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January 28, 2013

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"Obviously, Bush and Rove understood that alienating and enraging a voting bloc was stupid and short-sighted, but the activist conservative base ignored them and killed the bill."

The activist conservative base of the Republican party don't count as a "voting bloc"?

Except that the activist conservative base isn't about to vote for the Democrats. Whereas the Hispanics clearly were.

I think Fox is split on the issue. There are some voices on Fox that clearly feed anti-minority hatred, and this obviously hits immigrants (take 'undermining the white power structure you and me belong to' by Mr. O'Reilly) but on the other hand Fox was clearly pro-Bush and is pro-business. So, I's say it's mixed messages from them.

What is it with captcha? This time it was 'certain esionnra' (easy on NRA?)

But they are entirely capable of being enraged, I am sure you'll agree with that. And of not supporting the party's candidates, or of primarying incumbents.

There is no position the Republican, (Or Democratic!) party can adopt on immigration without pissing somebody off. The question is who they will chose to piss off, and it is somewhat of an open question, when it is proposed they change their stance on something, whether they lose more votes by pissing off the people who were inclined to vote for them, than they gain by sucking up to the people who weren't.

In this case, I think the answer is fairly easy, as most of the people the GOP's current position on immgration alienates are either devoted Democrats already, or non-citizens.

The GOP can piss off their dying base, or hispanics. The dynamic facing the Dems is much more favorable.

And your assertion about "non-citizens" is farcical.* There are 50 million Hispanics here of which 12 million or so may be illegals. The GOP has managed to pretty much piss them all off.

The GOP is dead set on blowing off the following groups:

blacks
hispanics
women

Your party, in its current incantation, is politically doomed absent gerrymandering and voter suppression. Deal with it.

*all the illegals here in Seattle vote for Jim McDermott, most of them more than once! We have regular training sessions at all the Home Depots. And they have free cell phones!!!!!

Doc,

I suspect the business community is willing to let the GOP base run with this issue as long as the politics are favorable. After all, without 'reform' in this area they still can pretty much take advantage of this clandestine (in the legal sense) labor force and have their way.

Looking at it this way, you can see why Fox didn't go all Lou Dobbs on this issue.

Admittedly, it would have been more optimal for the GOP had they not spent 30 years flooding the US with illegal immigrants before finally getting serious about enforcing the border. But there's no particular reason to think that, by breaking with their base on this subject, they'd actually get those Latino votes. This would require the GOP's position on illegal immigration to be the reason they're not doing so well with Latinos, and polling suggests it's not the real problem.

With the exception of actual illegal immigrants, opposition to an amnesty doesn't actually poll badly. The GOP would unquestionably lose more votes by going soft on illegal immigration than they'd gain.

How does "going soft on illegal immigration" lose the GOP votes? Who are those voters going to vote for instead? (Unless you think that there are a lot of flaming liberals out there who have been voting for the GOP because of their stance on immigration....)

With half the people who could vote staying home in a typical election, it seems obtuse to ask "who are they going to vote for instead?"

Nobody, that's who. Which is about 50% as bad for a party as, "the other guys".

Oddly, I find myself mostly agreeing with Brett on his analyses of the issue here: the Republicans, more so than the Democrats, have had their voting bases split on the details of "immigration reform": which goes back, I think to the reasons President Bush's "initiatives" failed: Fox News and their opinionizing notwithstanding.

In MY analysis (as best I recall), Bush's immigration-reform proposals most likely failed because they were supposed to fail. IIRC, it came down like this: the Administration floated a "reform" plan; the Usual Suspects shot it down in Congress for the Usual Reasons: and since No One Could Get Anything Done, the Admin could simply throw up its hands, decry something-or-other about Congress, and the country would go on with the status quo re the widespread employment of undocumented ("illegal") immigrants. Which of course, was the whole point of the exercise (maintaining the status quo).

And of course, it had the additional political bonus of providing both sides with SOMEONE ELSE to blame....

I think few white voters vote primarily on immigration, so the republicans can in fact afford to soften on this area without losing much of its base. On the otherhand, there is likely a portion of the hispanic voters who would vote anti-choice if that vote was not for someone also anti-immigrant. Currently they are the same candidate.

The point is that you have to identify "issue voters" and not preferences when it comes to polling. Just like the NRA has figured out, you can make an "issue voter" vote against self interest in many other areas so long as you are with them on thier priority.

It may be, as JayC suggests, that Bush's effort was cynical and intended to fail, but the political landscape is different today.

