washington, dc

The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority


So exactly how big a fiasco has the immigration reform bill been for the Republican Party?
We already know that the saga has been a disaster for the GOPers who supported the “comprehensive” effort. Moreover, according to most of the right-wing accounts I’ve been reading, the Republican Party isn’t getting much credit for finally rejecting the bill in the Senate. “Amnesty” opponents are congratulating each other for bringing their leaders to heel, with at best patronizing glad-you-turned-out-to-be-gutless expressions of appreciation for the flip-floppers, and probably fantasies about future grassroots efforts to get the compassion out of conservatism.
But as a new USA Today/Gallup poll illustrates, the Bush-Rove strategy of using immigration reform to consolidate a Republican majority among Hispanic Americans is completely in ruins. Only 11 percent of Hispanics now identify as Republicans, as compared with 27 percent for the general public. With leaners assigned, the poll shows 58 percent of Hispanics as Democrats, 22 percent as independents, and 20 percent as Republicans (among all voters, the numbers with leaners assigned are 53 percent Democrats, 9 percent independents, and 37 percent Republicans). If, as Karl Rove long believed, Hispanics have become the key swing voter category for the future, they ain’t swinging right for the GOP.
In a nice illustration of the overall futility of the Bush-led immigration reform drive, Hispanics, African-Americans, and Non-Hispanic Whites have almost identical, and quite negative, feelings about “the government’s recent efforts to deal with illegal immigration in the U.S.”
On the other hand, and this could be important down the road, the USA Today-Gallup survey showed that overall hostility to levels of immigration is actually quite a bit lower today than in the 1993-95 period, and in the immediate wake of 9/11. But I don’t think this is going to matter a lot in 2008.
One other quick note: this poll illustrated Hillary Clinton’s very high popularity levels among Hispanics, providing one reason for her consistently robust poll numbers among Democrats generally despite the loss of a very big chunk of her original African-American support to Barack Obama. At present, she is supported by an impressive 59 percent of Hispanic Democrats, with Obama at 13 percent, fellow-Hispanic Bill Richardson at 11 percent, John Edwards at 7 percent, and the rest scattered over the remainder of the field.

One comment on “Fiasco

  1. robertdfeinman on

    Much of what the present admin has done makes no sense when looked at rationally. They have adopted policies which are at odds with reality. This goes beyond those stratagems designed to serve political aims (Rove’s portfolio). Thus we must seek the explanation elsewhere.
    I think the best take on such behavior can be found in the work of psychologist Robert Altemeyer. His work was the basis of John Dean’s recent book. He now has one of his own, available free online at
    He explores the mindset of a type of ideologue who believes in a strong hierarchical social organization and who ignores or dismisses anything which contradicts his beliefs.
    This goes beyond lying. A liar knows the truth, a “right wing authoritarian” (Altemeyer’s term) is impervious to it.
    Actions to counter these people need to take their psychological makeup into account if they are to be successful. The first thing to realize is that using facts and logic is ineffective.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.