Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano (shown) has predicted that the large number of immigrants taking up residency in Arizona will change the traditionally Republican stronghold into a Democrat-majority state.
Napolitano provided Nevada, New Mexico, and Colorado as historic examples of states where a heavy influx of immigrants swung those states into the Democratic column.
“Arizona will be behind them,” Napolitano was quoted in a report originating with the Christian Science Monitor and carried by the Washington Times, “I think it will be more purple over time, but ultimately blue…. It’ll happen, I think. The fact that I could win three straight elections there, I think is indicative that Democrats can win and do win in Arizona.”
Arizona’s history of voting for Republican candidates in presidential elections has been legendary. Since 1952, The Grand Canyon State has voted for the Democrat candidate only once, in 1996, when Reform Party candidate Ross Perot split the vote and Bill Clinton carried the state with a plurality of just 46.52 percent. In the 1964 presidential contest, Arizona was the only state outside the South to vote for its native son, Senator Barry Goldwater.
Arizona is currently represented in Congress by two Republican senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, and in the House of Representatives by five Democrats and four Republicans. Arizona’s current governor, Jan Brewer, is a Republican, but was preceded in the office by HHS Secretary Napolitano, a Democrat.
As to how Republicans might respond to the challenge, journalist Nancy Smith studied the issue in an article for the Florida-based Sunshine State News entitled “Is Immigration Reform a Voter-Registration Drive for Democrats?" Smith, who said that Republicans “are between a rock and a hard place,” believes that giving in on “immigration reform” is not the best way for Republicans to make a political comeback. She writes:
Experts on Hispanic demographics caution that merely capitulating on immigration reform — even with Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio shining a light on the wound and standing by with a Band-Aid — isn't going to stop GOP bleeding. The party can't jump on the reform bill bandwagon, sit back and wait for minorities to come shelter under the Republican tent.
The fact is, information from the latest U.S. Census tells us that immigrants generally, and Hispanic immigrants specifically — even first-generation Hispanic-Americans — are going to lean to the left naturally, no matter what the Republicans do.
Smith quoted Steven A. Camarota, research director at the Center for Immigration Studies, as saying, “The underlying demographics make this a population that’s a tough sell for the Republican message.”
The article also drew from a statement by Gary M. Segura, Ph.D., a political scientist at Stanford University and a principal in the polling firm Latino Decisions: "It turns out that Latinos (Hispanics) are systematically to the left of whites on an entire array of economic-policy matters."
Segura said that while Hispanic voters are more socially conservative than non-Hispanics on issues such as abortion or same-sex marriage, these issues do not strongly influence their voting choices. Family values seldom rate high on the list when Hispanics are asked which voting issues are important to them, he noted.
However, Hispanic (or Latino, which includes those of non-Spanish Latin American heritage, such as Creole-speaking Haitians and Portugese-speaking Brazilians) residents in American do not tend to vote in proportion to their numbers, notes a report in the Huffington Post.
The report cited a study by the Pew Research Center that analyzed the 2010 Latino electorate. While 16.3 percent of the nation was Latino in 2010, only 10.1 percent of eligible voters and fewer than seven percent of actual voters were Latino. It noted that the Latino population in the country grew 43 percent in the last decade, according to Pew. Despite this demographic increase, the rate of Latinos who cast votes has not kept pace: "Only about 60 percent of Latino citizen adults are registered to vote, compared to 70 percent of blacks, and 74 percent of whites," Pew reported.
The Post report quoted Robert Montemayor, director of the Latino Information Network at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Montemayor compared potential Latino voters to the crabs climbing over each other to get out of a bucket. He said that they are hurting themselves by not applying for citizenship, inadequately informing themselves, and letting others make important decisions for them.
"We tear ourselves down with our own ignorance," he said. "What good is being the largest minority if we have such a dismal voting record?"
Montemayor did not suggest that potential Latino voters prepare themselves for the responsibility of voting by studying the writings of America’s Founders, including what the Founders had to say about the U.S. Constitution, the supreme law of our land.
In a recent interview posted on the website CoachIsRight.com, staff writer Bill McIntosh questioned Allan Wall, who writes a column for vdare.com, a website that seeks to reduce immigration, especially illegal immigration. The interview was preceded by a quote from Wall: “Republican leaders promote the importation of future Democratic party voters! It’s suicidal.… If present trends continue, the GOP is headed for permanent minority status.”
The “Republican leaders” that Wall refers to certainly would include Arizona Senator John McCain, who is among the “Group of Eight” senators crafting an immigration reform bill to present to Congress. McCain joined with the late Sen. Edward Kennedy in 2005 to sponsor legislation that included a “pathway to citizenship,” effectively granting amnesty to immigrants who are in the country illegally.
"If you have a large bloc of Americans who believe you're trying to keep their ... fellow Hispanics down and deprive them of an opportunity, obviously that's going to have an effect," McCain told reporters earlier this year.
In the interview, McIntosh asked Wall “Why are Mexicans so viscerally Democrat in their voting?”
Well, Mexican politics does not have a tradition of limited government. Even the right-wing party in Mexico is, by American standards, economically liberal. Mexicans aren’t coming to the U.S. for freedom, and they don’t want limited government. They want government benefits. So they are mostly going to vote for the Democrats. It’s not because Republicans are anti-Mexican or treat them badly. Mexican-Americans are mostly going to vote for the Democrats. Now, if the GOP leadership wanted to help the party, it would campaign for an immigration moratorium. Instead, Republican leaders promote the importation of future Democratic Party voters! It’s suicidal. I’ve only seen one major Republican who seems to get this — it’s Rand Paul (not Ron Paul). If present trends continue, the GOP is headed for permanent minority status.
Even Sen. Paul (R-Ky.) has softened his stance against amnesty. The New York Times reported on March 19 that, in a speech before the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Paul outlined his position on immigration, “including an implicit pathway to citizenship….”
“I think the conversation needs to start by acknowledging we aren’t going to deport 12 million illegal immigrants,” said Dr. Paul…. “If you wish to work, if you wish to live and work in America, then we will find a place for you.”
Perhaps the GOP-Democrat divide on immigration is not as great as most people think. We shall soon see what the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” has prepared for us.
Photo of DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano: AP Images