The GOP Calculus On Immigration Reform, Ctd

Andrew Sullivan —  Jan 29 2013 @ 10:34am

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Douthat suspects that immigration reform would be a net loss for Republicans:

By definition, creating a path to citizenship turns illegal aliens into potential voters, and any serious analysis of Hispanic opinion tells you that those new voters’ interests and beliefs will tend to align with the Democratic Party. No, not necessarily forever, but across the next few decades of American politics there is simply no plausible case that gratitude to Marco Rubio and Jeff Flake will convert a liberal-leaning voting bloc into a true swing constituency, let alone a Republican-tilting demographic. Which makes it very, very easy to imagine a future where immigration reform helps Republicans win a slightly higher percentage of the Hispanic vote, but costs them many more votes in absolute terms by accelerating the ongoing demographic shifts in the electorate.

Bouie, on the other hand, finds that immigration reform is unpopular with working-class blacks. He notes that “losing black voters—even if it’s just a few percentage points—could disadvantage the party in southern states like Virginia and North Carolina, where overwhelming black support is required to stay competitive”:

[I]f Republicans are feeling ambitious, this divide could form the basis for outreach to working-class blacks. Historically, Republicans have been able to win 10 percent of African Americans in presidential elections. A return to that performance would make several states—Ohio and Pennsylvania, for instance—far more competitive than they are at the moment. Insofar that the GOP wants to cleave the Democratic coalition, immigration might offer a way to reach one group of working-class voters.

Earlier analysis here.

(Photo: Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) listens during a news conference on a comprehensive immigration reform framework on Capitol Hill on January 28, 2013. A group of bipartisan Senate members have reached to a deal of outlines to reform the nation immigration laws that will provide a pathway for the 11 million illegal immigrants in the country to citizenship. By Alex Wong/Getty Images)