This is from Politico.com:
Immigration is new affirmative action - Politico.com
By: Peter A. Brown
November 16, 2007 06:39 AM EST
Immigration is becoming for the 2008 election what affirmative action/racial preferences was 15 years ago — the kind of emotional wedge issue that offers Republicans a way to split rank-and-file Democrats from their leaders.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the battle over programs aimed at helping minorities was a major factor in many political campaigns. The election results often appeared to contradict what seemed to be the public’s opinion on the issue.
Looking back, much of the confusion stemmed from the wording of many poll questions on the subject. They tended to show strong support for “affirmative action,” which was how the programs were described by supporters and, often, the media.
But opponents used the term “racial preferences” to describe programs that often gave minorities an edge in competition for college admission and jobs. When pollsters used that language to describe the programs, they found strong public opposition.
Affirmative action is an issue similar to immigration today, one on which Democratic activists, but not necessarily the mass of party members, differ from the general electorate. Activists often infer their opponents are racially motivated — creating strong and often hostile feelings on both sides.
I think he means "imply" here, when he says "infer" but that's a technicality of language that need not detain us—whether they'rededucing or hinting that people who want to defend the border, or reduce numbers of illegals are racists is irrelevant. The point here is that the Democratic Party leadership is ideologically committed to minorities, even if said minorities are not Americans. And they can't change that.
This means, of course, that if Republicans are willing to oppose illegal immigration, and lower the numbers of legal immigrants, they would have no problem winning the votes of Reagan Democrats, who arealso Buchanan Democrats, regular guys with regular jobs who are bound to be more numerous than the Editorial Board of the Wall Street Journal, who only have 13 actual votes.
However, there's a better than even chance they'll just wimp out—see for example this case, where Alex Castellanos , who made the famous anti-preference "white hands" ad for Jesse Helms has recanted:
"In 1990, media consultant Alex Castellanos produced the Helms reelection commercial showing a white man's hands ripping up a job rejection slip as the narrator said, "You needed that job . . . but they had to give it to a minority." Castellanos, [send him mail] asked if he would use in 2004 an ad along the lines of his famous "white hands" commercial of 1990, said: "The world has changed. That was 100 years ago — longer." GOP Pins Its Future On Wooing Minorities, By Thomas B. Edsall Washington Post,December 23, 2002]
Or take 2003's Michigan Cases, where we wrote about the Bush administration's cowardice on the subject of racial preferences:
When the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review the Michigan cases, the Bush Administration was widely expected to file amicus curiaebriefs opposing the University's use of quotas. (Amicus curiae briefs are filed by non-parties that have an interest in a case's outcome. The Michigan cases have drawn more than any previous Supreme Court case – most support the University.) But after Trent Lott's maladroit birthday kiss to Strom Thurmond, the Administration waffled. Finally, Solicitor General Theodore Olson did indeed file briefs opposing explicit racial quotas—but no more.
As VDARE.COM's Steve Sailer predicted, the BushRoveans are trying to have it both ways. They hope to dupe the Republican faithful with a rejection of the most blatant form of affirmative action. Simultaneously, they aim to appease the racial lobbies and diversity racketeers by advocating nothing that might actually make admissions race-neutral.
What the Administration is really asking for: a reaffirmation of the affirmative action status quo of the last 25 years – discriminate, don't tell.
So, yes, immigration is "the new affirmative action" in that it provides Republicans with a chance to make great electoral gains by standing on principle. But don't hold your breath.