GOP

Notes On The GOP's Erosion In The Southwest

This analysis was originally published on election night in 2018 and has been updated for release today.

As President Trump and Beto O'Rourke hold dueling political events in El Paso today, it is worth noting just how much the Southwest - an area which for the purposes of this analysis includes AZ, CA, CO, NM, NV and TX - has eroded for the GOP since Trump was nominated in 2016.  This erosion remains one of the most significant recent developments in American politics, as it involves a large region of the country which includes our two largest states. 

As background the three states which saw the biggest movement towards the Democrats in 2016 were, in order, CA (7pts), TX (6.8pts) and AZ (5.5pts). Polling throughout the 2018 cycle showed significant weakness for Trump in the region, and the bottom fell out here on election night 2018.  In Texas, Beto O'Rourke got within 2 1/2 points of Ted Cruz, helped Dems win 2 Congressional seats and many down ballot races, and held 6 GOP reps to 51% or less (TX-10, 21, 22, 23, 24 and 31).  Kyrsten Sinema became the first Democrat to win a Senate seat in Arizona since 1988, and Dems now hold a 5-4 advantage in the AZ Congressional delegation. Democrats had very good/blowout nights in Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico, so much so that there are questions about whether these states will remain in the Presidential battleground in 2020.  Democrats picked up 12 House seats previously held by Republicans in the Southwest, including 7 in California alone, a state where the GOP didn’t even have a Senate candidate on the ballot and where voters with no party preference now outnumber Republicans in registration (and the home of the two most significant GOP Presidents in the past 50 years).  We saw intensity too.  AZ, NV and TX saw more people vote early this year than voted in all of 2014, the only 3 states to see that level of increase.  All in all it was just a huge and game changing wipeout in this region for Trump.

Trump has remained extremely unpopular in the region since November 6th. According to Morning Consult's state polling project, Trump's approval was -18, -18, and -13 in Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada in January 2019. Perhaps ever more worrisome for Rs, he was -7 in purple Arizona, and -1 in red Texas. These current ratings represent significant falls in Trump's approval even since his loss in the midterms. Compared to November 2018, his net approval today has fallen by 8 points in each of Colorado, Nevada, and Texas, and by 3 and 5 points in New Mexico and Arizona.

Over the last two years there was always this sense that while the President’s thunderous championing of white nationalist, xenophobic and anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies was hurting him in the heavily Mexican-American parts of the US, it was the key to unlock the Rustbelt and Midwest.  Given the really bad election the GOP had in the northern part of the US in 2018 that no longer appears to be true. Trump may have used the caravan to win in very red and rural places like Indiana, Missouri and Tennessee, but Democrats made significant gains in critical 2020 battlegrounds IA, MI, PA and WI. 

Trump's big play on the border appears to be a very costly failure for him and the GOP - it hasn't locked up the industrial north as they hoped, it has caused what I believe to be a structural shift against Republicans in a big region of the country and his overall poll numbers are far below where he was on his dismal election night in 2018.  Recall that as recently as 2004 Bush won AZ, CO, NM and NV and Senator Kerry didn't even contest CO that year.  Trump has accelerated the movement of the heavily Mexican-American part of the US from lean R to deep blue and purple now.  If CO, NM and NV are now gone for Republicans, and Arizona and Texas have become true 2020 battlegrounds, the political costs to the GOP of Trump's Presidency will have been significant. 

Related Writings:

Backlash To Trumpism Brewing In The Border Region - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 5/7/18 - There is a growing body of evidence Trumpism is hurting the GOP brand in the border region. Big implications for 2018, 2020 too. 

Trump Is Right To Be Worried About Arizona (And Texas Too) - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 8/21/17 - It is instructive that some of the most powerful opposition to Trump's agenda is coming from Arizona. He is right to be worried about it.

The GOP Should Be Worried About Texas - Simon Rosenberg, U.S. News & World Report, 10/27/16 - Texas has a higher percentage of both millennials and Hispanics today than California, suggesting that with a significant investment in the coming years Texas could indeed follow California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and now Arizona from red to blue.

Monday Musings: Can Anyone Stop Trump? Dems Wake Up To A Competitive Race

New WSJ/NBC/Marist Polls – New polls released yesterday give us a fresh look at where things stand three weeks before Iowa.

