Greenberg polling shows immigration's legacy will hurt GOP

David Frum has a great blog post on his National Review diary discussing some of the indications revealed by Stan Greenberg's new poll. Greenberg's research, conducted for the Democracy Project, shows that the legacy that will damage President Bush's party is not the Iraq war but its handling of the immigration issue. Frum explains:

Read the report in full, however, and you come across an interesting nugget on page 6: White young people continue to favor Republicans by a thin but real margin of 2 points. The Democrats owe their advantage among youth to a huge lead among young African-Americans (78 points) - and a very large lead (43 points) among Hispanics.

In the past, Republicans could win elections despite their unpopularity among ethnic minorities. But with the huge surge of immigration since 1980 - and especially since 2000 - the voting map of the United States has been redrawn in ways inherently deeply unfavorable to the GOP. If Republicans face an inhospitable future after 2008, we will hear much of the dreadful legacy of George W. Bush on social issues, the war, the environment, etc. But Greenberg's own work makes clear that these issues matter relatively little.

(Only 28% of young voters would respond positively to an anti-religious-right message, for example: see page 11.)

No, the legacy that will damage his party is the legacy of immigration non-enforcement. This has imported a large new community of people who are both economically struggling (and thus open to Democratic arguments) but who lack deep attachment to the American nation (and who are thus immune to the most potent of Republican appeals). It is these voters who will sway elections in future. And thanks to this president's immigration policies, there are going to be a lot more of them than there might otherwise have been.