So Bush is losing support among those who have supported him for years. Why?
A look inside the latest numbers suggests several reasons, but it appears the president's stand on immigration is the biggest drag on his support among Republicans—even more damaging than the disapproval caused by rising gas prices.
Of several issues specifically covered by the Gallup poll—the economy, foreign affairs, the situation in Iraq, terrorism, immigration, and energy policy—immigration is the only area in which more Republicans disapprove of the president's policy than approve. And they disapprove by a significant margin: 52 percent of Republicans in the survey disapprove of Bush's immigration policy, versus 40 percent who approve.
Although immigration is the worst, the president's approval rating among Republicans is at best lackluster on a number of other issues. On the economy, 72 percent of Republicans approve of the president's performance, while 26 percent disapprove—a strikingly high disapproval number given recent reports of high growth and low unemployment.
Bush has gone far enough promoting Open Borders to shock a lot of his supporters. Much of the support he has left is no longer firm.
Likewise in Nebraska last week, immigration toppled the favored candidate in the Republican gubernatorial primary, Rep. Tom Osborne, in what was called “one of the most surprising defeats in Nebraska political history.” Osborne, whose success as the University of Nebraska football coach made him an icon in the football-mad state (he was once called “Nebraska’s God” by one of his hapless political rivals), had never received less than 82 percent of the vote in his congressional races, and was expected to win easily over Gov. Dave Heineman. But that was before Heineman vetoed a bill providing in-state tuition for illegal aliens at state universities, while Osborne approved of the bill. Both Osborne and his campaign manager acknowledged that his support for illegal immigrants was a major reason for his defeat.
You might be wondering how the heck could immigration become a political issue in Nebraska. Surely it is a white place full of white farmers. But immigration is changing Nebraska quite rapidly (and Americans who think they can escape the Hispanicization of America by moving within America are dreaming).
Districtwide, Omaha's student mix stands at 44 percent white, 31 percent black and 21 percent Hispanic.
Black Nebraska State Senator Ernie Chambers recently managed to get legislation passed that authorizes Omaha to allow 3 school districts that are one each predominately black, white, and Hispanic. This has created a firestorm in the liberal media. How dare blacks want to hang out only with blacks, whites only with whites, and Hispanics only with Hispanics. The right of free association is not recognized on the political Left in America because it produces outcomes they find abhorrent.
Can't Get Enough About Third Parties: Mystery Pollster says he's "not convinced that immigration has yet become an issue of as 'paramount political concern'" as the issues that have historically produced third parties. That's almost certainly true. What MP overlooks, I think, is that the barriers to third party formation are dramatically lower than they used to be. It takes less, in the way of issue salience or personal ambition, to overcome them. .. . What, exactly--other than a first-mover advantage and often-negative "branding"--do the two existing parties have that can't be duplicated un a couple of months via the Internet, a few petitions and some lawsuits by a disaffected maverick or one of Lawrence O'Donnell's bored billionaires? If McCain doesn't get the GOP nomination, I wouldn't be surprised if he went the third party route. Heck, if Hillary doesn't get the Democratic nomination, I wouldn't be surprised. ...
The biggest potential source of third party voters are the people who are furious at our elites for betraying us on immigration.
A substantial minority of the Republicans in the US Senate is doing its best to make Republicans angry at their party. At the Heritage Foundation Robert Rector says even the amended version of the Senate immigration bill still greatly increases legal immigration.
Update: On Tuesday, May 16, the Senate passed Sen. Jeff Bingaman's (D-NM) amendment to S. 2611 that significantly reduced the number of legal immigrants who could enter under the bill's "guest worker" program. As a result of this change, our estimate of the number of legal immigrants who would enter the country or would gain legal status under S. 2611 falls from 103 million to around 66 million over the next 20 years.
66 million in 20 years is 3.3 million per year of legal immigrants. But since legal immigrants create the support and the ties to enable illegal immigration the rate of illegal immigration would increase as well. We might be looking at 5 million immigrants per year if the Senate bill made it into law. The Senators are nuts.
Stuart Rothenberg, editor and publisher of a political newsletter, now has 42 Republican districts, including Drake's, on his list of competitive races. Last September, he had 26 competitive GOP districts, and Drake's wasn't on the list. "That's a pretty significant increase," he said. "The national atmospherics are making long shots suddenly less long."
At the Cook Political Report, Amy Walter has revised an analysis of the battle for control of the House, taking into account the sour mood toward Republicans nationally as a potentially significant factor in races that might otherwise turn on local issues, candidate performance or the size of campaign war chests.
"In a nationalized election, the typical laws of gravity get thrown out the window," Walter said. "Under-funded candidates beat better-funded candidates, and entrenched incumbents lose to first-time challengers."
The endangered House Republicans could simultaneously nationalize the election in their favor and distance themselves from Bush. How? By passing more legislation that cuts back on immigration. The House Republicans should not give an inch to the Senate on negotiations over their respective immigration bills (the highly restrictionist Sensenbrenner bill in the House and the massive legal immigration increasing S. 2611 in the Senate). Instead, the House Republicans should pass an even more drastically restrictionist bill as a way to mobilize their base and quite a few independent and liberal restrictionists (and they do exist in substantial numbers - see this discussion thread where liberals demonstrate their skepticism of claims that immigration doesn't harm the natives who are less skilled) to go to the polls and vote for restrictionist Republicans.
A new piece of House restrictionist legislation would give any Republicans who didn't vote for the Sensenbrenner bill a chance to vote for a restrictionist bill they could run on for reelection. Such a bill should have a few main provisions:
The House Republicans should run as populists against the big money interests that dominate the White House and Senate.
Update: If you want to contact your US Senators to express your displeasure at their plan to deluge the United States with tens of millions of immigrants in the next 20 years then you can find the web sites of each US Senator in this list. Similarly, you can find contact information for your US House Representative here.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2006 May 20 10:39 AM Immigration Politics|