California Republicans and Demography

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California’s Republicans have gotten the negative notice of The Economist, no small feat, considering that the magazine covers the world and only runs eight or so articles on the whole of the United States in a week. Titled Dead, or just resting? the main thrust is that California Republicans are so deeply unpopular with Hispanics and Asians who are an increasing percentage of the state’s population, that they are in danger of becoming extinct. The meat:

For although the Democrats have their crazies—largely of the green or unionised sort—they have also picked up most of the rising Latino and Asian political talent. And they tend to be moderate, or even conservative. This may help explain why independent voters in California lean Democratic in elections.

Mr Hoffenblum minces no words about what caused this loss for Republicans. It is the “shrillness” of their rhetoric against illegal immigrants, which has “totally turned off Latinos and Asians in this state,” even those who are citizens or legal immigrants. In effect, he says, the Republicans have made themselves “the white man’s party” and “alienated the fastest growing voting block.”

As an angry white man myself, it’s hard for me to assess the truth of this matter directly. But I know this, all of the statewide were won by Democrats in 2010, in a year where Republicans did well throughout the rest of the country. I also notice that Hispanics and Asians tend to be much more culturally conservative than the mainstream of Democrat politicians.

What’s to be done? Certainly getting the border problem fixed and off the table might help. For whatever reason, the conventional wisdom is that emphasis on border enforcement is perceived as “racist.” I know it is not, but changing the perception seems difficult. Border enforcement is actually a more humane policy than what is currently in place, but why the bad perception? Perhaps we should show our support for a rational policy that allows guest workers into America so that our opposition to lax border enforcement won’t be viewed as based on the desire to keep out a particular ethnicity. For more on this topic see polls by Bob Moore and Marty Wilson that tends to support this view.

I think that we should also look to recruit conservative Hispanic and Asian Democrats who have already been elected to local office into the Republican party. Perhaps, some who are frustrated with their ability to make progress on their issues within the Democrat party. Without a concerted effort to reach out, we will not be able to offer our superior ideas for governing California, because we will be shut out of the political process. In Texas and Florida, Hispanics seem to vote Republican in much greater percentages than in California, so this problem need not be permanent.

California needs a two party system. The failure of the Governor to offer any kind of meaningful pension reform for state employees is proof that one party rule will be a disaster.

Some notes from the poll I cited above:

• There is a way for GOP candidates to talk about immigration. More than seven-in-ten voters will consider a candidate who says, “secure the border first, stop illegal immigration, then find a way to address the status of people already here illegally” (73 percent favorable reaction).

• More than six-in-ten Latino voters are likely to consider voting for a GOP candidate who would “ensure all children had a chance at a first rate education” (69 percent), who they agreed with on improving the economy and creating jobs (65 percent) and with whom they agree on protecting America from terrorists (63 percent).

• Latino voters are more pro-life on abortion (45 percent say they are pro-choice, 45 percent pro-life) than voters are statewide (56 percent of voters statewide say they are pro-choice and 36 percent pro-life).

Cross posted from The Liberator Today.


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