Dreaming of a Nonwhite Conservative Base

Republicans might deny most forms of science, but after this past election, they at least recognize polling realities. The demographic trajectory of the country spells doom for the GOP in future national elections, unless they figure out a way to buck the trend and appeal to groups beyond white voters. For now, the new emerging majority strongly favors Democrats. Young voters? Check. Among voters under the age of 30, Obama won 60-37 percent. Hispanics? Voted for Obama 71-27 percent and turned out in record numbers. As South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham described his party's predicament earlier this year, “We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term.”

On Tuesday, Republicans made their most direct overture toward a moderate image of an inclusive party. Three GOP senators trotted out the Achieve Act, essentially a scaled-back version of the DREAM Act, as a peace offering. Admittedly, this is more a return to form than a new direction. Orrin Hatch and Dick Durbin introduced the original DREAM Act in 2001 as the bipartisan middle ground. And unlike that bill, the new Republican proposal would only grant a path for legal residency—not citizenship—to undocumented children who serve in the military or attend college. Still, at first glance it looks like a step in the right direction for Republicans. Just two years ago they refused to negotiate with Democrats on any version of immigration reform.

Unfortunately, however, the new proposal may be an outlier rather than a true shift for the party. The three senators behind the Achieve Act couldn't be further removed from the center of the GOP. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Jon Kyl are retiring in a month. At 76, John McCain is eyeing his legacy rather than re-election in 2016. Immigration reform has little hope of clearing the Senate unless it gains support from the Republicans who might face a primary challenge in 2014. Even then, that might not be enough. "Despite the press's love for quoting senators the actions of Senate Republicans are totally irrelevant to legislative activity," Matthew Yglesias wrote. Indeed, any legislative compromise requires the approval of John Boehner and his misfit bunch of diehard House conservatives. If the retiring senators can't even muster the courage to endorse the regular Dream Act, there's little hope that the conservatives who dominate the House will ever concede to meaningful immigration reform.

So They Say

"The fact that he brought my wife into it—I don’t think he’s ever met me, certainly he’s never met my wife. And he better hope he doesn’t. She’ll knock his head off."

—Republican Representative Peter King, responding to Grover Norquist saying Rosemary King should be worried by her husband's intention to break Norquist's pledge. 

Daily Meme: My Dinner with Romney

  • Forlorn and perennially unemployed Mitt Romney is paying a social call to the White House tomorrow, and what the two recent rivals plan to discuss is anyone's guess. 
  • It might be a bit awk after all those mean ads, and Romney's bitter post-election grumbles about Obama's gift-giving
  • Mitt is warming up for the lunch date with a pow-wow with Paul Ryan. How this will help remains to be seen, unless they do reach-across-the-aisle stretches together.
  • Obama's reason for the meet-and-greet? "He presented some ideas during the course of the campaign that I actually agree with. And so it'd be interesting to talk to him about something like that."
  • The president has a history of inviting those he's bested on the presidential stage—John McCain, the eternal thorn in Obama's side, has been over to the White House a few times since November 2008. 
  • The Bushes and Clinton also chillaxed with the opponents they crushed, Electoral College-style. 
  • Does Obama hope Romney can help him hatch some fiscal-cliff schemes?
  • Or maybe he plans to offer him a job as a White House Christmas tree trimmer?
  • To keep things less awkward, we suggest they stick to discussing whether they are on Team Edward or Jacob, and make sure they pick an Instagram filter when documenting the event that plays up their newfound friendship.
  • One question Romney should avoid at all costs? "Are these cookies store-bought?"

What We're Writing

  • Steve Erickson imagines how a meeting between Jefferson, Lincoln, and Obama would unfold.
  • Our November/December issue asks: What's the roadmap to a progressive future?


What We're Reading

  • Will lame-duck lawmakers vote however they want these final weeks?
  • John Cassidy wonders if we could have a loudmouth from New Jersey out on the trail come 2016. 
  • The Economist crushes your secessionist dreams. 
  • David Axelrod's advice for campaign success: Don't wait to buy ad time until right before the election. Everyone's already fed up with elections by then. 
  • Missouri is sick of by big outside spenders, and is waging a new legislative war against 501(c)4s. 
  • Alex Seitz-Wald gives five reasons the filibuster needs to go gently into the good night. 


Poll of the Day

Although mentioning tax raises on the rich is the closest you can get to torture for the GOP, it turns out it's a pretty popular option for avoiding the fiscal cliff for most Americans. A new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows that 60 percent of Americans support raising tax rates on incomes over $250,000. When you break down support by ideology, the reason for Republican lawmakers' reticence becomes clear: 73 percent of Democrats approve the tax raise, while only 39 percent of Republicans do.

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