The GOP - For the GOP, there is really only one question now – can anyone stop Trump? Trump has big leads in all the early states except Iowa, so the cold reality is if Trump wins Iowa it is really hard to see how he doesn’t run away with the election regardless of who finishes third or fourth in New Hampshire. And on that front, the two big attacks on Cruz now – questions about his eligibility to be President, and a very sustained campaign against him in Iowa by Ethanol backers (as a Texan and oil/gas man he has taken an aggressive anti-Ethanol stance in Congress) – appear to be making a difference in Iowa. The NBC poll mirrors other recent polls, finding the race tightening up, with Cruz 28 Trump 24. Again, if someone does not beat Trump in Iowa, just hard to see how he doesn’t run away with the nomination given where things stand today.

All of this makes the next two GOP debates – on 1/14 and 1/28 – very consequential.

The Democrats – The NBC polls found what many believed had taken place over the past few weeks – Iowa has tightened up. The NBC polls found Iowa at Clinton 48 and Sanders 45, New Hampshire Sanders 50 Clinton 46. At this point anything is possible in these states, including Sanders winning both. For Clinton Iowa really becomes a must win now, as – and it must be said – Sanders, with ample resources and a surprisingly capable campaign, has become a real threat to win the nomination. The Democrats only have one more debate before Iowa and New Hampshire. It is this Sunday night on NBC News, and will be an important one too.

So, remarkably, with three weeks to go before Iowa, three staunchly anti-establishment candidates – Trump, Sanders and Cruz – seemed poised to make a serious run at winning their nominations. Remarkable indeed.

Yes We Can! Obama's Final State of the Union Address - Barack Obama will address the nation as President for perhaps the last time tomorrow night in what will be an important scene setting speech for the coming 2016 debate. Early press reports indicate he will focus on the progress made by the nation over his Presidency, an idea we explored in our recent end of year message. One thing I will be looking for is how much a clear articulation of what a well run government can do, and the positive changes it can manifestly make in the lives of our people, will be able to be used by other Democrats to challenge the all government is bad argument of the post Reagan GOP this cycle. 

The GOP’s descent into a reactionary mess – What exactly is going on inside the GOP? I return to a long form magazine article I wrote a few years ago which anticipated the rise of a reactionary candidate like Donald Trump. An excerpt:

.....There can be little doubt that despite the remarkable progress made over the past generation across the globe, there are significant challenges remaining: tackling climate change, improving the way we provide skills to our workers and students in a more competitive global economy; state capitalism as seen in China and Russia and other nations; and a still unstable Middle East and Islamic world just to name a view.

But while significant challenges remain, there can be little doubt that humankind is going through perhaps it’s most remarkable and productive period in all of our history. More people can do, contribute, and participate meaningfully in the life of their communities and nations than ever before. What lies before us may be indeed a dark time, but my own sense is that we also may be entering – if we get things right – an unprecedented age of possibility for the people of the world.

While this age holds great promise it has proven to be profoundly unsettling to the great architect of this age, the United States. In the past decade and a half we have seen a President impeached; a contested Presidential election settled along partisan lines; high levels of electoral volatility; twelve years of no wage and income growth for American workers; dangerous levels of inequality; reckless foreign engagements which cost the nation extraordinary sums of money, global prestige and human capital; a Great Recession; a financial collapse; a burst housing bubble and one of the most devastating attacks ever on American soil. It is hard to argue that America’s response to this first decade or so of this new century has been successful abroad or at home.

Additionally, these great global changes have manifested themselves in very particular ways in American society, which has magnified the sense of rapid and even unsettling change which is so much a condition of modern life across the world. As perhaps the most technologically advanced nation on Earth, the transformation of our economy from industrial to digital has been perhaps more profound here than just about anywhere else. One very direct impact of this has been the incredible speed in which remnants of the industrial age – companies, skills and schools, well known consumer brands, broadcast media – have been rendered obsolete and not yet fully replaced by their digital analogs.

But perhaps most profound of these uniquely American changes is the way our people have changed. Our demographic and racial history – the triumph of Europeans over Native Americans, and the subjugation of African slaves – is well known. It produced a society dramatically unequal, where an overwhelming majority oppressed powerless minorities. Any student of American history knows how significant the struggle over equality and racial integration has been, and by the early 1960s American had become a nation ninety percent of white European descent and about ten percent black and everything else. But this demographic and racial trajectory set on a very different course in the 1960s. The Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s finally ended institutional segregation in America. And one of the most important piece of legislation ever passed in America that no one has ever heard of – the immigration act of 1965 – had the effect of changing America’s immigration targets from white Europeans to Asians and Latin Americans.