It comes down to states and the electoral college. Neveda has become a blue state in large part because of the union-orgainzed Hispanic population. Hispanics helped make Colorado a state that is trending blue. And the Democratci party has its longterm sights on flipping Texas through voter registeration of the Hispanic population.

In other words if the Republicans can't win with voter suppression of legal voters or disenfranchise Democrats by geeerry mandering the Electors of chosen blue states, then they better start picking up some Hispanci voters in states that are ried now but could change as demographics change.

That's the reality that is penetrating the minds of people like Rove.

(Note the difference in how Democerats and Republican pla for the long run. Democrats plan voter registration drives. Repubicans plan voter suppression laws, gerry mandering of COngressional districts and diorty tricks with the Elctoral College).

Brett, if a lot of voters stayed home as a result, then it would be just as you say. But would they? Would immigration reform alone be enough to convince them to stay home, and let the Democrats (who they disagree with far more, on far more issues) win? That's taking purity or nothing to a really impressive level.

Although I confess, having watched by state party keep nominating people who guarantee that Senator Boxer keeps getting re-elected, you might be correct.

You seem to be assuming that immigration is the only thing standing between the GOP and a tidal wave of Latino votes. And it does not appear to me this is the case.

Here's what would happen if the GOP did what you suggest: The vast majority of existing Republicans would become anywhere from mildly ticked off to storming out of the room mad. And there would be a VERY slight shift on the margin among Latinos towards the Republican party. And the Republican party would lose net votes.

The two problems being that the pool of Latinos who would vote Republican if it weren't for immigration, and only immigration, is fairly small, Latinos are voting Democratic for other reasons. While the pool of existing Republican voters who'd be turned off is... practically all of them.

No, it's a serious loser for the GOP to go squishy on immigration. Or else they'd have long since done it, the leadership sure as heck want to.

Do we have some reliable numbers on what average Republicans actually think on that? GOP/TP primary voters are not necessarily representative of the party as a whole. And it would be nice to see numbers on specific proposals or this will look like the polling on HCR, i.e. overwhelming approval for the individual parts but strong disapproval from GOP voters if it is presented as 'Obamacare'.

The GOP has one problem: even if the party leadership would genuinely move towards Latinos and a majority of members would follow, this would not stop the rabid fringe from giving the opposite impression. As long as genuinely unhinged people with big megaphones are part of the party image, successes will be very limited.
Personally I think the GOP is still playing The wolf and the seven young kids and looking for the right type of chalk to eat.

So, if immigration reform is a net vote loser, and demographics are tending seriously away from the GOP base, how do you propose that the GOP come back?

Or are you thinking that there is no need to change policies at all? If so, where do you think the necessary votes will come from? Not just to reach the point where we can eke out a win occasionally, if everything breaks right. But where we can win half the time, and win big if everything breaks right.

Note that I am not saying that there are not some GOP policies which would do well. Just that the current package has too many deal breakers, for too many people, to succeed.

Well, as I understand the polling, the problem is not so much that the nominal Repubican position on immigration is a loser. It's that the higher ups in the Republican party do a flat out lousy job of selling it, because they don't agree with the Republican position.

It's a perenial problem in the GOP, that the party establishment doesn't agree with it's own platform, but is stuck with it because the party's base likes it. So they simply make sure they lose.

Had an easier time looking like they weren't throwing the fight before they broke the Democratic party's hold on Congress. These days when they take a dive, people have no trouble recognizing that's what they've done, and it hurts them badly.

But they keep trying to get away with it, and I fully expect them to screw over their base on immigration, and then be shocked at their poor performance in 2014.

apropos of nothing: ideologues everywhere sound the same.

Getting the party's leadership more in sync with the base would appear to mean either broadening the base (to move the center of mass closer to where the leadership already is), or replacing the current leadership with people more comfortably aligned with the base.

Especially with more safe seats now available in Congress, it ought to be possible to make a shift in the latter direction. But it is curious that more hasn't been done in that direction already. I mean, it would make sense to put up more conservative nominees for positions that the party can hold regardless (rather than what we saw this past couple of elections, where more conservative nominees for Senate seats meant losing offices that could have been won). How long do you expect the transition to take, assuming that is the way things work out?

I agree with Brett that a more pro-immigration policy would be a net political loser for Republicans now. And it's too late to change that. But there was a time, not all that long ago, when many Republicans thought they could pick up significant Hispanic votes because Hispanics are, in their view, religious, culturally conservative, hard-working, and ignorant. Back then, the Republicans had to make a choice between heating up the base and quietly treating immigration as a wonky, technical, numbers-based issue (while probably not actually doing anything that would, in fact, piss off the base). They did what they did, and they are whare they are.

