority voting populations. The others Obama won were Iowa (93 percent white), New Hampshire (93 percent white), Oregon (88 percent white), Connecticut (79 percent white) and Washington State (76 percent white).

  21. superdestroyer says:

    @john personna:

    As I have pointed out before, outreach by the Republicans to blacks and Hispanics is a total waste of time. It always ends in failure and embarrassment. See GW Bush trying to reach out to Hispanics. Look at the fiasco of Romney going to the NAACP, look at Romney trying to go on Univision, look at the pathetic tokenism of the Republican brain trust.

    Many Republicans understand that blacks and Hispanics are liberal out of their own self interest and there is nothing that the more conservative party can do about it. what those conservatives have realize is that there is not enough voters to sustain a conservative party in the U.S. and they have to brace for higher taxes, bigger government, more social engineering, and a general decrease in the standard of living in the U.S. Why else do you think so many Americans are pessimsitic about the future.

  22. JohnMcC says:

    Just a little fact to build this discussion on: For Cubans there is a total, unconditional amnesty that Republicans love. All a Cuban has to do is set foot on dry American soil and he has a path to citizenship. Puerto Ricans are already American citizens because of the results of the Spanish American war. Central Americans look at this and hear the anger in the voices of Mr Destroyer and ponder, briefly, then vote Democrat. Because they have a brain.

  23. superdestroyer says:


    so what you are proposing is that everyone in Central and South America should be allowed to decide, on their own, if they want to come to the U.S. and that if they cross the ponder to the U.S., they should be put on a path to cirizenship.

    Worldwide, there are over 300 million third world residents who want to come to the U.S. How many of them should be kept out?

  24. Spartacus says:


    “When middle class and blue collar whites were being bussed across town for social engineering purposes, they voted with their feet and left.”

    California had forced busing for 4 years (1978-82). Are you arguing that that 4 year period which ended 30 years ago is the reason California has a smaller percentage of whites than it did 30-40 years ago? If so, (1) what’s that got to do with immigration, and (2) you sound really dumb right now, no offense.

    More importantly, you never answered my questions, which I’ll repeat:

    Why is it a problem that whites make up a smaller percentage of Californians than they did 30 years ago? Is there something inherently better about white people such that a state should strive to have the largest percentage of white residents as possible?

  25. john personna says:

    Well, I for one love messages that aren’t just inclusive, but start from genuine open ground. For example, “to guarantee good jobs for all our children we need good schools.” Do you notice that I didn’t have to say I was white in that? Also “every local government should look at their regulations to see how they can speed and ease small businesses creation.” See again? I didn’t even say I was white.

    On and on.

    Sad that so many in the GOP don’t want their party to start there. They want to pull a super.

  26. Spartacus says:

    @michael reynolds:

    “In very white states Obama won the white vote.”

    That’s interesting, but also rather mean of you to post it. You know that the circuits in Superdestroyer’s little head are overheating right now as he tries to understand how so many white people could vote for the black guy:)

  27. superdestroyer says:

    @john personna:

    But the question is how do you define a good school and what will the school system do to have good schools. Look at how progressives have been against tracking but for busing. Even in the last decade, Democrats in places like Wake County, North Carolina or Prince Georges County Maryland have pushed for forced busing. Look at how Boston still has forced busing even when the public schools are less than 20% white.

    Also, if you look at cities like Atlanta, Baltimore, DC, Los Angeles, Chicago, etc, there is little interest in making it easier to start a new business. It is more important that the business be owned by the correct demographic group. Look at how a city like Baltimore still has miniortiy set aside contracting when the city is totally controlled by minorities.

    Of course, the other issue is that non-whites are more interested in having a nanny state, in redistribution of wealth, of minority set asides. I doubt if talking about good schools is going to off set the idea that the Democrats are huge supports of set asides, quotas, and affirmative action.

  28. john personna says:


    Again, it would be very easy to talk about good schools without talking about busing.

    It wasn’t a “progressive” who brought it to this thread. And if one did, you could attack it on ROI, as not the most efficient path to good education.

  29. Spartacus says:


    “Of course, the other issue is that non-whites are more interested in having a nanny state, in redistribution of wealth, of minority set asides.”

    But there are more white people on welfare, medicare, medicaid, social security, farm subsidies, oil subsidies, alternative energy subsidies and electric vehicle subsidies than minorities.

    You should take the time to read about places like West Virginia and Kentucky before you go on extolling the virtues of white people. Otherwise, you just sound really uninformed and racist.

  30. john personna says:

    Very good and related: Barack Obama And The Death Of Normal. I could pick a number of good paragraphs, but:

    But the country is changing. And this may be the last election in which anyone but a fool tries to play — on a national level, at least — the cards of racial exclusion, of immigrant fear, of the patronization of women and hegemony over their bodies, of self-righteous discrimination against homosexuals. Some in the Republican party and among the teabagged fringe will continue to play such losing hands for some time to come; this shit worked well in its day and distracted many from addressing any of our essential national issues. But again, if they play that weak-ass game past this point, they are fools.

  31. An Interested Party says:

    @john personna: Thank you for that link…Simon is a brilliant writer and exactly right with this essay…

  32. pierlot says:

    yes they get the drift. hispanics want to reshape america family and social and cultural choices

  33. Sejanus says:

    @superdestroyer: That’s it, after this post I can no longer believe you’re a real Republican. You had me going for a while but now I realize you’re just a Democrat trying to alienate minorities from the GOP even further. And for that I salute you.

  34. superdestroyer says:


    If you have read what I have been consistent about, it would be easy to see that I am not a Republican. Just because I think Democrats are one kind of fool does not mean that I am a Republican. The Republicans have been massively incompetent and seem totally disinterested in making any meaningful changes.

    As I have pointed out before, the future of politics is not about the Republicans because the Republicans are irrelevant. The real question for the future of politics, governance, economics, and culture is what happens when the Democratic Party is the one dominant political party. What is odd to me is how few people want to think about the future of politics while they notice everything that will prevent the Republicans from making a come back.

  35. James in LA says:

    @superdestroyer: Please answer this question posed by Sparticus:

    Why is it a problem that whites make up a smaller percentage of Californians than they did 30 years ago? Is there something inherently better about white people such that a state should strive to have the largest percentage of white residents as possible?

    If you want your theories to be taken seriously, please answer this question directly.

  36. superdestroyer says:

    @James in LA:

    Because, on average, blacks and Hispanics are poorer, less educated, and have a culture of more adverse pathologies such as crime, single mothershood, absentee fathers, and no future time orientation.

    A better question is why is it bad for California to have fewer middle class people and more poor people. How much is California willing to spend to offset the negative outcomes of black and Hispanic culture?