Illegal immigration and the economy

Instapundit and Kausfiles seem to relish that the illegal immigrant “problem” is solving itself because the economy is in the tank. Thats weird, because I recall the argument being that illegal immigrants come here for the copious welfare benefits. Anyways, if there is indeed a connection between a hot economy and an increase in illegal immigrants seeking jobs (which is historically true), wouldn’t increased desire to migrate here be a good sign? As I’ve said in lectures, the day folks are no longer willing to risk their lives to come here is bad day for our economy.

Gays and Latinos

Instapundit has this to say about the gay vote:

THOUGHTS ON gay rights and the G.O.P.’s future: “It’s not that we’re likely to crack more than 35% of the gay vote (well, maybe 40%). But, to win back the suburbs, Republicans can’t alienate suburbanites. And anti-gay attitudes don’t resonate with families who have known gay people in college –and maybe even in the workplace–and even in their own families.” Sounds right to me.

Sounds about right to me too, and this likely applies to Latinos as well. The only question is whether or not reaching out to these demographics will lose them more votes among the cultural purists than it will gain them among Latinos and gays. When, or if, the GOP reaches out to these groups, the challenge will be to be genuine enough to actually win over their votes. Here’s what I believe the GOP needs to do to gain more Latino votes. Its likely not much different to win over gay votes as well.

Just another beaner who shouldn’t be here…

A few weeks back I posted why I was voting for McCain. The post pointed at immigration and was largely directed at Latinos. Some thought that I was misguided because Latinos are more than just an immigrant community. I wholly agree, but that doesn’t mean 3rd and 4th generation Latinos can act as if the immigration debate doesn’t touch them. A colleague at Pomona College posted an article from CNN describing how a Latino kid was attacked by the Ku Klux Klan because he “looked” like an illegal alien. There is no distinction between Latinos who are here legally or not, and racists really could care less, not to mention the government officials who carry out our draconian immigration laws. To those Latinos who think they are above this debate, take a look at Jordan Gruver. You are him. You’re just another beaner who shouldn’t be here.

Hugh Hewitt confuses me

Hugh Hewitt asks the next potential GOP Chairperson a few questions they should be able to answer to get the job. I found most of them interesting, but his third question in particular:

Why did the youth and Latino votes break decisively towards Barack Obama? How should the Republican Party address both demographics?

This is weird since Hewitt and other Orange County Republicans have spent the better part of two decades comparing Latinos seeking work to felons. There are ways to control the border that are consistent with the freedom of movement for labor, family unification, social integration and the entrepreneurial spirit. Unfortunately for the GOP, and consistent with the GOP’s refusal to practice what they preach, they could not have run a better campaign to repulse Latino voters if they had tried.

[Update] Oh yeah, and there is this.

The Gay/Black "divide"

Dr. Sandoval is an assistant professor at Pomona College in Southern California. He has written an excellent post responding to the media’s attempt to create a rift between the gay community and the black community. I’ll quote a piece here, but please go to his site to read the entire post.

While we may be conditioned to think in terms of race/ethnic voting blocs, the notion that there is a “gay vs. Black” problem is ludicrous and, itself, a little white-centered. While “whiteness” often carries with it the notion of exceptionalism, let me assure you, queer folk come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. White folks aren’t the only gay and lesbian folks, making the sensibility behind (for example) the L.A. Times’ article “Gays, blacks divided on Proposition 8″ as silly as saying “Gays, whites divided on Proposition 8.” The analysis of “us versus them” in gay/straight and left/right terms, being merged with a white/black dichotomy, is very troubling and artificial.

I hope both the black community and the gay community, of which there is great crossover, will work towards a greater understanding on this issue.

What next: Will the GOP finally reach out to Latinos?

Tony Blankley writes an interesting reflection on the Presidential election. The key passage:

But as a national cause championed by a national party, a conservative agenda must, for example, learn to speak persuasively to a near majority of Hispanic-Americans, or we will be merely a debating society. When Texas joins states such as Colorado, New Mexico (and even North Carolina, Virginia, Arizona and Florida), where Hispanic votes are necessary for victory, there is no possibility of national governance without finding that voice.