The GOP is going to have to put a poison pill in this bill. For years they have been telling their low information voters that ALL the problems in this country are due to the Mexicans here LIVIMG off the government. How can the repubs possible sell this to their base?

"And it's too late to change that. But there was a time, not all that long ago, when many Republicans thought they could pick up significant Hispanic votes because Hispanics are, in their view, religious, culturally conservative, hard-working, and ignorant."

I'm pretty sure you just stuck that last in to be annoying.

Yes, there was a time when they thought they could get the votes of Hispanics. They had no basis to think they'd do it by going squishy on illegal immigration. But going squishy was something they independently wanted to do, and appealing to Hispanics makes a semi-plausible excuse.

The real problem is that, way back when, during the Reagan administration, they offered an historic bargain: Amnesty in return for border enforcement. And then didn't deliver border enforcement.

Now nobody believes in grand bargains anymore, and everybody understands that "comprehensive immigration reform" means "Amnesty, let more in, rinse and repeat".

Can't have a compromise once you've demonstrated you cheat.

For years they have been telling their low information voters that ALL the problems in this country are due to the Mexicans here LIVIMG off the government

Not all problems; A problem. If self-styled policy wonks can't see any issues with wholesale violation of immigration policy accompanied by increased stress on social support infrastructure and budgets, they need to stop claiming to be policy wonks. IMO, of course; YMMV.

That said, there's widespread disagreement on how best to address the problem, with some extraordinarily ill-conceived notions put into place by Republicans. Politicians are stupid, and think that building walls to keep out illegals is a good idea, and that banning guns that have bayonet lugs makes sense. For every problem, there is a law that will fix it. Members of Congress are the world's biggest bag of hammers, to which every problem looks like a nail.

"So, if immigration reform is a net vote loser, and demographics are tending seriously away from the GOP base, how do you propose that the GOP come back?"

As pointed put above - voter suppression and gerrymandering.

But Barry, voter suppression has not been particularly successful. In fact, there is some anectdotal evidence that it brought out more people (and made people more willing to stand in line for hours) than if it hadn't been tried. In short, it may even be a net vote loser.

As for Gerrymandering, while it may be effective for Congress (and state legislatures), isn't an option to get you to the Presidency.

... it is if you tie your electoral votes to congressional districts (a la VA)

and PA...

I think the lack of "success" demonstrates how inappropriate the term "voter suppression" really is for the mild measures the GOP supports, such as ID requirements, and asking people to vote on election day. "Indifferent voter suppression" might be a more accurate term for what the GOP is attempting, to discourage voting by people who likely don't care enough to have become informed voters.

So they can still lose when the vote is limited to people who care enough to show up. That blows some popular Republican theories.

As for Gerrymandering, my prescription is at large PR. Most of the "gerrymandering" has been accomplished by where people chose to live, and exacerbated by the Voting Right act's demand for "majority-minority" districts. You could counter-gerrymander to compensate for living patterns, but the district designs would have to be quite extreme, and the Congressional Black caucus would vanish after the next election.

Let's just go for at-large PR, and make the shape of the districts irrelevant.

i like the idea of at-large representation, but i think you'd find all the reps circling the big cities, ignoring the needs of non-urban sections of the state because there aren't enough voters there.

what are the odds anyone in NY north of White Plains would get a say in anything ? 0. NYC would completely dictate NY's representation.

I think the lack of "success" demonstrates how inappropriate the term "voter suppression" really is for the mild measures the GOP supports, such as ID requirements, and asking people to vote on election day.

How mild a measure like ID requirements is depends not only on the measure itself but the timing. When you attempt to institute such a measure shortly before an election, it can get into the the medium or hot range (salsa scale), particularly when it's very, very clear that it will mostly affect particular subsets of voters when done that way.

In PA (not referring to gerrymandering, but ID laws), a court stepped in and said, rather literally, "not so fast," which would help explain the lack of "success" in that particular instance. The intent of the law and its timing was clear, but you can pretend otherwise if you're so inclined.

"but i think you'd find all the reps circling the big cities, ignoring the needs of non-urban sections of the state because there aren't enough voters there."

Every politician who does as you suggest they do, will leave behind voters looking for somebody who doesn't do that. Representing rural voters will be a niche market, but a market which will be served.

More important, to my mind, is that the rural Democrats, and urban Republicans won't be disenfranchised anymore. Under PR there's no reason you have to go unrepresented just because a few more of your neighbors disagree with you than agree with you.

it is if you tie your electoral votes to congressional districts (a la VA)

cleek, that works if you do it only in states that you would have lost, and don't let it happen in states that you would have won. But it seems likely to get dicey to try and maintain that kind of discrimination. Although it would be amusing to see what kind of rationale they would come up with to justify it....

