The defeat by 20 percentage points of Chris Cannon, though a Republican, had better get serious attention from my fellow Democrats, particularly those in Congress.
If we Democrats think that this rather shocking loss by a six-term Congressman assures that our party is about to win a landslide victory in November, we better not get too cocky.
Cannon, according to many observers, lost because of his stance on open borders, his willingness to sell out us citizens to anyone with a bill that would give an alien, legal or illegal, a chance to come to or stay in the United States.
And Cannon didn't lose to a big name person. I am sure Jason Chaffetz is well regarded in seriously Republican Utah, but he is hardly a household name. Yet Mr. Chaffetz thrashed the incumbent—and remember, incumbents win reelection to Congress well over 90% of the time—by stressing his stance on the need for real patriotic immigration reform, not the amnesty package which Cannon, McCain and Bush (and too many of my fellow Democrats) have tried to ram through Congress under various guises for years.
I see this defeat as having strong bi-partisan potential to bring down those who obstruct real immigration reform. The average American citizen sees the elites, not only in Congress, but in business, religion, and even in some labor quarters, as willing to sell us out for tenure, power and privilege.
The two major Presidential candidates have been vying to see who can best appease the growing Hispanic minority, as represented most vocally by LULAC and La Raza, both advocacy groups lushly funded by the business community which favors the flow of cheap labor.
Most literate Americans now know this, see this and are repelled by this kind of wanton opportunism. For that matter, a very sizable percentage of American citizens of Hispanic origin are equally repelled. America's principle of the Rule of Law means something, yet has been torn to tatters by the very people who must swear to uphold it when they enter high office.
According to all the polls, the opinion of John and Jane Q Public of this Congress is lower than their opinion of President Bush, who has already taken over the place in the firmament of Past Presidents formerly occupied by James Buchanan.
Yes, as a Democrat, I write hoping that my party will listen. We are right on so many issues—reproductive choice, the need to withdraw from Iraq, and the need to focus on domestic problems such as infrastructure and education. Action on so many urgent priorities has been diverted in this past eight years by the present Administration.
But for Democrats, this immigration issue should also be a top concern. For example, key sections of the Mexican border fence are now being built. However, that fence is only a partial stop gap measure. The fence, which is needed, along with better border monitoring by the Border Patrol and the National Guard, ironically symbolizes the failure of Congress to force strong enforcement, particularly emphasizing employer identification which would lead automatically to attrition of those here illegally.
The June 26, 2008 Salt Lake Tribune story which covered the Cannon defeat, Incumbent fear: Cannon loss sets off wave of worry noted that
"With gas prices soaring, immigration issues unsolved and crushing federal deficits looming, voters are giving Congress some of the lowest approval ratings ever. Cannon is the third incumbent - and the second Republican - this year to get the boot. Maryland Reps. Wayne Gilchrest, a Republican, and Al Wynn, a Democrat, lost in February battles for their parties' nominations. Some pundits predict a Democratic wave may wash out more incumbent Republicans in November."
Yes, I agree my party will get more seats in November. But if a Democrat Congress with real power to enact reform legislation instead defunds the building of the Mexican border fence, this, my fellow Democrats, will simply set the stage for our downfall in the next cycle.
Remember when Herbert Hoover got the blame for the excesses which led to the 1929 crash? Could it be that we Democrats will get the credit for bringing America to a worse state? True, it was disastrous Republican leadership that spent us into bankruptcy and plunged us into an unwinnable war. But if Democrats take control, will we persist in driving America onward into a border-less, rule of law-less, leaderless collection of disparately acculturated people?
Key to taking America back on the correct path will be: controlling our ports and borders, identifying who is here legally and illegally; taking action to regulate under presently enacted laws the future of those people who are not here legally.
And then making sure we don't keep importing more people than needed from a world that has already reached finite limits.
Will my party be such a leader, as it was when FDR was elected, or will we follow the dismal trend of the past eight years?
We have heard a Cannon shot over the bow of our ship of state. Am I right that it is a non partisan shot? Stay tuned.
Donald A. Collins [email him], is a freelance writer living in Washington DC and a former long time member of the board of FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform. His views are his own.