I hope he is right and I hope Latinos will respond. Reagan and Bush II were able to see the large demographic shifts occurring in our country before Clinton, Gore and Kerry were. The GOP’s image problem with Hispanics is a result of several factors that I will list here briefly, and will expand upon later.

  1. Institutional integration: Latinos, as a percent, make up a disproportionately smaller group of leaders in the GOP than they do voters. The party needs to implement party policies with regard to recruitment and retention to change this.
  2. Outreach: Bush and McCain in previous elections demonstrated that if you build it they will come. Latinos respond well to outreach efforts meant to earn their vote. This includes outreach efforts in the schools. There are very few Latino clubs centered around conservatism or capitalism. Programs need to be set up to help create these or assist other clubs to recruit Latinos into existing clubs.
  3. Policies: Latinos desire programs that will help them navigate through the pitfalls of our modern economy. Programs in education, small business development, healthcare, and home loans. This is not to say that Latinos want handouts. Much of this has to do with demonstrating empathy.
  4. Tonal: The GOP brand is very damaged in the eyes of Latinos largely because of the immigration debate. Latinos will support measures to secure the border (see Napolitano in Arizona) if they trust that the policy is more about security and economics than culture. Treating entrepreneurs who cross the dangers desert borders seeking a better life as felons is disrespectful and does nothing to actually secure our borders. Mexican-Americans are as fed up with drug-warfare on the border and beyond as anyone. Focusing efforts on violent offenders and not lumping job seekers into this category of people would be a good start.
  5. Ideological: Hispanics are quite comfortable with conservative values, but they cannot be seen as a vehicle used for promoting cultural purity by the likes of Tancredo and Buchanan. Cloaking cultural purists in the language of preserving American values against Hispanics suggests that Latino values are incompatible with American values. Not only is it false, but it ignores history and the willful integration of past migrant groups into the mainstream.
  6. Educational: The GOP must demonstrate a willingness to understand the problems and issues that mean most to Latinos and they must also work to integrate Latinos into the general American culture. This does not mean enforcing or demanding english-only laws, but helping with night classes to help Latinos learn the language.
  7. Organizations: Latinos have a set of great organizations that need nurturing and assistance with helping Latinos improve their positions in life. Groups like NALEO, MALDEF, NCLR, etc. all work in various ways to help Latinos navigate American society. A greater effort to assist these groups will go a long way in creating the beginnings of a Republican society.
  8. New organizations: The GOP needs a way to mine the talent out there for future leaders. This will require a long-term effort at cultivating talent from the colleges and business world. There needs to be greater recruitmet of Latinos into businesses, the sciences, etc.
  9. Think tanks: Think tanks like Heritage Foundation, Reason, etc. need to come up with ways to study the potential avenues of commonality that can be used to create connections between Latinos and conservatives/capitalists. This will require a great effort in seeking out talent within the Latino community and even abroad to Mexico, Latina America, etc.
  10. Political: The gop needs to realize that Cubans aren’t the only Latinos out there and that Cubans are not interchangeable with Latino groups in other parts of the country. Greater attention needs to be paid at the local context of the Latino community. Parachuting in a Cuban into a Latino community in Los Angeles is unhelpful and works only to confirm that the GOP’s view of the Latino community is only superficial.

I hope to add and expand on these initial thoughts later, but I think this election has created an opportunity for a resurgence in conservative and capitalist thought, and an opportunity to reach out to new segments of our country’s changing population.

Tonight we celebrate

Tonight is a historic election we should all be proud of as Americans. I can’t say I am happy with the results, but I am certainly happy that our society has managed to make these decisions peacefully. This country has overcome obstacles that were once seen to be a permanent fixture of the ugliness in humanity. While we still have much work to be done, we should savor the greatness of these moments and respect what we have come together as a people to accomplish.