The net impact of both these changes is the most profound demographic and racial transformation of the people living on this land called America since the arrival of the Europeans in the late 15th century. In the past 47 years, fueled by high levels of non-white immigration, America has gone from a 90 percent white/10 percent minority nation to one 65 percent white and 35 percent people of color. Current estimates have the nation becoming majority non-white in 2040. Of course the central driver of this change is an historic wave of immigration from Mexico and Latin America into the US. In 1965 there were 3 million Latinos in the US. Today there are 45 million Latinos 15 percent of the US population, a group is they were their own country would be the second largest Latin country in the Americas (if we exempt Iberian Brazil). There are now more Latinos in the US than African Americans, and people of Mexican descent make up a full ten percent – one out of ten – of the people who live in the US today. This figure is expected to double by that magic crossover point in 2040, with Latinos making up fully 30 percent of the US population, or almost a third.

Additionally, the great baby boom generation, for so long the dominant driver of American culture, is aging, and yielding to a new generation, made up largely of their children, the Millennials. This generation is the largest generation in US history and is beginning to enter the American electorate in very large numbers. Its members have grown up in the world I have described – more global, more connected, more competitive more diverse and have had very direct experience the inadequate response offered by American leaders in the past decade. America has in essence its own “youth bulge” and how this generation swings politically might just determine which party reigns for the next 30-40 years and much else about American culture. By any measure – our own youth bulge and this historic transition to a non-white America - is an extraordinary level of demographic and socio-economic change, one which should be expected to roil the traditional politics of a nation.

It is the premise of this essay that American politics in 2012 can be best understood by examining the reaction of political parties, ideological movements and elected leaders to the vast changes – demographic, economic, geopolitical – roiling the world today......

Read on.  It all still rings very true a few years deeper into these profound changes. 

Monday Musings" is a new column looking at the national political landscape published most Mondays here on the NDN site.  You find previous columns here.

Millennials Still Supporting Obama's Re-election

Millennials (born 1982-2003) were crucial to Barack Obama’s 2008 election.  Other than the state of the economy, the most pivotal factor in determining the outcome of the 2012 general election is likely to be whether or not America’s youngest voters repeat their 2008 electoral performance in 2012.  

In November 2008, Millennials comprised about 17% of the electorate and voted overwhelmingly for Barack Obama over John McCain (66% to 32%). With older generations dividing their votes almost evenly between the two candidates, Millennials accounted for about 80% of Obama’s national popular vote margin over McCain, turning what would have been a narrow  win into a decisive seven-point victory.

So far, the data suggests Millennials are poised to support Barack Obama at the same level this year that they did four years ago. In a recent Pew survey, Millennials preferred Obama over Mitt Romney, the likely Republican nominee, by a 62% to 36% margin.   But this year, Millennials make up 24% of those eligible to vote. Coupled with its partisan unity in comparison with older voters, the sheer size of the Millennial Generation, America’s largest ever, could make its impact even more decisive in 2012 than in 2008.

Whether Millennials have that kind of impact depends on what the two parties do to attract their votes.  For Republicans, the best approach is to connect with Millennials before they are solidly in the Democratic camp for the next three or four decades. A few Millennial Republicans such as John McCain’s daughter, Meghan,  and Kristen Soltis, a GOP pollster,  have argued that their party should moderate its stance on social issues and immigration in order to have greater appeal to their highly tolerant and diverse generation. So far, however, the GOP presidential field has attracted relatively little Millennial support; through Super Tuesday the Republican frontrunners (Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul) combined had received less than half the Millennial votes that Barack Obama did in 2008.   Perhaps the lack of Millennial interest in the GOP candidates explains why Republicans in at least half of the states are more focused on limiting Millennial voting turnout than in actively courting the generation’s support 

For Democrats, the concern is not so much the partisanship of Millennials, but their engagement. One way to reinforce Millennials’ Democratic leanings is to remind them of their stake in the election by emphasizing the Millennial-friendly policies the Obama administration has pursued. Help with the cost of attending college, funding more national service opportunities, and permitting young people to remain on their parent’s health insurance until age 26 are all initiatives the Obama team could raise with Millennials.  Already that campaign is gearing up online and offline organizational efforts to bring Millennials to the polls in November that exceed the technological sophistication of its very successful efforts in 2008. 

