The Washington Post's political analyst Thomas B. Edsall caused a stir recently with a fairly good article: "As Nation Changes, Parties Are Warned They Need New Tactics to Woo Voters." It's a solid look at the dire implications for the GOP of current demographic trends, although it should have cited Peter Brimelow's and Ed Rubenstein's 1997 "Electing a New People" article in National Review, which made the same point four long years ago: the Trend Is Not the GOP's Friend. [Peter Brimelow comments: Ha!]
Also, Edsall never explains where all of these new Hispanic voters are coming from. The two causes - immigration and higher birthrates - are apparently no longer fit to be discussed in polite society. Demographic changes in the electorate are now to be thought of as this vast, inexorable force, like Global Warming - only much less under human control. The notion that American voters should have a democratic say in who gets to move to America is considered hopelessly old-fashioned, on the rare occasions when it's considered at all.
Most of the strategists quoted say that the GOP must woo minorities harder, because, as "Richard Bond, a former GOP chairman, said: 'We've taken white guys about as far as that group can go'"…..!
This concept is never challenged. Why the GOP Brain Trust is satisfied to lose 40% of the white male vote and 51% of the white female vote, as Bush did in 2000, is never explained. In contrast, Gore lost only around 5% of the black female vote.
So far this year, Bush's two big political pushes have been to appeal to Hispanics by backing more immigration and to alienate whites by backing off on environmentalism. Even leaving aside the obvious connection between immigration-driven population growth and environmental degradation, the GOP's political calculus would appear to flunk fifth grade math. The white voting population is about an order of magnitude bigger than the Hispanic voting population.
Let's just compare the number of citizens who voted against Bush last November to get a sense of where the GOP's greater opportunities in 2004 lie. In 2000, 8.2 times more whites than Hispanics voted against Bush. Heck, among people who voted against Bush, white males alone were 3.4 times more numerous than Hispanics of either sex. Bush lost more votes among white guys than he did among all minorities of all sexes.
The oldest advice in politics is to hunt where the ducks are.
These kinds of calculations do not require a Ph.D. in Mathematics. You just go look up the exit poll results and mess around with them. So, why does it sometimes seem like I'm the only Republican in America with Microsoft Excel? I can guarantee you, though, lots of Democrats understand these numbers.
Most of the ideas for wooing current Hispanics that the Bush GOP has come up with so far involve mortgaging the party's future by letting in millions more of their countrymen. Many of them will eventually become Democratic voters. But that won't happen until after George W. Bush has retired and George P. Bush has taken his place as the Bush dynasty's candidate.
Even in the short run, however, opening the floodgates ever wider is likely to be a losing strategy because the Democrats can always out-pander the Republicans. They're experts at it. Republicans are amateurs. The sheer shamelessness of Bush's sucking up to the Fox-Castaneda administration and their plans to dump more of their poor people on us may have temporarily caught the Democrats flat-footed. But the Democratic Party has not yet begun to pander!
When they do get their momentum up, watch out.
July 20, 2001