Marco Rubio Can't Save the GOP

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The rapid rise of Florida Senator Marco Rubio makes one thing clear about the Republican Party: They’ve convinced themselves that outreach (or the lack thereof) is their issue with Latinos. Solve the communications problem—with gentler language and high-status Hispanic politicians—and you’ll solve the electoral problem. It’s why Fox News CEO Roger Ailes has committed himself to making the network more friendly to Latino voters—an abrupt shift for a place that refers to immigrants as “illegal aliens”—and why Rubio will give his State of the Union response in English and Spanish.

None of this is bad. The GOP’s new push to win Latino voters includes growing support for comprehensive immigration reform, which will be a huge humanitarian boon to millions of undocumented immigrants if it’s passed. But Republicans are fooling themselves if they think this will fix their problem with Latino voters or if they think immigration is the beginning and end of the issue.

The Democratic advantage with Hispanics didn’t begin with President Obama—it goes back as far as the 1980 election, when Jimmy Carter won 56 percent of Latinos even as he suffered a landslide loss to Ronald Reagan. Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis repeated the performance in 1984 and 1988, respectively. Mondale won 66 percent of Latinos—despite his landslide loss to Ronald Reagan—and Michael Dukakis finished with 70-percent support. On average, from 1980 to 2004, Democratic presidential candidates finished with more than 60-percent support from Hispanic voters. Obama overperformed the average, but not by much.

It’s not hard to discern the reason for this Democratic advantage: Across generations, self-identified Latino voters are more liberal than their white counterparts. The most recent poll from the Pew Research Hispanic Center is illuminating. First-generation Hispanics support “big government” by an 81 percent to 12 percent margin, followed by second-generation Latinos (72–22) and third generation ones (58–36). Overall, 75 percent of Hispanics say they support bigger government with more services, compared with 41 percent of the general population. Fifty-one percent say abortion should be legal, and 59 percent say “homosexuality should be accepted by society.”

Compare this to the actual rhetoric of Rubio and other Latino Republicans. Immigration aside, the Florida senator’s sympathies lie with Tea Party-type Republicans. He voted against the GOP’s recent measure to raise the debt ceiling through May, he voted for—and still supports—a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, he signed Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge, and he signed on to Missouri Senator Roy Blunt’s bill that would give employers the right to deny birth-control coverage to their employees for reasons of “conscience.” Texas Senator Ted Cruz is even worse—his short tenure has been defined by aggressive attacks on the administration, rooted in extreme right-wing ideology.

If comprehensive immigration includes a path to citizenship, the most likely political outcome is a large new group of Democratic voters in states—like Arizona and Texas—that are critical to the GOP’s national aspirations. Bringing these voters into the national mainstream is vital work, but it won’t do much to benefit the Republican Party. According to Latino Decisions, just 31 percent of Hispanics say they would be more likely to support Republicans if they took a lead role in immigration reform—that’s no guarantee of anything.

Put another way, Latinos might be proud of having their own in the Senate, but pan-ethnic pride isn’t a substitute for substantive representation. So far, the GOP is lacking.

Comments

Yes, Republicans are fooling themselves if they expect that supporting amnesty will help with Latinos. Republicans can better serve themselves and the country by sticking to and making their best case for conservative principles, in this case opposing amnesty and attempting to conserve the Founders’ principle of “a government of laws and not of men”--or as we call it today, “the rule of law.”

As stated in Mission Viejo’s Rule of Law Resolution: “The American political tradition and its underlying religious tradition hold that each of us has a serious moral obligation to obey the law. Our nation’s Founders and statesmen insisted that each of us has a duty of respect or reverence for the law. No one is above the law. Everyone has a duty to obey the law, and a right to obedience of the law by others.”

And: “The Founding generation set the precedent of restricting naturalization to people who share our nation’s republican principles. We should not now proceed, contrarily, to effectively reward people with legal residency status and citizenship for violating republican principles. Governmental ratification of a path of crime to citizenship would not be unprecedented, but it would be contrary to rule of law principles of respecting observance and punishing inobservance, and would replicate one of the features of the 1986 immigration law that most strongly encouraged unlawful immigration. The adverse consequences of the 1986 amnesty law are ample proof that rewarding lawbreakers cannot constitute an element of true immigration reform.”

Waiving deportation by giving “probationary legal status” is amnesty, regardless of whether or not permanent legal status must await security measures being in place. It is just a fact that a real, permanent deportation and threatened deportation disincentive is essential to any effective national policy of regulating immigration. A deportation policy that comes and goes with the political winds can only undermine the regulation of immigration.

A second mass amnesty would likely have the same effect as the 1986 “Amnesty Mistake” (so termed by Reagan’s Attorney General Edwin Meese, “Reagan Would Not Repeat Amnesty Mistake,” Human Events, December 13, 2006, www.humanevents.com), encouraging foreigners to come here illegally in the hope of being the beneficiaries of future mass amnesties. It would to a significant extent undermine the border and internal enforcement that President Obama is supposedly going to enforce.