If Millennials vote in numbers proportionate to their presence among eligible voters, their continued support of the president should allow him to overcome any attrition he suffers among older voters. But if large numbers of Millennials do not vote, the president’s reelection chances will be sharply reduced. Whichever alternative occurs will very likely determine whether Barack Obama or his eventual Republican opponent is inaugurated as president on January 20, 2013. 

GOP Turns Attention to Latino, Millennial Voters

Since our inception, NDN has been making the case that Latino and Millennial votes are critical and often deciding factors in down-ballot races across the country.  More recently, Simon has argued both that the GOP faces a long road back to a place of prominence and power - one that will necessitate reaching out to these important constituencies, and that Democrats cannot take the New Democratic Coalition, specifically Latinos and Millennials, for granted. 

Both narratives seem to be surfacing widely in the last two weeks.  The GOP knows they have a demographic challenge.  Now the question is: what will they do about it?   

Peter Slevin at The Washington Post takes a look at Republican's necessary strategic shift: focusing on Latinos, examining what Bush did right, and taking stock of where things are going and have gone wrong.  Embedded in the piece is this gem:

"The numbers don't lie," said Whit Ayres, a GOP consultant. "If Republicans don't do better among Hispanics, we're not going to be talking about how to get Florida back in the Republican column, we're going to be talking about how not to lose Texas."

 

Peter Wallsten over at The Wall Street Journal has a piece that echoes many of the same sentiments but takes the strategic overview and breaks it down into the GOP's current tactics: toning down anti-immigrant rhetoric, and courting Latino GOP candidates. From Wallsten's piece:

[M]any in the party have concluded that opposition to immigration legislation, a debate that is sometimes racially charged, has alienated millions of otherwise conservative Hispanic voters...

Former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie, who is coordinating some of the party's internal discussions, called the tandem effect of rising Hispanic population and dwindling Republican support an "untenable delta."

Then for the generational question, Kristen Soltis at Daily Caller and E.J. Dionne at The Washington Post tackle the latest Pew Research numbers on Millennial voters.

Soltis argues that the numbers show promise for the GOP, but only if the GOP is ready to invest in young voters.  From The Daily Caller:

[A] major study released by the Pew Research Center this week tells a story a year later that will have Republicans breathing a sigh of relief, thankful that young voters have “snapped out of it.” These voters, the Pew report says, are less enthused than in 2008 and have seen a major decline in job approval for President Obama. There are surely some old-school campaign veterans on the right declaring that they knew it all along: the Obama wave was a one-hit wonder.

But don’t break out the champagne just yet.

What Republicans should take from the change in political attitudes among young voters isn’t a sign of victory but rather one of opportunity, a precious second chance to bring young voters into the fold. Young voters once smitten with Obama and his party are now up for grabs, but it will take real effort to change some critical beliefs that can convert Generation O into Generation GOP.

And Dionne issues a similar wake-up call to Democrats

Democrats face disaster this fall and real problems in 2012 if the Millennials become disaffected from politics and if the Republicans continue to erode the Democrats' generational edge.

And what will Democrats do about it? Politicians have a bad habit in midterm elections: They concentrate on older folks, assuming younger voters will stay home on Election Day. This may be rational most of the time, but it is a foolish bet for Democrats and liberals this year. The young helped them rise to power and can just as easily usher them to early retirements. Obama cannot afford to break their hearts.

Part of what we can watch for in the coming months is how both parties engage these important segments of the electorate. This year's outreach efforts will let us know whether Republicans are willing to take the first steps down that long road back, and if Democrats know that they cannot take for granted members of the very coalition that put them back in power.

Bush Advisor Pleads WIth the GOP to Embrace Immigration Reform

Michael Gerson revisits one of our favorite subjects today on the op-ed page of the Washington Post:

Now hearings are beginning on another immigration reform bill, with a legislative debate likely to ripen in 2010. For Democrats -- pledged to comprehensive reform but weighing union opposition to a temporary-worker program -- the immigration debate will be difficult. For Republicans, it may be an invitation to political suicide.

