The Corner

Missing the Forest for the Trees

Politico reports that “Republicans fear Latino flight,” citing the same false numbers about Bush’s 2004 reelection, and relying heavily on sources who, whatever their undoubted virtues, profit financially from increased outreach to Hispanics. But regardless of the validity of the piece, the inordinate focus on Hispanic outreach is a cop out. The Republican party is getting clobbered across the board, as this Gallup poll shows. GOP identification dropped from 2001 in every demographic group they identified, except for frequent churchgoers, where it remained unchanged. A 9-point drop among 18-29 year-olds or the unchurched is expected (though obviously a problem), but a similar drop in the Midwest, which used to represent the core of the party, would seem to be a pretty big deal. Note the 9-point drop among the low income, the 9-point drop among middle income, and 7-point drop among upper income. Five-point drop among women, 6 points among whites, and 7 points among men. The survey didn’t pull out Hispanic votes, maybe because there weren’t enough of them in 2001 to get a statistically valid result, but it doesn’t change my point: Obsessing specifically about Hispanic voters is like putting diet whipped cream on the pint of ice cream you have for dessert — it’s a way of avoiding the real problem, which is that the Republican party has made itself unappealing to just about every demographic group there is. Change the trend and Hispanic voters — who are, after all, citizens concerned with the same things as everyone else — will follow, though still mainly staying in the Democratic party, historically the political home of those, as David Frum has put it, “who felt themselves in some way marginal to the American experience.” That marginality will end only if we bring an end to this latest wave of mass immigration and reprise the muscular assimilation policies that worked in the past.


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