Joseph Cotto, 6/24/2014 [Archive]

The Republican Party is in Serious Trouble

By Joseph Cotto

Since the 1980s, the GOP has been wracked with conflicting opinions on immigration policy. Political correctness-prone pundits and big business-backed politicians strongly support not just amnesty for illegal aliens, but far more generous migration programs. On the other hand, nationalistic commentators and like-minded public servants oppose liberalization measures full-stop.

A great many find themselves somewhere in-between, usually following perceived public sentiment or special interest pressure rather than personal conviction.

The times are changing. No longer can one deliver mealy-mouthed sentiments designed to quell national conservatives, yet satisfy open borders advocates. Former U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor discovered this the hard way. His landslide primary loss to an obscure economics professor caused finger-in-the-wind Republicans to run away from amnesty like it was radioactive waste.

This creates an vexing scenario. The chattering class — on both sides of the aisle — believes that congressional Republicans must support an amnesty bill to win Hispanic votes during 2016.

Of course, granting legalization to unlawful immigrants is nothing more than building the Democratic base. The overwhelming majority of illegals are economically destitute, ill-educated, eager to receive public assistance, and trained only for menial jobs; the sort which millions of Americans need yet find in short supply.

It is worth remembering that illegals almost always come from countries beholden to strongman dictatorships or tribalistic kleptocracy — sometimes both. These places are not known for social stability, let alone liberal democracy. How illegal refugees from such nations will assimilate to traditional American society is a question whose answer few can stomach.

What can be easily said is that illegals are primed for our country's emerging leftist movement. Should amnesty happen, this front's reliance on ancestral identity and victimhood politics will make it an ideal home for present-day illegals.

How can the Republican brand, with its focus on fiscal restraint and Anglocentric Protestant social values, compete with this? The obvious answer is it can't. At the same time, the GOP is unable to become a mellower version of the Democratic Party. Not only would virtually all of its current members bolt, but Democratic constituencies wouldn't budge an inch.

After all, why go for a cheap imitation when you can get the real thing?

So how Republicans can forge ahead, especially when it comes to presidential races? Ultimately, the GOP has little future here, and what it does have boils down to sheer misery. Even if amnesty never passes, demographic shifts and progressive political trends are leaving Republicans in the dust.

On social matters, the Republican base, dominated by fundamentalist Christians, won't compromise. They would sooner abandon politics than vote for a viable candidate who might, in their view, anger Jesus. As for economic policy, both hardcore Republicans and libertarians won't accept socialism-lite.

Without these groups, Republicans don't stand a chance nationwide. Mitt Romney is living proof of this. Three million Republicans stayed home for the 2012 general election. Analysts determined that most of these folks were Christian conservatives. Romney went as far right on social issues as he could, but this wasn't enough for some. Since 2012, the nation has only become more progressive.

In order to stand electable, a Republican nominee must tack to his left in 2016. This poor fellow might as well try making gold bullion out of goat's milk.

Rather than waste time in the presidential arena, Republicans should focus on winning both chambers of Congress. Aside from securing a lead role on Capitol Hill for generations to come, the GOP would finally deal with its internal disputes and make advantages out of them. Pro-choice and antiabortion congresspersons can sit side by side, along with free marketeers and trade protectionists.

Different wings of the GOP could finally go their own way while agreeing to disagree. Who cares about winning the White House? Leave that headache to the Democrats.

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Copyright 2014 Joseph Cotto, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Joseph Cotto is a historical and social journalist, and writes about politics, economics and social issues. Email him at joseph.f.cotto@gmail.com.

This column has been edited by the author. Representations of fact and opinions are solely those of the author.

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