Some conservatives dismiss electoral considerations as soiled and cynical. They will make their case, even if that means sacrificing Florida, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and . . . Indiana. Yes, Indiana, which had supported Republican presidential candidates for 40 years before Obama captured it on the strength of Hispanic votes. This is a good definition of extremism -- the assumption that irrelevance is evidence of integrity. In fact, it is a moral achievement of democracy that it eventually forces political parties to appeal to minorities and outsiders instead of demonizing them. The scramble for votes, in the long run, requires inclusion.

By 2030, the Latino share of the vote in America is likely to double. Some Republicans seem to be calculating that this influence can be countered by running up their percentage of support among white voters. But this is not eventually realistic, because non-college-educated whites are declining as a portion of the electorate. And it is disturbing in any case to set the goal of a whiter Republican Party. This approach would not only shrink the party, it would split it. Catholics and evangelicals, who have been central to the Republican coalition, cannot ultimately accept a message of resentment against foreigners. Their faith will not allow it.

In considering illegal immigration, many talk appropriately about the rule of law. But there is also the imago dei -- the shared image of God -- that does not permit individual worth and dignity to be sorted by national origin. This commitment does not translate simplistically into open borders and amnesty. It does mean, however, that immigrants should not be used as objects of organized anger or singled out for prejudice and harm. If Republicans head down this dreary path, many could no longer follow.

Which is why the departure of Martinez is unfortunate. Most elected Republicans bring serious arguments and good motives to the immigration debate. Fewer leaders, however, are willing to confront the extremists in their midst. And now one more of those principled leaders is gone.

I offered my own thoughts on the Martinez departure in this recent essay.   And of course we agree with Gerson - it is time for the GOP to sue for peace with the Latino community, and there is no better way for them to work closely with the Democrats to pass CIR next year.

Chairman Steele Confronts His Party's Intolerant Past.....and Present

For the last few years I've written a great deal about how I believed that there was no way to understand the recent conservative ascendancy in American politics without understanding that at its core was an ugly intolerance, a sustained and strategic exploitation of racial fear, a divisive politics which became known as the Southern Strategy.  I discussed this idea at length in a recent video essay called The Politics of Intolerance. 

I have also argued that for the modern GOP to have a fighting chance at appealing to the more racially diverse America of the 21st century, it would have to do more than adapt to the new demographic realities of our country.  The new leaders of the GOP would have to acknowledge and repudiate the ugly intolerance at the core of the Southern Strategy.  It is also something that I have never been terribly optimistic that would happen, certainly not in the next few years.

Which is why I found this passage from a NY Times blog, reviewing an interview with RNC Chairman Michael Steele, so interesting:

During this interview, Wolf Blitzer, the CNN host, confronted Mr. Steele with the composition of the Republican House and Senate — displaying the nearly all-white makeup on the G.O.P. side against the polyglot of the Democrats during the joint session of Congress which Mr. Obama addressed. (The setting where Congressman Wilson uttered his outburst.)

Mr. Steele acknowledged the racial divide between the parties: “I’ll accept the indictment. I’ll accept it, you know. And I — and I know we’ve got to change. And our party has, for over a generation, employed a strategy that right now we wish — many of us wish we never had."

"Many of us wish we never had."  Wow.  All of us need to hear more about this from Michael Steele in the days ahead.  What exactly does this mean, Chairman Steele? That you have regret over Willie Horton, the demonization of Hispanics, the caricatures of the Welfare Queen, of systemic voter suppression and so much more?

There are many reasons we helped launch this new campaign, Drop Dobbs, these past few days.  But chief among them is the desire to continue to liberate America from the destructive racial politics of the Southern Strategy era of American politics, an era which Lou Dobbs seems to be relentlessly unwilling to let go of.   This statement by Michael Steele gives me hope that the once proud party of Lincoln can once again embrace its heritage and help us confront - and then move beyond - the modern GOP's shameful Southern Strategy brand of politics.

The Politics of Intolerance - A Video Essay

I've been thinking a lot these last few weeks about Glenn Beck, assault weapons at Presidential forums, Lou Dobbs, nullification, Rep. Joe Wilson, the re-emergence of FAIR and other hate groups, the Southern Strategy and the conservative movement's descent into a reactionary, incoherent nihilism.

I attempted to put some thoughts together into a video essay this afternoon.  Not sure I totally nailed it but check it out and let me know what you think:

More on Rep. Joe Wilson and the Politics of Intolerance

From Dave Neiwert:

Looking into the background of Rep. Joe Wilson, R-South Carolina, after his heckling of President Obama last night, I came across this:

Joe also has been a member of the Columbia World Affairs Council, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Sinclair Lodge 154, Jamil Temple, Woodmen of the World, Sons of Confederate Veterans, ....

