Email List

To join our e-mail list, please enter your e-mail address. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Shows

Sections

Classifieds

Directories

Contact

Opinion, Santa Monica, Government

Immigration May Turn Other Red States Blue

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist
Santa Monica Mirror Archives
Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Posted Sep. 14, 2013, 8:16 am

Tom Elias / Mirror Columnist

The Tea Party, most conservative element of today’s Republican Party, takes its name from a historic incident. But today it appears to be ignoring history, at least the recent political history of California.

For months, the Tea Party has campaigned against the “path to citizenship” portion of the immigration bill passed by the Senate in June, calling it “amnesty for illegals.” Emails from TeaParty.org urge “a full frontal assault on every member of Congress with a No Amnesty! Fax Blast.”

But as the philosopher George Santayana observed early in the last century, “Those who cannot remember history” may be condemned to repeat it.

The political history of California’s last two decades offers plenty of object lessons for Republicans, some of whose national leaders have taken heed by supporting the immigration bill.

Nowhere is a repeat of this history more likely than in Texas and Florida, two states where Republicans control both the governors' offices and the legislatures, where large numbers of Latinos already vote, but with large numbers of eligible Hispanics who have not yet bothered to register or even to become citizens.

One survey found two years ago that Texas had 920,000 U.S citizen Latinos not registered to vote and about 3 million other Hispanic residents who are eligible to become U.S. citizens but have not applied. In Florida, where elections often have been decided by very small margins over the last 15 years, the same study found 600,000 Latino U.S. citizens not registered to vote.

The large numbers of non-voting Latino citizens set those states up to follow California out of the red Republican column into Democratic blue territory. Imagine the seismic shift if Texas, the foundation for all recent GOP presidential campaigns, were to turn blue.

That’s what Republican members of Congress concerned about their own party’s future probably should remember as they decide whether or not to allow a House floor vote on the immigration bill passed by the Senate in June.

For California was once a pretty red state in presidential politics. Before 1994, Republicans carried this state in nine of 12 post-World War II national elections. But the GOP has not won here since, and the only top-of-ticket statewide victories by a Republican in that time were those of Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose movie stardom and centrist politics won him many non-GOP votes.

No one has the slightest doubt what caused this shift: the 1994 Proposition 187 and then-Gov. Pete Wilson’s vocal support for it. Within four years of that anti-illegal immigrant measure’s passage, more than 2.5 million California Latinos applied for citizenship and registered to vote, the vast majority as Democrats.

So there is no doubt about the power of the immigration issue to galvanize the previously politically lethargic among Hispanics.

Every poll of Latinos in America shows immigration as their central issue; one Latino Decisions survey found more than 65 percent of U.S. citizen Hispanics either have an undocumented immigrant family member or know one personally.

Now it is Republicans in the House who may block what would be the first federal measure since 1986 to give immigrants here without authorization a chance to acquire citizenship, even if the path would be long, convoluted and expensive. If the GOP manages to kill the bill, there’s the strong possibility a tide of Latino citizens all over the country will register and vote – against Republicans.

Yes, Republicans, especially in Texas, say it can’t and won’t happen there. Conservative Republicans said the same thing here in 1994.

Do the effects of the immigration issue endure? In last year’s presidential vote, fully 18 years post-187, California Latinos voted Democratic by an 80-20 percent margin. In the Ronald Reagan era encompassing most of the 30 years before 187, California Hispanics usually voted Democratic, too, but by far smaller margins of about 60-40 percent. That extra 20 percent of Hispanics, especially with a much larger Latino vote than previously, is one big reason California became to Democratic presidential candidates what Texas has been for Republicans – a seemingly unshakeable base.

Republicans opposing the immigration measure as a form of amnesty for people they call criminals say they can’t compromise their principles. But if they don’t bend on this issue, they may soon no longer have sufficient political clout or numbers to make a difference on any other issue they consider a matter of principle.

Post a comment

Comments

Sep. 14, 2013, 1:11:16 pm

Dave Francis said...

