That was one bad bet. When the story is told of how the Republican Party in 2006 cemented its minority status for years to come, the story will be told en español. Sin duda.In 2006, Hispanic voters favored Democratic over Republican congressional candidates by a margin of 69 to 29 percent. Merely two years earlier, the Hispanic vote had favored Democrats by a much more modest margin of 55 to 44 percent. How swiftly and harshly the United States' fastest-growing demographic group and largest nonwhite/non-Anglo bloc punished Republican candidates bodes ill for the elephant party.
The reason? Immigración. The Republican-controlled 109th Congress will be known as the Congress that authorized El Muro. ¿Y qué es El Muro? It's the 700-mile Maginot Line of American nativism. The 109th Congress will also be known as the last Congress controlled by the Republican Party for a good, long time.
"When people start to perceive that immigrants are being put in the same category as a threat to national security, it's hard to get your message across." So says Representative Lincoln Diaz-Balart of Florida, a Republican of Cuban descent. Sí, claro. Equating voters with terrorists is a lousy way to win their support.
And what comes of those who would strip American babies of birthright citizenship? Señor Hayworth, bienvenido tal vez a la vida privada.
Por amor de Díos, tenemos que aprender español juntos:For the Republican faithful, perhaps the saddest thing is that none of this had to happen. Representative Diaz-Balart argues (correctly) "that Hispanics are 'a natural' Republican constituency because they are entrepreneurial and socially conservative." (Note to GOP strategists: there is another growing demographic group that very closely resembles Hispanics in their internal cultural diversity, their emerging political consciousness, and their natural inclination toward entrepreneurship and social conservatism.) The Bush family speaks Spanish more often and more comfortably than any other political dynasty in American history. The sitting President has made genuine efforts to reach across la frontera geográfica y la frontera cultural. All that has been laid waste by a small tent strategy that stressed appeasing an aging, declining base over riding the biggest demographic wave in the United States. Politicians that stupid deserve to lose.
One Republican politician who didn't lose Tuesday surely knows all this. Er ist auch Einwanderer, dieser berühmte, in Österreich geborene, und ganz erfolgreiche Amerikaner. Arnold Schwarzenegger has long understood why many first-generation Americans would like to be able to vote Republican. Too bad the native-born leadership of the Republican Party doesn't want our votes.
As the Governator himself would say:
Hasta la vista, baby