Between Tony Quinn’s statement of the problem on immigration and the Republican Party, “Republicans can’t count” and John Seiler’s rebuttal, “it’s about the base” lies a riddle that can only be solved through leadership. We’re doomed either by Quinn’s chilling demographics or by Seiler’s angry grasssroots. Real leaders need to step in.
On Hispanic issues the answer is to change the mind of the base while charting a course as far as possible from mass amnesty and an immigrant welfare state. California conservatives are uniquely positioned to lead, locally and nationally. How? Through the Hispanic candidates we develop and run in the Golden State. In Part 1 I will lay the groundwork, in Part 2 we drill down to the action items.
Pew finds “the [CA] Hispanic population… the largest in the nation… [with] 14.1 million Hispanics” here. Almost 30% of all Hispanics in the USA are in the Golden State. With 5.9 million eligible voters— Hispanics are key to Republican electoral opportunities in California.
The new Pew Hispanic Center research is an important glimpse into the minds and heart of California’s demographic surge. Hispanic’s are 95% in agreement that learning English is a key to success. They are divided on whether a “Hispanic” identity is preferable to an American one.
In 2012 Hispanics were profoundly influenced (according to Newt Gingrich) by Obama’s Spanish language promotion of Obamacare; they are a demographic acutely in need of medical coverage. And they are divided on the moral issues dear to the GOP base like abortion and gay marriage. An evangelical Hispanic sub-population is in sync with social conservatives. But larger secular and Catholic sub-groups are in sync with progressive Democrats.
GOP consultants at Resurgent Republic post a visual—created for the 2012 election—that mirrors Pew but is less detailed. Their Hispanic version of the three legged stool is instructive; we’ll return to this in Part 2.
Sadly, it is difficult to recruit high quality Hispanic candidates in California under the present conditions. One important problem is that for too long, the crude anti-immigration rhetoric of citadel incumbents has inflamed the base while poisoning the well with Hispanics.
Politicians in safe, citadel Republican districts have routinely used coded anti-immigration rhetoric to appeal to a base that feels under siege. Wilson’s Prop 187 was the most cynical and damaging example of this; Wilson was re-elected and the CRP is still paying the price. While immigrant bashing helps get incumbents re-elected in racially gated districts, it is toxic for the larger CA GOP, currently on life support.
The base echoes the rhetoric from the top; political sewage flows downhill. But the base is not inherently racist or xenophobic. Far from it! Everyday conservatives welcome Hispanic Republicans and conservatives with open arms. However, the base does feel itself under siege, and rightly so.
Under siege from the radical left, not from immigrants.
It’s not the fact that they have brown skin or speak Spanish that angers the base, it’s that Hispanics have been captured by the left. The problem isn’t race, it’s politics. America has assimilated tens of millions of immigrants over hundreds of years. It’s always a bumpy road. But the utterly foreign and toxic ideology of multiculturalism and the equally foreign and toxic ideology of the massive welfare state has created an intolerable situation. This wave may not assimilate and this wave gets what many consider a free lunch, at taxpayer expense.
Flailing and demoralized, many talk of flight to Texas and some leave. But we won’t all fit in Texas. And California is the canary in the coal mine. Texas, redistricted by Republicans in 2011 may fall. The Republican lines were challenged in court and can only hold so long if citizen redistricting moves East and the Dems again game the system. If Texas goes to the Democrats what then? Should the combined Texan and Californian conservatives next U-Haul to Utah?
Equally politically idiotic is hand wringing about a “failed state.” Waiting for an inevitable collapse is lazy, immoral politics. It is by no means certain the apocalypse is coming. And if it does come, what of the millions who will suffer? Political cowards make a bad bet when they wager on collapse. So what shall we do? We need national solutions, but California conservatives are uniquely situated to lead America.
A prerequisite is to insist that citadel incumbents do not preserve their seats by bashing immigrants. To the extent possible, the Republican Party should discipline elected officials who attack immigrants offering only fantasy solutions. Principled conservatives should withdraw moral and political support, respectfully declining the endorsements of Minute Men supporters and eschewing the standard photo op at the border fence.
No longer bashing immigrants is a necessary but not sufficient prerequisite. In Part 2 we’ll talk about solutions.