By violating immigration laws ILLEGAL ALIENS are awarded WITH DRIVERS LICENSES AND THAT IS ABHORRENT SITUATION, WHICH MUST BE HALTED. Any state Drivers Licenses given to illegal aliens, is giving “Feeder Document” as many private Investigators will inform you, as it’s open to even more fraud as a state ID card. They can utilize it for voting, for applying for credit or even getting a job. It is a future damnation on politicians in Sacramento showing their empathy for American workers of every skin color, religion and political standing. This is why every American should be issued with a bio-metric Social Security (ID) card. Be very clear that every citizen would be vetted and then issued the card, which could not be duplicated. When scanned would identify the individual by photo, fingerprint and even iris of the eye. That way forgery would be non-existent, voter fraud, credit theft and many other possibilities to stamp out the daily happenings of victims, caught in the net of criminals. Brown and his minions will be in desperate need of votes, illegal or otherwise so that he is enacting driver’s licenses for the millions of illegal aliens squatting there. Already the American people are furious with federal and state legislators and are authoring comments in a massive rise in “hit & runs” drunken drivers and many unable to comprehend the highway signs. This is utter incomprehension to give even more immigration violators the privilege of driving. Its another big payoff to Special interests to sell even more vehicles, buy more insurance and other business benefits? THE ROADS ARE ALREADY A QUAGMIRE OF TRAFFIC HANG-UPS, POTHOLES AND ERODED HIGHWAYS. Governors as Jerry Brown in the United States should be stripped from his office, especially when you are labeled “Moonbeam”? Not vetoing any law that awards illegal aliens who have stolen Social Security numbers from citizen babies or unsuspecting troop’s identities, who are fighting overseas so they can procure citizen jobs. Now I hear California drivers licenses are to be allowed to millions of illegal aliens. Patriotic Americans can stamp out this abuse, by speaking up and bombarding the numb brains that are running this country down the toilet. People are sick and frustrated, with politicians lining their pockets with Special Interest money. Join Numbersusa.com, americanpatrol.com judicialwatch.org, TEA PARTY.ORG and many other groups that are for the ALL THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, not for supporting another illegal immigration invasion as last time. Every day more and more visa “Overstays” and illegal aliens are skirting our laws, becoming public charges and the food stamp craziness is the highest it’s ever been. The ultimate problem the American workers have and always are the proverbial magnet of drawing people to jobs here? The agents who execute their duties is ICE, not the Border Patrol who are understaffed with only five thousand agents to check the records and whistle blower individuals who are aware of large consignments of illegal labor. Not more officers on the border, we need them to investigate business owners and putting them in prison. So much is at stake and unless we fight back, we will be killing the American dream and replacing it with a socialist liberal wilderness. Millions will vote for President Osama’s ideals, sense it offers plenty of freebies; but it just cannot continue forever. Obamacare is already forecasting the damage being done to Medicare for seniors. Giving more and more public entitlements to illegal aliens demanding citizenship, demanding more benefits and even demanding Obamacare will eventually come apart. We are the losers, the taxpayers who pay for it all? The hundreds of Billions of dollars spent on anybody who can wrangle their way through the borders or the 40 percent of foreigners who just calmly disembark from a ship or alight from a plane, without any fear of a penalty. With our own people straining to survive, it’s indecent to think Congress is supporting the illegal immigration and wanting cheap labor and cheap votes. NOT TO MANY OF THE PEOPLE WE ELECT AND TAKE THE OATH OF OFFICE, ARE QUICKLY SIDE TRACKED BY BOTH SIDES WHO ARE PUPPETS OF THE ELITE AND THE SPECIAL INTEREST LOBBYISTS. THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY TO STOP THIS TRAVESTY AND THAT PUBLIC FINANCE FOR ALL POLITICIANS, INCLUDING THE IMPERIAL PRESIDENCY? Just look at California the epitome of fiscal fornication, where the lies come so fast its almost hopeless to come up with the truth. The Myth of a California Renaissance By Stephen Frank, California Views and news at 09/12/2013 Guv. Brown is crowing about a balanced budget—but forgets the $132 billion debt/deficit—up $5 billion in a month. The Democrat leader is proud of ending the deficit, yet forgets to mention the cash deficit of California grew by almost 10% last month, by $1.5 billion. How was the $12.4 billion deficit covered? This is by stealing from Trust Funds. California is not in a recovery, it has not gotten out of the Depression—regardless of the Happy Talk. “The “wall of debt” is not $35 billion. According to the State Budget Crisis Task Force report that was issued in January, California’s debt ranges from a minimum of $167 billion to a staggering $335 billion. To close the budget deficit, Brown cut expenses, but he also just raised already-high income, sales, and gas taxes to the nation’s top levels. We won’t know the full effect of those costs on either businesses or the ongoing exodus of the more affluent for months to come.”

Sep. 15, 2013, 9:25:23 pm

Robert (Bob) Smith said...

In recent years Australia has had 50,000 Illegal Immigrant's come here Given housing, free Medical everything while 105,000 Australians are homeless. Work it out.

SM Mirror TV