Shape the Electorate

Former U.S. Attorney Andrew McCarthy’s posting in the National Review posed a choice for the Republican Party's future in electoral politics:

There is no single-issue quick-fix to the challenge of ushering [Hispanics] into the Republican coalition. Rather, there is a choice to be made: either convince them that they are wrong, meaning make the unapologetic case for liberty and limited government; or fundamentally change who you are, meaning accommodate their statism.

He obviously opts for Door #1, as do most conservatives, while the Jeb Bush/Grover Norquist/WSJ crowd opts for Door #2. But I think there’s more to it. The Democrats are consciously pursuing policies to shape an electorate that is less self-reliant, more terrified of freedom (as David French puts it) and thus more open to statism. They do this in a number of ways, including making it easier to avoid marriage, thus increasing the number of single women; and importing ever-larger numbers of poor immigrants, both legal and illegal, thus not only creating future voters and future clients but also increasing economic insecurity for less-educated workers in general through a looser labor market.

So I’d submit that Andy’s Door #1 has another aspect to it: Yes, continue making the case for liberty and self-government (though perhaps doing a better job at marketing) but also slow the Left’s social engineering project by limiting future immigration and getting serious about enforcement. This would strike at the Left’s strategy in two ways — first, obviously, it would slow the artificial, government-engineered increase in the immigrant population. At the same time, by tightening the labor market for less-skilled workers, it would improve the job prospects and earnings of non-college graduates of both sexes and all ethnicities, reducing their economic insecurity and making marriage more feasible for young people without college degrees.

Reinforcing Andy’s point that Hispanic political activists are “the vanguard of a different culture that they passionately believe is superior to the culture of individual liberty” who won’t be attracted to conservatism by a few changes in immigration law: See postings by two leftists. Jamelle Bouie of The American Prospect, posting at the "Plum Line", writes that Hispanic voters favored Obama not only because of immigration, but also because the GOP opposes socialized medicine and leftist Supreme Court nominees. And Slate’s Matthew Yglesias writes that:

The best evidence available on Hispanic public opinion, a big election even poll from Latino Decisions and ImpreMedia, makes it clear that this is just a fairly liberal voting block. Just 12 percent of Latinos support a cuts-only approach to deficit reduction, and only 25 percent want to repeal Obamacare. Only 31 percent of Hispanics say they’d be more likely to vote for a Republican who supports the DREAM Act. This isn’t to say Latinos aren’t eager to see immigration reform, it’s just that the lion’s share have bigger reasons for rejecting the GOP.

Even amnesty maven Jeb Bush seems to get that it’s not just immigration. In a New York magazine interview, he says “Four years from now, Texas is going to be a so-called blue state”, which may explain this:

And there’s the rub: Can the Republican Party embrace a moderate again? Since leaving office, Jeb has become distinctly less conservative. In the past, he was a pro-gun, pro-life, pro–death penalty hard-liner who described himself as a “hang-’em-by-the-neck conservative.” But Jeb’s recent friendship with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a critic of the tea party, has seemed to crystallize a shift toward a more moderate approach.

I don’t dispute there’s much in the Republican message that needs re-examination. But there’s nothing wrong with the GOP that Jeb Bush can fix.