Pandering to the Hispanic Vote: Ideological Compromise with No Rewards

When I lost reelection by 727 votes in 2008, the open-borders lobby immediately credited my defeat to my opposition to mass immigration.  America’s Voice, one of the leading pro-amnesty organizations, credited my defeat to “[t]he power of the Latino vote,” using it as an example of how voters “broadly rejected anti-immigrant candidates and politics.” 

There are a few problems with this analysis.  Hispanics make up only 1.6% of the Fifth Congressional District of Virginia that I represented, and an even lower percentage of the electorate.  In addition, my Democratic opponent Tom Periello said that he opposed amnesty and wanted to crack down on employers of illegal aliens. 

I’m sure I could have done things differently, but 2008 was a bad year for Republicans all around, in part because voters were furious at George Bush’s and John McCain’s support for amnesty.  My district has two large demographic groups who vote Democratic: University of Virginia students and African Americans.  These two groups of voters showed up in overwhelming numbers to support Obama, and Periello rode the coattails of his popularity.

But these pesky facts never get in the way of propaganda with the open-borders lobby. 

Even though the tables are turned on the Democrats, the myth of the important Hispanic swing vote is still infecting both parties, whose directors think they need to move the parties to the left on immigration and pander to Hispanics to win elections.

The reality is that while Hispanics tend to vote more Democratic than white voters do, this is not due to their position on immigration.  A series of recent polls by Rasmussen Reports—the polling company that most accurately predicted the 2008 election—show that Republicans who pander are no more likely to receive Hispanic support than those who do not. 

Former Congressman Tom Tancredo, now running for governor of Colorado, was without a doubt the most vocal and effective opponent of mass illegal and legal immigration in Congress.  Due to serious ethical problems with the Republican candidate Dan Maes, Tancredo is running as a Third-Party candidate on the Constitution Party ticket.  He is making support for Arizona’s SB 1070 a centerpiece of his campaign and effectively criticizes the sanctuary-city policies that his Democratic opponent, John Hickenlooper, enacted while mayor of Denver. 

The latest poll shows Tancredo at 38%—within the margin of error—of Hickenlooper who is at 42%.  Maes trails far behind at 12%.  

Tancredo is not only tough on the issue of borders but has also been portrayed as the most anti-Hispanic racist in the country by the Left and the media.   The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart called him “the man Mexican parents tell their kids about to get them to eat their vegetables.”  Nevertheless, Tancredo is polling at 19% among Hispanics.* This figure is far below his share of the white vote at 42%, but is no worse than that of most other Republicans.

In fact, he is doing relatively better than Meg Whitman in California, who runs Spanish-language ads bragging about her opposition to Arizona’s SB 1070 and California’s Prop 187, which cut welfare benefits to illegal aliens. 

Despite this pandering, her support among Hispanic voters stands at only 23% compared to 49% of white voters. 

Sharron Angle’s challenge to Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada provides one of the starkest contrasts in immigration policy.  In a clear attempt to pander to Hispanic voters, Reid tried to force a vote on the amnesty-focused DREAM Act last month. Angle responded by running ads saying “Harry Reid is the best friend illegal aliens ever had.”

Since Reid introduced the DREAM Act, Angle’s share of the Hispanic vote went up by 33%.

It is an insult to patriotic Hispanics to assume that they support amnesty.  Forty-seven percent of Hispanics voted for Arizona’s Proposition 200, which cut off welfare for illegal aliens and required identification at the polls.  This is a much higher percentage than the Hispanics who voted for pro-amnesty Republicans like George Bush and John McCain. 

Of course, Hispanics are not the only voters in the country.  Whites still make up 67% of the country and about 75% of the electorate. If our policies of mass legal and illegal immigration are not changed, that number is expected to reach the point at which whites will become a minority by 2042.

The George Soros funded Center for American Progress—which is run by unofficial Obama advisor John Podesta—put out a report by Ruy Texiera called “Demographic Change and the Future of American Political Parties” earlier this year.  Texiera discussed white Americans’ impending minority status and noted that “the voting electorate’s race-ethnic composition will continue to evolve rapidly” and continued, “[i]f minorities retain their current political leanings, this shift in the distribution of voters should substantially advantage the Democrats.”

For Republicans to win among the growing non-white population, he argues that “the party must, quite simply, become less conservative. They will have to jettison their bitter hostility to active government, spending on social services, and immigration reform.” 

Democrats openly hope that the demographic changes caused by mass immigration will either destroy the Republican Party or else force it to become an echo of the Democrats.  No wonder they support amnesty and open borders. 

I would like us to get beyond race.  Instead of pandering to Whites, Blacks, or Hispanics, politicians should pander to Americans.  But when the Democrats are attempting to use changing immigrant demographics as a political weapon against conservatism, we need to fight back by cutting immigration and promoting patriotic assimilation for the legal immigrants already here. 

* (Note: Rasmussen lists only black, white, and other as racial identifications and does not include Hispanics as a separate category.  Other, therefore, includes Hispanics and Asians, among other groups.  I have used other to denote Hispanics, because they make up a much greater percentage of the population than Asians do. However, because both groups tend to vote Democratic and are made up primarily of immigrants, they are both groups that open-borders advocates argue that we need to pander to by supporting amnesty.)