This is an organization that, as the SPLC has detailed assiduously, has been taken over in the past decade by radical neo-Confederates who favor secession and defend slavery as a benign institution. Leading the takeover is a radical racist named Kirk Lyons, who's been an important legal figure on the far right for some years.* [More below]

In more recent years, the takeover has led to an outright internal civil war. Andrew Meacham at the St. Petersburg Times detailed the internal rift last year:

Experts say the divisions within the Sons vary between two extremes. On one side are the traditionalists, members who focus on cleaning up Confederate grave sites and conducting Civil War re-enactments.

On the other side are the so-called Lunatics, up to 2,000 members who deride traditionalists as "grannies'' and belong to camps named after notorious Southern figures such as John Wilkes Booth and Jesse James.

John Wilkes Booth members have been known to put pennies in urinals, making sure to leave the Lincoln side face-up. Other Lunatic groups have removed the U.S. flag from their halls and banned the Pledge of Allegiance, says Walter Hilderman, who several years ago created an anti-Lunatic group called Save the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

"The problem is it's supposed to be a patriotic organization," says Hilderman, 59. "You are either that or you let guys in who want to secede."

As Heidi Beirich at the SPLC reported, this rift has led to Lyons himself coming under harsh attack from his own right flank. The SCV is a serious mess.

Now, add this to the fact that Joe Wilson, as a state legislator, was one of only seven Republicans to go against their own party and vote to keep the Dixie Rebel flag flying over the South Carolina capitol:

The flag came down that year after Republicans in both houses went for a compromise that would put it on Statehouse grounds at the Confederate Soldier’s monument. The “Magnificent Seven” of Senators who voted to keep the flag up included current Congressman Joe Wilson (who I served with in the 218th Infantry Brigade of the National Guard.)

A clearer picture of why this congressman might so virulently breach protocol and loudly interrupt an African-American president's speech to Congress by calling him a liar does start to emerge, doesn't it?

Our nation, and its people, will be digging out from the logic and very real political impact of the reign of the Southern Strategy for years and years to come. 

I wrote a little about Joe and what made him so mad last night.  Dan did a very good post earlier today showing why what Joe believes about undocumented immigrants and health care is not so true.

Patadas de Ahogados - Los Republicanos Ven la Tempestad y No Se Hincan

 

Hoy surgió una serie de artículos que resaltan la condición tan peligrosa en la que se encuentra el partido Republicano.  El partido se encuentra sin una agenda de políticas públicas clara, sin propuestas específicas para resolver los problemas más agravantes, mientras que al mismo tiempo ahuyenta cada vez más sectores de la población con su retórica alarmante y a menudo ofensiva.  En Tejas, el Dallas Morning News comenta sobre la elección a Gobernador del estado y estipula que si Kay Bailey-Hutchinson piensa tener alguna probabilidad de ganar la elección, tendrá que ampliar el partido.  Siendo que Rick Perry disfruta de mayor apoyo entre la base Republicana, Kay Bailey tendrá que acudir a los grupos y demográficas que se encuentran fuera de su base – principalmente los Hispanos/Latinos.  Lástima que se paso casi un año entero en el 2007 presentando enmiendas que lograron derrumbar un acuerdo para reforma migratoria – tema que le importa a muchos Tejanos ciudadanos con familia inmigrante. 

En Oklahoma, Ponca City News escribe, “La renuncia del Senador Mel Martínez de Florida cierra el último capítulo en el esfuerzo de la última década por parte del partido Republicano para ganarse a más votantes Hispanos.” Es decir, el partido falló, y hasta le falló a uno de los suyos.  Martínez se va, desilusionado con el comportamiento y la retórica de su partido, dejando a los Republicanos sin un solo Senador Hispano, y con sólo tres cubano-americanos en la Cámara Baja.  Simon también ha escrito sobre lo que la renuncia de Martínez y la llegada de Sotomayor significa en términos del voto Hispano para los Republicanos.

