You can talk about the supposed benefits of President Bush's ill-advised plan for amnesty for millions of illegal aliens all you want but the fact is that the political motivations of the president and his advisers in designing it and unleashing it at this particular time are transparent.
The main designer was political adviser Karl Rove, whose strategy for years has been to win more Hispanic votes for the president and his party.
That strategy was obvious enough in the White House ceremony where Mr. Bush announced his plan. Every single one of the advocacy groups and their leaders that were invited to the speech was Hispanic. Not one was non-Hispanic. Since the plan in theory applies to non-Hispanic as well as Hispanic immigrants and affects plain old Americans who aren't immigrants at all, wouldn't you think some non-Hispanics might have been asked to hear what the president had in mind for them?
Not if the point is to persuade key Hispanic leaders that you're really their amigo and deserve their votes.
[VDARE.COM NOTE: President Bush said: "I appreciate the members of citizen [sic] groups who have joined us today. Chairman of the Hispanic Alliance for Progress, Manny Lujan. Gil Moreno, the President and CEO of the Association for the Advancement of Mexican Americans. Roberto De Posada, the President of the Latino Coalition. And Hector Flores, the President of LULAC."]
The amnesty plan has deeply offended and alienated most conservatives and Republicans and may not go anywhere anyway, but one thing it will not do is win Hispanics for Mr. Bush.
In the last election, he won only 35 percent of the Hispanic vote. Now, as a recent article in The Nation argues, the Democrats are thinking hard about how to win even more than Al Gore's 65 percent—and in key states Republicans need to win at all.
The Nation (Jan. 5) carries an article [Blue States, Latino Voters] by two Democratic strategists, Joe Velasquez and Steve Cobble, who show how "Latino voters" can be mobilized to cut into Republican support in the South and Southwest. Those regions have been the bastion of the Republicans' Sunbelt electoral base since the 1960s. That was when they were American. Now, thanks to the mass immigration Republicans have tolerated, encouraged and now amnestied, they're becoming simply "Latino."
Mr. Velasquez and Mr. Cobble point out that the Latino vote is concentrated in four states—New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona and Colorado—plus Florida. In every one of these states, thanks to immigration, the Latino vote is increasing, and the first four control 29 electoral votes, equal to Florida's. If you take them from the GOP, it loses.
"New Mexico was a blue [Democratic] state surrounded by red [Republican] in 2000," they write. Now, it "has aggressive Latino Democratic Governor Bill Richardson, who is mobilizing hard to increase the power of the Latino vote nationwide."
Arizona "is already one-quarter Latino, and according to the census, of the more than 325,000 people added to the state between April 2000 and July 2002 (the latest estimate), more than half (181,000) were Latinos."
Nevada "essentially doubled its Latino share of the population in only ten years," while Colorado also has "a growing Latino vote."
Florida has Republican Cuban-Americans, but "the more progressive non-Cuban-American Latino vote grows by leaps and bounds" and "voted heavily for Al Gore in 2000."
Ah, yes, reply the political Napoleons of the GOP, but you see, all these Latino voters will swoon in gratitude to Mr. Bush for his amnesty, if only we keep jabbering long and loud enough about being "a nation of immigrants" and a "welcoming society" and all that kind of stuff.
Unfortunately for the Napoleons, there is no shred of evidence to support that claim. The Republicans have been doing just that for years now, ever since at least 1996 and most noticeably in 2000, when Mr. Bush fetched up such a pathetic catch of Hispanic votes.
As Mr. Velasquez and Mr. Cobble point out, Al Gore lost the four Western states in 2000 very, very narrowly—but not so long ago these states were fortresses of Republican strength.
Mr. Velasquez and Mr. Cobble also know that all the GOP jabber about the glories of mass immigration won't serve breakfast. What they propose for the Democrats, by contrast, is a left-wing agenda calculated to appeal to working class non-whites.
"Latino voters in these four states could be united and inspired by an economic agenda that includes decent wages, retirement security, reining in corporate corruption, rebuilding public schools, labor rights and healthcare."
My money is on the Democrats.
What the Republicans have done with all their pro-immigration clichés and their refusal to control and reduce the flood of immigrants over the last 30 years is brew the poison for their own political suicide.
Not only have they permitted the importation of a new underclass that will support the Democrats but also by so doing they've helped push national politics well to the left with the agenda the Democrats need to win the new voting bloc.
Now, the amnesty plan Mr. Bush released this month is likely to be his party's tombstone.
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[Sam Francis [email him] is a nationally syndicated columnist. A selection of his columns, America Extinguished: Mass Immigration And The Disintegration Of American Culture, is now available from Americans For Immigration Control. Click here for Sam Francis' website. Click here to order his monograph, Ethnopolitics: Immigration, Race, and the American Political Future and here for Glynn Custred's review.]