If you thought the Republican “anchor babies” scam to repeal the 14th amendment citizenship clause was just an escalation of their boilerplate xenophobia, Harold Meyerson gets down to the real nitty-gritty in his WaPo column today:
The Republican war on the 14th Amendment’s citizenship clause is indeed directed at a mortal threat — but not to the American nation. It is the threat that Latino voting poses to the Republican Party.
By proposing to revoke the citizenship of the estimated 4 million U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants — and, presumably, the children’s children and so on down the line — Republicans are calling for more than the creation of a permanent noncitizen caste. They are endeavoring to solve what is probably their most crippling long-term political dilemma: the racial diversification of the electorate. Not to put too fine a point on it, they are trying to preserve their political prospects as a white folks’ party in an increasingly multicolored land.
Meyerson’s got numbers:
…The demographic base of the Republican Party, as Ruy Teixeira demonstrates in a paper released by the Center for American Progress this summer, is shrinking as a share of the nation and the electorate. As the nation grows more racially and religiously diverse, Teixeira shows, its percentage of white Christians will decline to just 35 percent of the population by 2040.
The group that’s growing fastest, of course, is Latinos. “Their numbers will triple to 133 million by 2050 from 47 million today,” Teixeira writes, “while the number of non-Hispanic whites will remain essentially flat.” Moreover, Latinos increasingly trend Democratic — in a Gallup poll this year, 53 percent self-identified as Democrats; just 21 percent called themselves Republican.
Meyerson has hit on the longer-term goal behind the repeal effort. But no doubt the Republicans hope to gain some short term advantage from swing voters by whipping up anti-immigrant animosity for the mid terms.
It’s a cynical bet — that Hispanic-bashing will win more votes from economically-fearful whites than they will lose from Hispanic voters. At last count, the Republicans had 91 House sponsors of the measure, which was reportedly submitted in the House last year by former congressman Nathan Deal, who was designated one of “the 15 most corrupt members of congress” by the nonpartisan Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
Today Deal became the GOP’s nominee for Georgia Governor. Georgia’s Latino population is smaller in percentage terms than many other states, although it is growing very fast. Still, it would be poetic justice if Deal lost the race by a small margin to Democrat Roy Barnes as a result of the latter’s lop-sided support from Hispanic voters.