Immigration restriction as the path to Republican survival
The GOP establishment has held for years that fawning support for Hispanic immigration and other Hispanic interests is the royal royal to long-term Republican viability. After the 1996 election, when this argument got particularly intense, I wrote a brief article about it for The Social Contract in which I tried to get at the core of the issue and what was at stake. As the topic is a perennial, I’m reproducing the article here in a more readable format.
GOP Strategy 2000:
Linda Chavez’s and Paul Gigot’s argument that the Republicans must embrace open immigration in order to attract present and future generations of Hispanics to the GOP contains two deeply offensive premises. The first is that a major political party should base its immigration policy, not on how best to serve the country as a whole, but on how best to engorge its own ranks with grateful immigrant voters. The second is that the United States should tailor its immigration laws to the desires of people who have not yet arrived in this country (and who in many cases have not even been born).
Apart from being morally objectionable, the immigrants-for-votes tactic fails even on its own terms. According to Gigot and Chavez, if the Republican party continues its (so far mostly symbolic and unserious) efforts to reform immigration, then it can expect to get no more than a quarter of the Hispanic vote. But if, as Chavez and Gigot urge it to do, the Republican party ceases all further attempts to reform or reduce immigration, then they figure Republicans might get a third of the Hispanic vote, approaching the previous high-water mark of the 1984 Reagan landslide. Either way, the Democrats will continue to receive an overwhelming majority of the Hispanic vote, a painfully obvious point that these two strategic wizards seem to have missed. What this means is that the more Hispanics (and other Third World peoples) there are in the U.S., the greater the Democratic party’s electoral advantage will become. As usual the Republicans have chosen a strategy, not of confrontation in the hope of victory, but of appeasement in the hope of limiting (slightly) their losses.
To get an idea of what victory might look like compared to the surrender advocated by Chavez and Gigot, let us imagine two strikingly contrasting scenarios. In the first scenario, Republicans follow Chavez’s and Gigot’s sage advice and make absolutely no further efforts to control legal or illegal immigration, which thus continues unabated and even increases. Over the next half century, Hispanics swell their share of the U.S. population from the current ten percent to 25 percent in the year 2050. As a reward for doing nothing to retard immigration and the resulting explosion in the U.S. Hispanic population, the Republicans receive a whopping 33 percent of the Hispanic vote. Meanwhile (though it doesn’t seem to matter much to Chavez and Gigot), the American nation as we know it will have been destroyed by the huge influx of unassimilable immigrant populations.
In the second scenario, a radically restrictionist Republican party gains control of the Congress in 1998 and the presidency in 2000, stops virtually all immigration, and deports hundreds of thousands or even millions of illegal aliens (whose descendants would otherwise become voting citizens). This radically conservative Congress also eliminates affirmative action, restricts welfare, and ends all government subsidization of illegitimate births. As a result of these profound changes in immigration and social policy (combined with a gradual equalization of fertility rates between Hispanics and other groups), the Hispanic share of the population over the coming decades remains at about ten percent. To make the contrast with the first scenario even more stark, let us imagine that in anger at the “racist, nativist” Republican party, Hispanics give not just 75 percent of their votes to the Democratic party, as at present, but 100 percent, thus confirming Chavez’s and Gigot’s worst fears.
Yet even with zero Hispanic votes going to the GOP, the advantage of the second, restrictionist, scenario for Republicans should be obvious. In the first scenario, Democrats in the next century will get 67 percent of the votes of the 25 percent of the population that is Hispanic, with Hispanic pro-Democratic voters constituting 16.7 percent of the national electorate. In the second scenario, Democrats will get 100 percent of the votes of the 10 percent of the population that is Hispanic, with Hispanic Democratic voters making up 10 percent of the American electorate.
In other words, even in terms of Chavez’s and Gigot’s crassly partisan diagnosis, the Republicans’ long-term prospects will be vastly improved if all Hispanic and other Third World immigration were stopped immediately. At the same time (though it doesn’t seem to matter much to Chavez and Gigot), the American nation will have been saved.
Applying the same analysis to recent immigration, we might add that both the Republican party and America as a whole would have been in vastly better shape today if the door of Third-World chain migration had not been opened in 1965, when the Hispanic share of the U. S. population was only two percent.