Americans who want to understand and defend the rule of law principle on which our country was founded would do well to read Mission Viejo’s Rule of Law Resolution. Anyone who sends an email to missionviejoruleoflawresolution@aol.com, and asks for it, will be sent the Resolution and the supporting Research Paper by email as a PDF document.

Let's put aside the reality of deporting 11 million illegals, not just on humantiarian and social but economic grounds, and focus on the rule of law issue raised in this comment. If you are focused on the concept of no American bebing above the law, then please create a Resolution dedicated to the imprisonment of Bush, Cheny, Rumsfeld, Powell, Rice, and every other major official of that administration for war crimes. Or do you not rank the criminal conduct of an illegal, horrifically bungled invasion of a sovereign country as high as entering this country without a visa?

I have no idea whether a case can be made for imprisonment for war crimes by Bush administration officials, but if you are competent on that subject and have information showing such is the case, it may well be your moral duty to create a resolution or other proper document stating the law, evidence, and argument, and present it to the appropriate prosecutor or tribunal.

As for ranking different types of unlawful conduct, it is not consistent with rule of law principles to approve of or tolerate one type of lawlessness just because there are other types of lawlessness that are substantially more serious. The lines between conduct that should be tolerated and conduct that should not be tolerated are those drawn in the democratically-enacted laws. The laws are the rules of free civilization, and both Americans and foreigners who are in America should be held to them. “The rule of law is all that stands between civilization and barbarism, for, as Locke said, ‘where there is no law, there is no freedom.’ Most important, the purpose of law is not to diminish but to enlarge freedom.” (Margaret Thatcher, “Reason and Religion: The Moral Foundations of Freedom,” 9/24/1996, www.margaretthatcher.org.)

As for ranking immigration law violations, entering the country illegally is far less serious a matter than governmental disregard of its duty to enforce the immigration laws. “The greatest crimes that can be committed against our government are to put on the statute-books, or allow to remain there, laws that are not meant to be enforced, and to fail to enforce the laws that exist.” (Theodore Roosevelt, “The Enforcement of Law,” The Forum Magazine, 9/1/1895, www.theodore-roosevelt.com.)

The Mission Viejo Resolution implicitly criticizes Obama, Bush, and perhaps all presidents going back to and including Reagan, for failing in their constitutional duty to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” (Art. II, Sec. 3.) There is no suggestion that entering illegally is anywhere near as serious a matter as the president disregarding and violating the Constitution. Yet it does insist that illegal entry and illegal presence should be taken seriously. “Free government has no greater menace than disrespect for authority and continual violation of law. It is the duty of a citizen not only to observe the law but to let it be known that he is opposed to its violation.” (Calvin Coolidge, 12/6/1923.)

As for the reality of deporting 11 million illegal aliens, mandating E-Verify for all employees and enforcing the existing sanctions for obtaining jobs illegally (felonious signing of I-9 forms) and for hiring illegally would likely result in massive, orderly self-deportation. Sure, deportation sweeps can result in self-deportation in numbers many times larger than the number of arrests (“How Eisenhower solved illegal border crossings from Mexico,” www.csmonitor.com, 7/6/2006), even if done with the law’s newer procedural protections that were not observed in the 1950s. But enforcement of immigration-related employment laws along with committed border enforcement would do most of what needs to be done to restore compliance with our nation’s immigration laws, and restore adherence to the rule of law--and thus that “government of laws and not of men” that the Founders hoped to bequeath to all their posterity.

And add to that Barrack Obama for his unconstitutional actions regarding Libya, the use of drones in Pakistan, particulary the execution of American citizens without due process, and his declaration regarding young illegal immigrant several months ago, which he himself stated was unconstitutional and would never do. And by the way, Congress authorized the use of force in Iraq: the vote was 88-10.

This writer misses much of the point of the GOP's efforts to reclaim a slice of the Hispanic vote it has always received. First, she ignores the fact that since the Hispanic vote has been "counted" any Republcian candidate that scored 35% of the Hispanic vote has won. That includes, Nixon (twice), Reagan (twice) Bush 1 and Bush II.

Thus, historically the GOP needs only to score 35% or more to win. McCain won 31% and had Romney carried 35% he would have won.

The GOP does not need to get a majority, just another 10% slice to be competative and close to 40% to win.

Polls aside, Marco Rubio (much more than Cruz) can deliver; he is the right man at the right time. The fastest growing group among Hispancis is evangelical Christians -- they vote Republican. Religious church going Catholics have been deeply offended by the Obama contraception policy that forces their own church institutions to go to court to defeat this egregious affront to religious freedom. When the Supreme Court rules on the cases, these Catholics will know what side they must support, the side that supports their freedom to worship as they please or the side that wants to lock them in a modern Fascism represented by the Democratic Party.

Obamacare will save the Republican party.

"First-generation Hispanics support “big government” by an 81 percent to 12 percent margin, followed by second-generation Latinos (72–22) and third generation ones (58–36)." Note the trend: the longer they stay, the smarter they get.

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