Government & Politics

GOP 'Hell-Bent' on Helping Democrats With Immigration

With demographics problems facing Republicans, this hardly seems wise.

Apr. 29, 2014

“It’s no secret that Republicans have a demographic problem when it comes to national elections,” writes The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza. “But what many people don’t realize is that the GOP’s issues will be worse in 2020 than in 2016 – unless things change dramatically.” Cillizza isn’t exactly lamenting the GOP’s woes, but his hypothesis is worth considering.

Cillizza in turn quotes former Bush administration official Pete Wehner, who says, “It’s an undeniable empirical truth that the GOP coalition is shrinking, and it’s shrinking in the aftermath of two fairly decisive defeats, with the latter coming against a president whose policies were judged by many Americans to have been failures. Which means the Republican task isn’t simply to nominate a candidate who can fire up the base; it is to find principled conservative leaders who can win over voters who are not now voting for the GOP at the presidential level.”

Wehner is right about principled leaders, and we’d simply point to Ronald Reagan as the model. Wehner is also correct that whites are declining as a percentage of the electorate and could become a minority themselves in coming decades. Indeed, that’s why Democrats are so intent on pushing immigration reform while simultaneously making it so unpalatable that Republicans can’t accept it. That way, Democrats get an issue to champion in perpetuity because nothing gets done.

What’s puzzling is why so many in the GOP seem “hell-bent” – to borrow John Boehner’s term – on following along. Boehner has sent mixed signals at best, insisting that Barack Obama can’t be trusted to enforce whatever law is passed but also saying that he wants something done this year. Boehner has even resorted to goading his own caucus, saying, “Here’s the attitude [in the House]. ‘Ohhhh. Don’t make me do this. Ohhhh. This is too hard.’ We get elected to make choices. We get elected to solve problems and it’s remarkable to me how many of my colleagues just don’t want to.” They have very good reasons, which is why Boehner may be willing to push something to the floor without majority Republican support and depend on Democrat votes to pass it.

In the Senate, John McCain has long been a proponent of some form of amnesty, though he denies that a path to citizenship littered with penalties and fees fits the description. McCain claimed last week that the 11 million illegal aliens “living in the shadows” in America are “being abused every day.” Therefore, we should pass the “really tough” reform that’s been proposed because “if you keep these people in the shadows in this nation, it is a stain on America’s honor.”

McCain also admitted recently that his biggest mistake in his political career was running for president. He might be on to something.

It’s not clear if Boehner and McCain truly think immigration reform will improve Republican electoral prospects, but if they are under that impression they’re almost certainly mistaken. Hispanics – the largest demographic of current immigrants – tend to vote Democrat because they buy into big government philosophy. Republicans have their work cut out for them winning over voters with a message of self-reliance and Liberty, but it can be done.

That said, political gain is only a means to an end. The primary goal for Republicans – whether it’s immigration reform or any other issue – should be standing for Rule of Law.

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