I recently got an email from my favorite neoconservative politician. (I'm not mentioning his name since it was a private message. But since true neoconservative politicians are practically nonexistent - as opposed to the Joe Liebermans and Daniel Patrick Moynihans who talk like Irving Kristol but vote like Walter Mondale - you probably can guess his name.)
He asked my opinion of a House race in the Fresno farm region of California's Central Valley. It pits Democrat incumbent Cal Dooley against Republican newscaster Rich Rodriguez. Running a Mexican-American in a district that's 60% Hispanic (40% of registered voters) has given the GOP a shot at taking a seat away from the Democrats - especially important in the incredibly close national race to control the House. His implication: see, Republicans can so win - with the right, ethnically-correct, candidate.
Here's the key point, though. Even a handsome, glib, popular, well-known local Mexican-American Republican is still losing among Latinos by a margin of 48% to 30% in the last poll. If the Anglo Democrat Dooley (granted, there is something wacky about calling anybody named "Dooley" an "Anglo") maintains this proportion in the election, he wins a landslide 62% of the Latino vote.
So 38% appears to be the upper limit of the California Latino vote that the Republicans can hope to win under ideal conditions.
In other words, the California GOP is doomed. It may win a few elections during the next decade or two. Beyond that, though, the tidal waves of Mexican and Central American immigration sweep it down the memory hole.
I guess the long-term good news for the national GOP is that it will be winning even bigger landslides in Utah than it does now. Latin American immigration not only brings "natural Democrats" into California, it drives "natural Republicans" out of California to the Great Basin.
Somehow, though, I don't think Utah and Idaho will provide the GOP with much consolation for their slow-motion catastrophe in California.
Of course, in theory the GOP could rally white i.e. American voters and cut off immigration, allowing assimilation to work etc. But that's another story....
Republican Rich Rodriguez's website: http://www.richrodriguez.com/
Democrat Congressman Cal Dooley's website: http://www.house.gov/dooley/
October 26, 2000