Friday, September 24, 2004


Rich Lowry criticizes Bush for trying to go after the Hispanic vote, but he doesn't seem to understand that, like the war on terror, its something we can't afford to lose.

Rich Lowry on Dems on National Review Online: "With its amnesty proposal at the beginning of the year, the Bush administration hoped to win more Hispanic support, but to no avail. 'The notion that you can float some sort of amnesty, and low-income, poorly educated voters come on board is fantasy,' says Gimpel, who has just authored a report for the Center for Immigration Studies on Latino voting patterns. Latinos mainly vote on the same issues as everyone else, meaning they vote like most other poor, Democratic-leaning voters. According to a Pew study, Latinos rate immigration reform 11th in terms of its importance as an issue.

Bush has been operating on a flawed theory of his own performance among Hispanics in his 1998 gubernatorial reelection in Texas. Yes, Bush did much better than Republicans usually do among Hispanics. But that is mostly because in his landslide victory many Hispanic voters stayed home, which increased the share of more-affluent, Republican-leaning Latinos in the Hispanic electorate. 'There is a big difference between increasing your share of the Hispanic vote based on low turnout and increasing it on the basis of conversion,' says Gimpel.

On a short term basis Rich Lowry is right. But on a long term basis, he is dead wrong. First, Bush wasn't going after the Hispanic vote with his proposal. He was trying to rationalize and solve an economic and demographic problem. Native Born Americans, other than Hispanics are not reproducing at a rate sufficient to replace themselves.
In the absence of immigration the imbalance of working and retired adults would be much worse than it is.

Those who complain about immigrants taking jobs are correct that they are not just taking low paying jobs. In Southern California a huge percentage of the unionized building trades are Hispanic.
So the truth is that in addition to causing problems, illegal immigration is solving problems.
Bush's proposal is an attempt to to rationalize this process and, frankly, to encourage illegal immigrants to go back to their native countries when they have finished working here.

His efforts at trying to garner a higher percentage of the Hispanic vote are an effort to deal with the coming reality and to tranform the Republican party into a party with a future. The Republican party must garner a higher percentage of the Black, Hispanic and Women's votes if it is to survive. Contrary to Lowry's implication, Bush doesn't have to gain a majority of either block to succeed. He just needs to increase the percentages. If he could increase the party identification of Blacks from 10 to 20 percent Republican, and of Hispanics to 35 percent Republican, the Republican party would be virtually guaranteed dominance.

The Democrats understand these numbers, which explains the race baiting viciousness of their tactics. Bush and the Democrats also understand the deep crevasses in the traditional Democratic coalition. On the social issues most Hispanics and Blacks agree far more with the Republican party platform than the Democrat party platform. Most Hispanics are Catholic. They are far more likely to be opposed to late term abortions and homosexual marriage than the average non Hispanic. On social issues, they are Repbulicans. If Bush can peel off an extra five or 10 percent, he can tip the balance of voting decisively to the Republican party.

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