As we on the Right continue to ponder how we got handily beaten by a president with a dismal record, one of the areas that are salient in our rebuilding efforts rests with Hispanic voters. About fifty thousand latinos turn eighteen every month, making this a key demographic Republicans must become competitive if we to survive as a political force. Losing Latinos to Democratic candidates 73%-24% spells certain doom for the party. This doesn't mean we sell out on our principles. Supporting full amnesty is a fool's errand. However, we may have to accept certain provisions on future immigration proposals. Provisions that create pathways to citizenship by creating benchmarks for immigrants who have served in the military, achieved a certain level of education, and don't have criminal records seems like a good starting point concerning our outreach with Latinos.
Sen. Marco Rubio's alternative Dream Act is another area where Republicans can debate whether it is sufficiently conservative, or in dire need of revision. Regardless, if we continue with our perceived anti-immigrant ways, we are destined to become a nationalized version of the Republican Party of California, which was destroyed when Prop. 187 was passed in 1994.
The bill, detailed by Nancy H. Martis of the California Journal back in 1994, goes as follows:
Proposition 187 bans illegal immigrants from public social
services, non emergency health care and public education. Various state and
local agencies would be required to report anyone suspected of being an
illegal immigrant to the state attorney general and U.S. Immigration and
Naturalization Service (INS). The attorney general would be required to
maintain records and transmit reports to INS. Manufacturing, distributing or
selling false citizenship or residence documents illegal under existing
state law would become a felony. The proposal's fiscal impact would be
felt three ways, the legislative analyst estimates. State and local
governments would realize savings from denying certain benefits and services
to persons who cannot document their citizenship or legal immigration status,
and this could amount to $200 million annually, based on INS estimates.
However, the state, local governments and schools would incur significant
costs to verify citizenship or immigration status of students, parents,
persons seeking health care services or social services, and persons who are
arrested. This could total tens of millions of dollars annually, with
first year costs considerably higher, potentially in excess of $100 million.
Finally, there would be a potential loss of federal funds up to $15
billion annually in federal money for education health and welfare programs
due to conflicts with federal requirements.
It was introduced by Republican assemblyman Dick Mountjoy and endorsed by Republican Governor Pete Wilson – which made it a key issue during his '94 re-election bid. While the bill passed, it had an overwhelming negative effect on the electorate. First, it was the death knell for Republicans concerning statewide elections. We never became competitive again, until Governor Schwarzenegger won his gubernatorial/recall bid in 2003. The bill was declared unconstitutional, and killed with legal action. The election of 1988 is still the last contest where California went Republican. An ignominious footnote since the GOP was able to carry the state in 1960, '68, '72, '76, '80, and '84.
The effects of Prop. 187 are still felt today – with the complete collapse of the two-party system in the state.
As Michael R. Blood of AP reported on Nov. 10:
Democrats hold the governorship and every other statewide office. They gained even more ground in Tuesday's elections, picking up at least three congressional seats while votes continue to be counted in two other tight races — in one upset, Democrat Raul Ruiz, a Harvard-educated physician who mobilized a district's growing swath of Hispanic voters, pushed out longtime Republican Rep. Mary Bono Mack.
The party also secured a supermajority in one, and possibly both, chambers in the Legislature.
Republican voter registration has dipped so low — less than 30 percent — that the party's future state candidates will be hobbled from the start.
Republicans searching for a new direction after Mitt Romney's defeat will inevitably examine whyPresident Barack Obama rolled up more than 70 percent of the Hispanic and Asian vote, and 9 of 10 votes among blacks, essential ingredients in his victory. Women also supported Obama over Romney nationally and in California, where they broke for the president by 27 percentage points.
There is no better place to witness how demographic shifts have shaped elections than in California, the home turf of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan that just a generation ago was a reliably Republican state in presidential contests.
A surge in immigrants transformed the state, and its voting patterns. The number of Hispanics, blacks and Asians combined has outnumbered whites since 1998 in California, and by 2020 the Hispanic population alone is expected to top that of whites. With Latinos, for example, voter surveys show they've overwhelmingly favored Democratic presidential candidates for decades. Similar shifts are taking place across the nation.
Another sign of the times:
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.
Romney "implemented a winning election strategy for 1980," University of Southern California professor Patrick James said in a statement issued by the school. "If you look at the demographics and voting proportions, the Reagan coalition would not win a majority today."
Independents now outnumber Republicans in 13 congressional districts in California, a trend analysts predict will continue.
California counted more registered Republicans in 1988 than it does today, although the population has grown by about 10 million over that time. You'd have to go back to that year to find a Republican presidential candidate who carried the state, George H.W. Bush.
Surprisingly, Democrats continued to make gains in the state even at a time of double-digit unemployment, with polls showing that voters are unhappy with Sacramento and Washington. And it could get worse for the GOP. Republicans are trailing in two other House races in which the vote counting continues.
Still, Democrats believe they have the state's demographics on their side with a message that appeals to a younger, more diverse population.
More than half the young voters in the state, ages 18 to 39, are Hispanic, according to the independent Field Poll. Thirty-five percent are Asian. If you look into a classroom in the Los Angeles area — tomorrow's voters — 3 of 4 kids are Hispanic.
We shall see how California Democrats exert their new power. If you're a mentally competent person, I wouldn't suggest taking a bet that the economic situation will improve.
While Heather MacDonald wrote in National Review that while "a March 2011 poll by Moore Information found that Republican economic policies were a stronger turn-off for Hispanic voters in California than Republican positions on illegal immigration," Califronia proves that such perceived anti-immingrant measures can lead to disastrous results.
Then again, she did touch upon our image problem with Latinos:
Twenty-nine percent of Hispanic voters were suspicious of the Republican party on class-warfare grounds — “it favors only the rich”; “Republicans are selfish and out for themselves”; “Republicans don’t represent the average person”– compared with 7 percent who objected to Republican immigration stances.
I spoke last year with John Echeveste, founder of the oldest Latino marketing firm in southern California, about Hispanic politics. “What Republicans mean by ‘family values’ and what Hispanics mean are two completely different things,” he said. “We are a very compassionate people, we care about other people and understand that government has a role to play in helping people.”
And a strong reason for that support for big government is that so many Hispanics use government programs. U.S.-born Hispanic households in California use welfare programs at twice the rate of native-born non-Hispanic households. And that is because nearly one-quarter of all Hispanics are poor in California, compared to a little over one-tenth of non-Hispanics. Nearly seven in ten poor children in the state are Hispanic, and one in three Hispanic children is poor, compared to less than one in six non-Hispanic children. One can see that disparity in classrooms across the state, which are chock full of social workers and teachers’ aides trying to boost Hispanic educational performance.
Yes, we have work to do. The fact that entitlement reform will be part of our outreach strategy makes me more optimistic we can win them over, or at least enough to win an election. Republican immigration policy needs to be smart and comprehensive. We can start by not passing anymore legislation that takes states off the table in national elections.