Some conservatives in this town take issue with the POLITICO’s editorial leanings. At times, present company included. However, it is a good publication. The folks who started it are among the best reporters in this town and they understand how public policy and news works. Take immigration.
A few days ago POLITICO published an piece on immigration reform that struck a nerve with folks on my side of the aisle. The only mistake I saw in the story, however, was the headline: “Immigration reform could be a bonanza for Democrats.” The headline should have used will instead of could. Some folks on our side of the aisle complaining about the piece.
I’ve been hearing the same song on immigration reform for decades. It is from an old familiar score. The Democrats know how to politically manipulate it. No matter the outcome, they win. If there is no reform (i.e., amnesty) they will blame us as heartless and mean. If there is reform (i.e., amnesty), they will harvest a new generation of voters and the Republicans will be weakened with Hispanics for many years. I’m not an electoral number cruncher, but ask folks who are. A majority of them would agree. At least off the record.
Why does incremental reform make sense for Republicans? Because it is political hari-kiri otherwise. This does not mean we ignore future voters. Quite the opposite. We must do a better job cultivating future voters from all backgrounds and with an issue-based approach. If we do that, especially with voters of Hispanic ancestry, we will win folks over time and time again.
As a first generation American, and one of Hispanic ancestry, I find my party’s position on this issue way off base. If I wanted to be treated as a hyphenated American, I would be a Democrat. If we wanted to politically balkanize the country, we’d be Democrats. And, by the way, not all Democrats agree with this approach but they are muffled by the liberal wing of the party.
We should thank POLITICO for penning the raw political truth. Rather than go along with the left’s approach to this issue, let’s develop our brand. On our own. That battle is not here in Washington, but back home in communities and neighborhoods. We need political warriors and thinkers in the front lines who can communicate our message of less government, less taxes, and more opportunity.
For now, immigration, as a political issue, is a sideshow and the GOP best distance ourselves from it or come up with an incremental reform plan that puts our imprimatur on the matter.