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Democrats: whistling past the immigration graveyard
Posted by: mcq on Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Kos points to the VA election and says, "Ha, immigration isn't really a GOP savior":
Voters across Virginia chose candidates in state and local elections yesterday not out of anger over illegal immigration but based on party affiliation, a preference for moderation and strong views on such key issues as residential growth and traffic congestion.
2 points. One, that's because these are state and local elections and immigration (and illegal immigration) are federal problems. And two, not all locations are the same (Dale's recent post also makes that point):
Retired police officer Ed Clark ousted Mayor Tom Selders by a wide margin Tuesday after a hard-fought campaign that often centered on illegal immigration.

Clark had 61 percent of the votes to Selders' 39 percent in unofficial final results.

Immigration is a heated issue in Greeley, where a raid by federal immigration agents in December rounded up about 260 Swift & Co. meatpacking plant workers.

Selders has said such raids create community turmoil that could be avoided with better policies. He was criticized for traveling to Washington in May to discuss the impact of the raids.
Says Kos:
This is important as jittery Democrats (like Rahm Emanuel) advise Democrats to tack Right on the issue. Here we have evidence that the issue wasn't a killer — traditional Democratic issues trumped immigration — while Republican demonization of those scary brown people will kill their long-term electoral prospects by alienating key, fast-growing, immigrant communities.

In other words, while the issue is a certain long-term loser, it doesn't even have short term benefits for the GOP.
My advice to Democrats? Listen to Kos. He has a hell of a track record.
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
Well, it didn’t work in a federal election this year either. I don’t think Dems need to be "open borders" activists, but to think a campaign built on "let’s build a fence that is, in essence, useless" is a loser is delusionary. On another note, and I’m seriously asking, how do you think that the considerably more pro-immigration (of all legalities) corporate wing of the right is going to tolerate the zero-tolerance faction? It’s one thing to nod along with Pat Robertson as long as the tax cuts pass, but this seems like a very different beast.

Also: don’t folks like Claire McCaskill, Jim Webb, Jon Tester, Heath Shuler, etc. sort of negate this talking point about Kos and his community blanketly being wrong?
 
Written By: Oliver Willis
URL: http://www.oliverwillis.com
Correction: I don’t think Dems need to be "open borders" activists, but to think a campaign built on "let’s build a fence that is, in essence, useless" is an automatic winner is delusionary.
 
Written By: Oliver Willis
URL: http://www.oliverwillis.com
"but to think a campaign built on "let’s build a fence that is, in essence, useless" is an automatic winner is delusionary."

It will probably not guarantee an automatic win, but it is certainly an influential issue that will make a difference in a lot of districts. How much difference depends on other issues.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"let’s build a fence that is, in essence, useless"
A fence isn’t useless. Even only partial coverage means less manpower is required to cover that section, freeing them for elsewhere.

 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
I really do not care if it is ’in essence, useless’, as long as it, in reality, works. And it does seem to work wherever it is built.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Oh yeah immigration’s clearly a winner for the GOP...how’s that Tancredo 08 campaign going again?
 
Written By: retief
URL: http://
"...Republican demonization of those scary brown people..."

Republicans are not demonizing scary brown people. It’s folks like KOS deliberately misrepresenting the Republican (ie., general conservative notion that an illegal under-class is a bad thing) as being about color that are demonizing, or even *creating* the idea of scary brown people for political gain.

Because if it’s about RACE then it is no longer necessary to answer questions of policy, economics, or even human rights.

"...will kill their long-term electoral prospects by alienating key, fast-growing, immigrant communities."

TALK to immigrant communities. I’m sure KOS never does. LEGAL immigrants, the ones who play into electoral prospects, often are highly critical of ILLEGAL immigrants. It’s hard to do everything necessary to immigrate legally and it’s unfair to those who did so to allow others to avoid the hassle.

Even in the South West and California the "Mexicans" who have been here since this *was* Mexico... Albuquerque took up collections to send to the rebels fighting the Revolutionary War in New England... often dislike recently arrived illegals immensely. Why? Because THEY get lumped together with the "immigrant community" when their family goes back to land grants more than 300 years ago.
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
In Prince William County, northern Virginia, the County Board of Supervisors were overwhelmingly reelected after their unanimous vote to install one of the toughest anti-illegal alien laws in the country. Many of them ran specifically on an anti-illegal immigration platform, as did my representative to the state legislature, who was also overwhelmingly reelected.

Note the anti- *illegal* immigration thread. Not once did I hear any scare-mongering or blanket condemnations of "brown people".
 
