Friday, May 26, 2006

The Lessons of California

The United States Senate passes their idea of an immigration bill and as the NRO Editorial states bluntly: “The Senate isn’t serious about enforcing the nation’s immigration laws”. The only plausible reason I can believe is that the Senate is more concerned about power than the rule of law, and both parties are trying to understand the lessons of why the Republicans lost California.
How the Republicans Lost California: Just 10 years ago, California was a GOP bastion, regarded as the cornerstone of the Republican Electoral College "lock." The 1990 elections merely confirmed this impression, with the GOP winning its third gubernatorial race in a row, its fifth of seven. Two years earlier, the 1988 presidential race had marked the sixth straight California victory for the Republicans, with only Barry Goldwater's 1964 debacle marring an otherwise unbroken chain of GOP victories stretching all the way back to Ike's 1952 landslide. In national politics, California was about as safely Republican as Wyoming or Idaho.

All this changed with California's deep recession of the early 1990s, as high unemployment and economic misery provoked an anti-immigrant backlash among California's white political majority. … For immigrants, the only means of defense was naturalization and registration, and they did both in unprecedented numbers, roughly doubling California's Latino vote between 1992 and 1998. Most of these new voters regarded both Mr. Wilson and his Republican Party as their mortal foes.
Republican Governor Pete Wilson won re-election in 1994 in large part by strongly supporting Proposition 187 which denied government services to illegal immigrants. In many minds, this was a pyrrhic victory that directly resulted in the effective Death of the California GOP.

The American Conservative makes the current argument that the loss of California has more to do with middle class white flight, and while this maybe numerically demonstrable, it does not counteract the fact that Republicans are not making any inroads into Hispanic communities.
Even Bush Cannot Lure Hispanics: Despite running the most Latino-friendly campaign in Republican history, George W. Bush still lost to Al Gore by a landslide among Hispanic voters. According to exit polls reported by CNN and ABC, Hispanics went for Gore 62% to 35% over Bush.
There has been discussion within the Wisconsin blogosphere about principled conservatism vs. the big tent approach to winning elections and this is exactly the dilemma the National Republican leadership is confronting. Handing our country back to socialists is absolutely wrong, so what needs to be done to prevent this outcome?