Brett, I can't say how others are using the term. But when I hear "voter suppression" I think of two things:

1) voter ID laws rushed through without time for those voters without them to make arrangements to go get them. Especially when the places which can provide the appropriate IDs are limited (geographically and/or hours). HSH already covered that.

2) location and resources for polling places. You have some polling places where there are no lines, and everybody can get in and out in 10 minutes or so, and others where the lines are hours long. And, amazingly enough, the former are in areas which tend to vote for the party in charge of elections, while the latter are in areas which tend to vote for the other party. Unless you can show that there were substantial changes in the number of voters showing up (relative to the number registered), that sure looks like an attempt at suppression to me. And the fact that it was only marginally successful, because a lot of people were willing to stand in line for the hours necessary, doesn't change that.

Yes, there was a time when they thought they could get the votes of Hispanics. They had no basis to think they'd do it by going squishy on illegal immigration.

Well, how did you expect them to do it? Real border security is just plain hard and costs a lot, as anyone who can read a map or has seen our southwestern border could figure out. We probably do it about as well as can be expected short of enacting exactly the kind of boob-bait for bubbas that would, predictably, piss off Hispanics big-time if anyone even semi-seriously advocated it. There was no way to play both to the Hispanics and the bubbas; any loud play for one would turn the other against them. And they didn't try to play quiet.

You know there's got to be a reason why the US Geological Survey has generated high resolution orthorectified imagery in a broad swath across much of the US-Mexico border. I don't know what that reason is, but that kind of thing isn't free of cost.

Who needs reasons? But is this imagery part of a http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=1425> larger program?

Given that the up front costs are "large" (in comparison to what is a good question), it would seem the marginal costs of more imagery is fairly insignificant.

Hammers. Nails. Pound 'em I say.

Even if the Southern border looked like a combination of Berlin Wall and Korean DMZ, it would not 'solve' the problem since a significant part of the 'illegals' enters/ed the country legally but does/did not leave when the visa ran out.

Well, naturally a Latino Exclusion Act could take care of that[/sarcasm]

I don't know if it's part of a larger program, bobbyp, but it's not satellite imagery. The imagery that I am talking about was obtained from aircraft and has a resolution of 0.3m, which is not the very highest obtainable, but it covers a really large area.

Look here, for instance, and search the page for "US Mexico Border". "Seamless" means it's a continuous swath, and it comes with position data so that you know exactly where you're looking. And that swath is over 30 miles wide. It extends that far on the US side, and extends a few miles into Mexico. And as far as I can tell it now covers the entire US Mexico border, which means our government has taken the effort to record over 60,000 square miles of terrain in RGB imagery at a resolution of about 1 foot, and then rectify it.

That probably cost some money to do.

No idea why, nor really am I inclined to look. It's more fun to speculate, isn't it?

You can see the swath I am talking about by going here, and then (under Imagery) checking the boxes for 1-foot imagery outlines.

I think it is snobbish to assume that the people who stood in line as much as four hours in Scott's Florida were less informed.

BTW there's good research data on the issue and guess who is not just underinfomed, but activitely misinformed? Faux News watchers. Misiinformed as in mistaken about objective basic facts.

No one would have to design thought pretzel rationalizations for Repubican voter shenanigans if the Republican party wasn't engaged in the shenanigans.

In my blue state every registered voter regardless of party gets their ballot in the mail. Democrats don't have to runaround confabulating rationalizations for that. Democrats want everyone to be able to vote, including Repubicans.

The whole discussion about souvereignity strikes me as being a dodge. AS someone upthread pointed out, if Repubicans really cared about fairness they would be advocating for linking the electoral vote to the Congressional districts in red states so that the Democrats in those states could get some electoral votes. But they are not, of course.

Or they would be advocating for getting rid of the Electoral College altogether andgoing with the popular vote. But they are not.

The patttern is that Repubicans push options that restrict access and representation for people who might not vote for Republicans. Hence the need for all the rationalizing and dodging.

"I think it is snobbish to assume that the people who stood in line as much as four hours in Scott's Florida were less informed."

Indeed, I agree, as a close reading of what I wrote would have inclined you to understand.

The theory here is that putting minor impediments in the way of voting winnows out those who are indifferently motivated, who are also presumed to be indifferently motivated to inform themselves about the issues. Somebody who is willing to wait for hours in a line can be presumed to be highly motivated, and thus would NOT be presumed to be less informed.

And I take it as a given that neither Republicans or Democrats have nearly as much interest in fairness as in winning.