Written By: Ted
URL: rocketjones.mu.nu
This won’t be a major issue in most of the country because it will be easy for Democrats and Republicans to talk around the topic in a way to satisfy voters. If anything, there may be a swing to the Democrats by Hispanic voters who have felt threatened, rightly or wrongly, by conservative rhetoric. But a major campaign issue? Nah, it’s an easy one to finesse for a candidate. And given that recent reform efforts have been supported by the President and many Republicans, it gets murky to try to turn it into partisan politics. Both parties will find it in their interest to talk around this issue.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Yep, Republicans sure hate all immigrants ... ESPECIALLY the brown ones.
 
Written By: SaveFarris
URL: http://
This won’t be a major issue in most of the country because it will be easy for Democrats and Republicans to talk around the topic in a way to satisfy voters. [SNIP] Nah, it’s an easy one to finesse for a candidate.
Did you completely miss the MSM repeatedly putting the boots to Hillary over New York giving drivers’ licenses to illegal aliens?

(Notice I say "aliens" - immigration is a LEGAL process.)
Both parties will find it in their interest to talk around this issue.
On the contrary. I think this is one of those issues that someone has a chance to differentiate themselves from the pack. SERIOUS contenders, not your Tancredos, Pauls, Kucinichs’, Bidens or Dodds.

 
Written By: Jeff
URL: http://repatriate.blogspot.com
Oh yeah immigration’s clearly a winner for the GOP...how’s that Tancredo 08 campaign going again?
Just as with Dale’s flawed logic regarding California, just because there is vast support for a single issue like tougher illegal immigrant restrictions, it doesn’t mean that it will trump all other issues or any other issue for that matter.

I don’t believe that there are many fence sitters out there wondering… gee, Hillary or Rudy? Which one wants to kick these damned eye-legals out? Not enough to tip the scales anyway. (especially in California. Dale, “California could be in play”. LOL… that’s a good one.)

Whoever is the toughest on immigration may win some support among the primaries, but among the general, I don’t see it being that much of a factor to tip the scale one way or another.

Cheers.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
"...Republican demonization of those scary brown people..."

Kind of reminds me of that ’inordinate fear of
communism’ a few years ago.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
When Tancredo suggested nuking Mecca in response to a terror attack, he put himself in the looney pile. That’s like attacking the Vatican in response to an attack in northern Ireland by the IRA.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
One, that’s because these are state and local elections and immigration (and illegal immigration) are federal problems

As far as I can tell, by this sentence you are arguing the following:
That voters who are strongly anti-illegal-immigration at the federal level, form no opinion at all about the viewpoints of their state and local officials on immigration. Someone who likes Tom Tancredo for President will see campaigns by Republicans promising to kick immigrants out of their state/locality, and say to himself "Whatever. it’s a federal problem. I think I’ll vote for a pro-immigration Democrat."

Are you serious? Does this really seem plausible to you, that people who won’t vote for federal pro-immigration candidates will cheerfully vote for state and local pro-immigration candidates?

There’s a much more plausible argument here that goes something like this: people who really care about illegal immigration, enough to pick a candidate on that basis, amount to a quite small percentage of the electorate.

 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
As far as I can tell, by this sentence you are arguing the following:
To save you the effort, what I’m arguing is that most voters understand that state and local politicians don’t make immigration policy or law. Consequently immigration is hardly a top tier issue for state or local elections.

That doesn’t at all mean they have no opinion about the stances of state or local pols on immigration.
Someone who likes Tom Tancredo for President will see campaigns by Republicans promising to kick immigrants out of their state/locality, and say to himself "Whatever. it’s a federal problem. I think I’ll vote for a pro-immigration Democrat."
Nice attempt to conflate illegal and legal immigration. Didn’t work, but nice try.

Most local and state officials aren’t going to have much of a stance on immigration other than being for or against either illegal or legal immigration or both. But if they don’t make it an issue, it most likely won’t be an issue.
Does this really seem plausible to you, that people who won’t vote for federal pro-immigration candidates will cheerfully vote for state and local pro-immigration candidates?
That’s a strawman of your making, ’nost. You can play with it all by yourself.
There’s a much more plausible argument here that goes something like this: people who really care about illegal immigration, enough to pick a candidate on that basis, amount to a quite small percentage of the electorate.
Who is arguing that it is a one issue election? However, my guess is that illegal immigration will be among the top issues for the FEDERAL election. At a state and local level, not so much, except when someone makes it an issue. And the election I note in the post gives you an idea of how that will probably turn out and it indicates that the issue does have some legs even if you’d prefer to pretend it doesn’t.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog

 
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