Saturday, April 07, 2012

Hispanics favor big, activist government

As the Hispanic tidal wave perpetually approaches election cycle after election cycle, always just about to crash upon the shoreline of US politics, establishment types repeatedly talk about the urgency with which Republicans need to Hispander or face electoral oblivion. This latest WSJ article is just the most recent incarnation of the phenomenon:
Congressional Republicans and Mitt Romney's presidential campaign are working to fashion proposals that could make up ground with Hispanic voters, concerned rhetoric on immigration from many in the party is turning away the increasingly powerful constituency.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) [what a great vice presidential candidate he would make!] is developing a scaled-back version of the Dream Act, which would allow people brought to the U.S. as children to gain legal status, but not citizenship, if they enroll in college or the military. Several Senate Republicans have signed on to bipartisan legislation aimed at broadening access to the legal immigrant visa system.

The Romney campaign is looking for new proposals that would show he backs legal immigration, trying to pivot from a primary campaign in which he has taken a tough line on assistance to those here illegally.
That there were ten non-Hispanic white voters for every one Hispanic voter in the 2008 Presidential election, and that swing states are less Hispanic than the country as a whole is are never mentioned in articles like these, of course. While this undue emphasis is annoying, though, it's the self-immolating idiocy of Republican pols that really goads me:
Many Republicans, including Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), argue that if the party could get past the immigration issue, it would be the natural home for many more Latino voters, who are often socially conservative and value entrepreneurship.
The mantra about Hispanic social conservatism (to the extent that it rests on any actual evidence at all) rests almost entirely on modestly stronger opposition to abortion among Hispanics than among non-Hispanics. Well, black opposition to abortion is similarly stronger than non-black opposition is. Maybe Graham has read Jeffrey Kuhner and plans to have the GOP steal black votes from Obama next!

The Pew Hispanic Center provides a dose of reality in a report on Hispanics in the US released earlier this week. The following table breaks down Hispanic and non-Hispanic responses to a dichotomous question on whether one would "rather have a small government providing fewer services or a bigger government providing more services":

Small gov'tBig gov'tDK/Refused

The non-Hispanic figure includes blacks, so the non-Hispanic white/Hispanic gap is even larger than the table makes it appear to be. Hispanics, who tend to be poorer than whites, are more likely to receive government benefits and less likely to pay for them than white Americans are, so it's hardly a surprise that they are more favorably inclined towards big government and the associated wealth transfers that come with it than whites are.

Some other interesting findings from the Pew report:

- Despite the push from above to rebrand Hispanics as "Latinos", actual Hispanics, er, Latinos, actually prefer the "Hispanic" descriptor by more than a 2-to-1 margin.

- Similarly, by a more than 2-to-1 margin, Hispanics (I'll defer to them and continue to employ this term rather than adopt SWPL's favored pet name) do not think of themselves as an umbrella ethnic group sharing a common culture. This is lost on media types and obtuse pols like Newt Gingrich, who were surprised to find that Cubans in Florida don't care much about illegal immigration from Mexico into the US' Southwest.

- Hispanics primarily think of themselves with regard to their country of origin. While 51% of Hispanics think of themselves in this way (as Mexicans, Cubans, Guatemalans, etc), 24% think of themselves as Hispanic/Latino. Only 21% think of themselves as Americans.

- A staggering 95% of Hispanics say it is either "very important" or "somewhat important" that future generations of Hispanics living in the US are able to speak Spanish. See, they're assimilating just like my German grandmother did when she schooled my mother, who of course schooled me, in the German language I speak so fluently today! Fortunately, 87% of Hispanics also assert that Hispanics in the US need to learn English to succeed here. Bilingualism for all!


Jokah Macpherson said...

I read the WSJ article earlier this week and found it excrutiatingly bad. The Republican establishment still seems deadset on courting Hispanics, though, 'cause after all, there's still a chance these "natural conservatives" will one day come around.

Noah172 said...

The Republicans are truly the Stupid Party, and the Democrats the Evil Party. May they both rot in h-e-l-l.

Then again, I suspect that if you cornered GOP officials and activists in private, many would agree that groveling to Hispanics (and blacks) is a fruitless effort on its own terms. The Republicans engage in this shameful behavior because if they did not: 1) the left (the SWPLs and the, ahem, Culture of Critique practitioners) and the neoconservatives (most of them also Culture-of-Critiquers) would savage the GOP as racist monsters even more than they do already; and 2), moderate white voters (especially suburban women) don't want to feel guilty about voting for a party that seems "mean" or not "inclusive," or some other Oprah-style reasoning.

It is a bank shot. Shoot your appeal at the vibrant ones, watch it bounce off and deflect toward the moderate whites, who were the real goal in the first place.

Anonymous said...

I think this is a straight out competence issue.

48% of non hispanics and 19% of hispanics want smaller government because they are more able/competent at procuring any given service than government is at providing it.

My mother used to tell me that deep down most people know who they are. So, people confident that they can do it better themselves don't want to be a serf on Uncle Sam's plantation. But those who know they can't, also know someone is going to have to give it to them else they won't get any.

I mean probably most of us here have had the experience of giving someone a job to do which we could have done better ourselves. Plenty of folks our there have never had that experience. Deep down they know that there is damned little they and those like themselves could actually do for themselves.

Jehu said...

A less-stupid party might talk pandering to illegal aliens and the like while governing 'Operation Wetback II'. Unfortunately the tendency is more for the reverse.

Matthew said...

I have *no* problem with courting Hispanics, just so long as our courtship is as serious as it is with the religious right, for whom the GOP has done practically nothing.

If the "Hispanics are natural conservatives" nonsense manages to win a few votes, then great. But don't drink the posion you've set out for someone else. Hispanics aren't conservatives in any meaningful sense. Their alleged family values are a crock. In my state I calculated the Hispanic teen pregnancy rate is about 5 times higher than the white teen pregnancy rate. Ditto for illegitimacy.

Mitt Romney is not a real conservative vis-a-vis immigration. He wants to open the floodgates even wider. He's never made a single promise on his webpage regarding the enforcement of our immigration laws, yet he's made numerous paeans to the benefits of more and more legal immigration.

Anonymous said...

Mitt Romney is not a real conservative vis-a-vis immigration.

True. And none of the other candidates are either.

But would he have the DOJ take states to court when they try to do something about illegals? My guess is he wouldn't. Plus he supports E-Verify.

Audacious Epigone said...


Eloquently put, thanks.


The hope that Kris Kobach's endorsement gave me, faint from the beginning, continues to fade away.