The theory here is that putting minor impediments in the way of voting winnows out those who are indifferently motivated, who are also presumed to be indifferently motivated to inform themselves about the issues.

and what about the indifferently motivated "conservative" who just doesn't like the squish the GOP put up for the top nomination and is gonna stay home and brush up on his Constitution instead of waiting in line to vote? should we assume he's un-informed, or just un-enthused ?

Not to mention the difference between being unmotivated and resource constrained...

Brett can't conceive of a person who isn't permitted by his/her employer to take 4+ hours off to vote. And if they do exist, they're probably Democrats, so screw 'em.

"Somebody who is willing to wait for hours in a line can be presumed to be highly motivated, and thus would NOT be presumed to be less informed."

That must be the line with the old guy in the tri-cornered hat, hooked up to a subsidized oxygen bottle and wearing a button that declares "Keep the government's hands off my Medicare!" on one lapel and another on the opposite lapel that says "This way to Breitbart Nation!"

Can we form another line for the passionate, enthused armed folks, variously informed, cause that's where I expect the overenthusiastic trouble is going to start that will make voting pretty much unnecessary?

My copy of the Constitution shows no original intent to restrict voting to ENTHUSED and INFORMED white male voters with property but rather and merely to white male voters with property, which winnows the field down purtin near to only the fellas at three or four right-wing websites, FOX News, the NRA, and the National Review.

I understand from the gun hearings the other day that the tens of millions of housewives who have armed themselves with AR15s are permitted in that line, but who is going to tell them any different?

Otherwise, the enthused and informed individuals among us, with or without male appendages, were placed in a separate line, the end of which is around the block.

Just keep walking, you'll come to it eventually.

Slarti, if that USGS stuff a 1 foot resolution is aimed at illegal immigration, why do I see that my country (at least 6 hours' drive north of the border) is mapped at that resolution? Yes, it's in California, but it's not exactly where you go to look for border security issues.

People who support the concept of represetative democracy don't strive to put impediments in the way of legal voters voting. At all. Ever.

The suggestion that a government, comprised of politicians, can ethically decide to make it hard for peole to vote in order to thin out those folks that the politician assumes are under-informed...for crying out loud. That's horrible even without the inevitable conflating of "uninformed" with voters of the other party.

And the claim that both sides do it is unsupported by facts.

Again there would be no need to rationalize unethical behavior onthe part of Repubican poiticians if they didn't behave unethically so often and so cosistantly.

The imagery that I am talking about was obtained from aircraft and has a resolution of 0.3m, which is not the very highest obtainable, but it covers a really large area.

I went to the site and, due to my own technogeek cluelessness, did not get to gaze in awe at the detail photos. I did see a "line" along the southern border...Izza't it? So yes, quite interesting. Nothing comparable on the Canadian border? UC Berkeley campus? Oakland?

So people are flying airplanes all over the place and taking photos....and they say government doesn't "create jobs". Heh. Obviously this was done to drive Republicans and other fiscal scolds mad.

Thanks.

Slarti, if that USGS stuff a 1 foot resolution is aimed at illegal immigration, why do I see that my country (at least 6 hours' drive north of the border) is mapped at that resolution? Yes, it's in California, but it's not exactly where you go to look for border security issues.

I'm not saying I know what it's for; I'm saying I absolutely do not know what it's for. Your area being mapped at that resolution is unremarkable. What is to me remarkable is that the entire US-Mexico border, including close to 10 miles of Mexico itself, consisting almost entirely of desert, is mapped at that resolution.

YMMV. I'm not really hinting at anything, because frankly I lack the imagination to make any exciting possibilities up. I just thought it was odd, is all.

Rattlesnake census?


Posted by: wj

"But Barry, voter suppression has not been particularly successful. In fact, there is some anectdotal evidence that it brought out more people (and made people more willing to stand in line for hours) than if it hadn't been tried. In short, it may even be a net vote loser."

Another way to say it is that the GOP didn't cheat enough.

"As for Gerrymandering, while it may be effective for Congress (and state legislatures), isn't an option to get you to the Presidency."

Actually, it is, as has been pointed out in various news articles. Alter a bunch of states' method for allocating electoral votes, and it's quite doable to change the results. And, of course, stronger gerrymandering means strong single-party control at the state level, which means that more vote suppression can be done (6-hour lines? shoot for 12-hour lines!).

As the s/w/a/l/l/o/w/s r/e/t/u/r/n t/o C/a/p/i/s/t/r/a/n/o dog returneth to his vomit, so the Senate returns to immigration reform.

FTFY.

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