Por último, un artículo en el Wall Street Journal sobre el Censo (y lo que implicará a la hora de redistribuir escaños en el Congreso en base al conteo de personas) alude al tipo de campaña anti-inmigrante y anti-Hispana que podemos esperar de los xenofóbicos y conservadores en el 2010.  Por ejemplo, conforme a cálculos del Censo, se espera que Tejas obtenga 4 escaños más de representación en la Cámara baja.  Este crecimiento se debe en gran parte a los hispanos, ya que aproximadamente 60% del crecimiento en el estado ocurrió en la comunidad Hispana.  Siendo que en estos momentos la mayoría de hispanos se alinean con el partido Demócrata, los Republicanos le temen a que esta demografía sea contada en el Censo.  Asi que a ambos partidos: OJO, mucho ojo, para ser un partido viable en el siglo 21, ya no se vale insultar y distanciarse de la “minoría” más grande en este país. 

 

The Coming Battle Over the Census

For many months now NDN has been making the case that inevitably the right would make a spirited case to prevent the Census, to be conducted next year, from counting undocumented immigrants, or at least using their numbers to influence reapportionment or the allocation of resources by the government (the primary purpose of the every ten year count).

Today the Wall Street Journal is running a well-articulated early salvo in this coming battle by John S. Baker and Elliot Stonecipher.  It starts off: 

Next year’s census will determine the apportionment of House members and Electoral College votes for each state. To accomplish these vital constitutional purposes, the enumeration should count only citizens and persons who are legal, permanent residents. But it won’t.

Instead, the U.S. Census Bureau is set to count all persons physically present in the country—including large numbers who are here illegally. The result will unconstitutionally increase the number of representatives in some states and deprive some other states of their rightful political representation. Citizens of “loser” states should be outraged. Yet few are even aware of what’s going on.

In 1790, the first Census Act provided that the enumeration of that year would count “inhabitants” and “distinguish” various subgroups by age, sex, status as free persons, etc. Inhabitant was a term with a well-defined meaning that encompassed, as the Oxford English Dictionary expressed it, one who “is a bona fide member of a State, subject to all the requisitions of its laws, and entitled to all the privileges which they confer.”

Thus early census questionnaires generally asked a question that got at the issue of citizenship or permanent resident status, e.g., “what state or foreign country were you born in?” or whether an individual who said he was foreign-born was naturalized. Over the years, however, Congress and the Census Bureau have added inquiries that have little or nothing to do with census’s constitutional purpose.

By 1980 there were two census forms. The shorter form went to every person physically present in the country and was used to establish congressional apportionment. It had no question pertaining to an individual’s citizenship or legal status as a resident. The longer form gathered various kinds of socioeconomic information including citizenship status, but it went only to a sample of U.S. households. That pattern was repeated for the 1990 and 2000 censuses.

The 2010 census will use only the short form. The long form has been replaced by the Census Bureau’s ongoing American Community Survey. Dr. Elizabeth Grieco, chief of the Census Bureau’s Immigration Statistics Staff, told us in a recent interview that the 2010 census short form does not ask about citizenship because “Congress has not asked us to do that.”

Because the census (since at least 1980) has not distinguished citizens and permanent, legal residents from individuals here illegally, the basis for apportionment of House seats has been skewed. According to the Census Bureau’s latest American Community Survey data (2007), states with a significant net gain in population by inclusion of noncitizens include Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New York and Texas. (There are tiny net gains for Hawaii and Massachusetts.)

This makes a real difference. Here’s why:

According to the latest American Community Survey, California has 5,622,422 noncitizens in its population of 36,264,467. Based on our round-number projection of a decade-end population in that state of 37,000,000 (including 5,750,000 noncitizens), California would have 57 members in the newly reapportioned U.S. House of Representatives.

However, with noncitizens not included for purposes of reapportionment, California would have 48 House seats (based on an estimated 308 million total population in 2010 with 283 million citizens, or 650,000 citizens per House seat). Using a similar projection, Texas would have 38 House members with noncitizens included. With only citizens counted, it would be entitled to 34 members.

You get the idea. 

We've been arguing, aggressively, that it is important for the Obama Administration to pass Compehensive Immigration Reform by March of 2010 (the count begins in April, 2010) in order to avoid what could become a very nasty debate indeed - in the middle of a very important election - about who exactly is an American.   To me the need to conduct a clean and accurate census, so essential to effective governance of the nation, is one of the most powerful reasons why immigration reform cannot wait till 2011, as some have suggested.

For more on this see my recent essay - Why Congress Should Pass Immigration Reform This Year.

And so the debate begins.

Update: The key passage from the 14th Amendment:

Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State.

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