Hispanics Were Democrats Long Before Illegal Immigration Became an Issue

By Ronald W. Mortensen on November 8, 2012

According to the Wall Street Journal, Mitt Romney's hard line on illegal immigration was a major contributing factor to his failure to win the presidency. It goes on to say that "The GOP needs to leave its anti-immigration absolutists behind."

The Journal justifies its call for expelling those who oppose illegal immigration and its rampant employment-related felonies as well as those who expect immigrants to come to the United States legally based on the fact that 71 percent of Hispanics voted for Obama while Romney only obtained 27 percent of Hispanic votes.

Of course, the pro-illegal-immigration Journal as well as other pro-illegal-immigrant elements of the Republican party fail to acknowledge that for at least the last nine elections, Hispanics have voted heavily in favor of Democratic presidential candidates over Republican candidates by an average of 64 percent to 31 percent, as shown by data compiled by the Pew Hispanic Center.

Year Democrat Republican
1980 (Reagan/Carter) 56% 35%
1984 (Reagan/Mondale) 61% 37%
1988 (Bush/Dukakis) 69% 30%
1992 (Bush/Clinton) 61% 25%
1996 (Dole/Clinton) 72% 21%
2000 (Bush/Gore) 62% 35%
2004 (Bush/Kerry) 58% 40%
2008 (Obama/McCain) 67% 31%
2012 (Obama/Romney) 71% 27%
Average 64% 31%

The expulsion crowd at the Journal never acknowledges the fact that pro-amnesty, "comprehensive immigration reform" leader John McCain (R-Ariz.), was rejected by 67 percent of Hispanic voters, that 72 percent of Hispanics voted against Bob Dole, that 69 percent voted against the elder Bush and that 62 percent voted against the younger Bush. So, it could be argued that Romney's "tough" illegal immigration stance cost him only 4 percentage points of the Hispanic vote as opposed to that of McCain and that he actually picked up 6 points over Dole and 2 points more than Bush senior did.

The bottom line is that Hispanics are largely Democrats and they don't swing their support to pro-illegal-immigration Republicans such as McCain and or even to Bush senior, who was vice president at the time of the 1986 amnesty.

In fact, after the 1986 amnesty was signed by President Reagan, the Hispanic vote for the Democratic presidential candidate (Michael Dukakis) in the next election increased by 8 percent. After McCain attempted to push through another amnesty, Hispanic support for the Democratic candidate (Barack Obama) in the next presidential election increased by 9 percent over that received by John Kerry in the previous presidential election.

So if favoring illegal immigration and rewarding illegal aliens is not the key to winning Hispanic votes, what is? Polls show that Hispanics strongly support government welfare and entitlement programs such as Obamacare. In fact, according to surveys reported by the Pew Hispanic Center, 69 percent of Hispanics support expanding or leaving Obamacare as currently constituted. That 69 percent is eerily close to the 71 percent of the Hispanic vote that went to President Obama.

The Wall Street Journal and the businesses that support illegal immigration need to carefully rethink their support of illegal immigration before reading anyone out of the minority-friendly, business-friendly, and disputably small government Republican Party. And while they are at it, they had better think long and hard about how they are going to stem the continued expansion of the welfare state and prevent higher taxes while at the same time supporting illegal immigration in order to gain the votes of Hispanic Democrats.