In the debates on and outside “The Corner” about whether conservatives should support John McCain if he becomes the GOP’s nominee, there is a palpable sense of exasperation emanating from those who think McCain deserves such support. Appeals to other conservatives not to sulk, be negative, or walk away from the field all reflect this very understandable emotion.
If someone–say, Mark Levin–replies that his disagreements of principle with McCain are so deep that he cannot be reasonably expected to forget them and rally round his standard, then the would-be party unifiers point out that Obama and Hillary are separated from him by an even deeper ideological gulf. So Mark should swallow his differences with McCain in order to avert worse from the Democrats.
This is the logic of political coalitions–which national parties are in a two-party system–and most of the time it’s valid. But it’s not always valid.
Many conservatives believe that the key question in this election is: Are there to be two multiculturalist open-borders parties or one? If McCain’s election were to make the GOP fundamentally similar to the Democrats on immigration, bilingualism, racial preferences, and all the National Question issues, that would be a resounding historical defeat for conservatives.
The willingness of a President McCain to cooperate with the Democrats would give such issues as an immigration amnesty a better chance of passage than under a President Hillary or Obama even against strong GOP resistance in Congress. Opponents of such policies, despite enjoying majority support among the voters, would find themselves politically marginalized. On the other hand, a united Republican opposition might well stop a Democratic White House from passing these measures because its party would be nervous of finding itself on the wrong side of a popular issue in the next midterm elections.
And there is another factor this time. Any bill similar to the senator’s “comprehensive” immigration reform would accelerate the GOP’s relative demographic decline by creating new voters overwhelmingly likely to vote Democrat in a quicker time scale. This dominant Democratic majority would emerge fully only after a hypothetical President McCain left office, but its approach would cloud the future of every other Republican incumbent.
All these fears lie at the root of conservative reluctance to endorse Senator McCain. Fortunately for him there is a simple way to dispel them. He can give an unequivocal assurance that he will not support such a bill, and that, if one is passed despite his opposition, he will veto it. No ifs, buts, or maybes. Thus far he has refused to do so.