After its second defeat at the hands of Barack Obama, under whom unemployment has never been lower than the day George W. Bush left office, the Republican Party has at last awakened to its existential crisis.
Eighteen states have voted Democratic in six straight elections. Among the six are four of our most populous: New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois and California. And Obama has now won two of the three remaining mega-states, Ohio and Florida, twice.
Only Texas remains secure — for now.
At the presidential level, the Republican Party is at death’s door.
Yet one already sees the same physicians writing prescriptions for the same drugs that have been killing the GOP since W’s dad got the smallest share of the vote by a Republican candidate since William Howard Taft in 1912.
In ascertaining the cause of the GOP’s critical condition, let us use Occam’s razor — the principle that the simplest explanation is often the right one.
Would the GOP wipeout in those heavily Catholic, ethnic, socially conservative, blue-collar bastions of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio and Illinois, which Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan swept, have anything to do with the fact that the United States since 2000 has lost 6 million manufacturing jobs and 55,000 factories?
Where did all those jobs and factories go? We know where.
They were outsourced. And in the deindustrialization of America, the Republican Party has been a culpable co-conspirator.
Unlike family patriarch Sen. Prescott Bush, who voted with Barry Goldwater and Strom Thurmond against JFK’s free-trade deal, Bush I and II pumped for NAFTA, GATT, the WTO and opening America’s borders to all goods made by our new friends in the People’s Republic of China.
Swiftly, U.S. multinationals shut factories here, laid off workers, outsourced production to Asia and China, and brought their finished goods back, tax-free, to sell in the U.S.A.
Profits soared, as did the salaries of the outsourcing executives.
And their former workers? They headed for the service sector, along with their wives, to keep up on the mortgage payment, keep the kids in Catholic school and pay for the health insurance the family had lost.
Tuesday, these ex-Reagan Democrats came out to vote against some guy from Bain Capital they had been told in ads all summer was a big-time outsourcer who wrote in 2008, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt!”
Yes, the simplest explanation is often the right one.
Republicans are also falling all over one another to express a love of Hispanics, after Mitt won only 27 percent of a Hispanic vote that is now 10 percent of the national vote.
We face demographic disaster, they are wailing. We must win a larger share of the Hispanic vote or we are doomed.
And what is the proposed solution to the GOP’s Hispanic problem, coming even from those supposedly on the realistic right?
Amnesty for the illegals! Stop talking about a border fence and self-deportation. Drop the employer sanctions. Make the GOP a welcoming party.
And what might be problematic about following this advice?
First, it will enrage populist conservatives who supported the GOP because they believed the party’s pledges to oppose amnesty, secure the border and stop illegals from taking jobs from Americans.
And in return for double-crossing these folks and losing their votes, what would be gained by amnesty for, say, 10 million illegal aliens?
Assume in a decade all 10 million became citizens and voted like the Hispanics, black folks and Asians already here. The best the GOP could expect — the Bush share in 2004 — would be 40 percent, or 4 million of those votes.
But if Tuesday’s percentages held, Democrats would get not just 6 million, but 7 million new votes to the GOP’s less than 3 million.
Thus, if we assume the percentages of the last three elections hold, the Democratic Party would eventually gain from an amnesty a net of between 2 and 4 million new voters.
Easy to understand why Democrats are for this. But why would a Republican Party that is not suicidally inclined favor it?
Still, the GOP crisis is not so much illegal as legal immigration. Forty million legal immigrants have arrived in recent decades. Some 85 percent come from Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. Most arrived lacking the academic, language and labor skills to compete for high-paying jobs.
What does government do for them?
Subsidizes their housing and provides free education for their kids from Head Start through K-12, plus food stamps and school lunches, Pell Grants and student loans for college, Medicaid if they are sick, earned income tax credits if they work and 99 weeks of unemployment checks if they lose their job.
These are people who depend upon government.
Why would they vote for a party that is going to cut taxes they do not pay, but take away government benefits they do receive?
Again it needs be said. When the country looks like California demographically, it will look like California politically. Republicans are not whistling past the graveyard. They are right at the entrance.