Saturday, November 11, 2006


Hasta La Vista, Baby!

After reveling in the "big picture" of the election results for a while and after checking on the outcome of the races where creationism was a specific issue, the next thing I looked for was what happened in a congressional race three-fourths of the country away from my home. I wanted to know the fate of J.D. Hayworth (R-Ariz. 5), an alleged human being who had not yet achieved the obscurity he so richly deserves. Among the many heartening results of the last election, Hayworth's defeat stands near the top.

One of Hayworth's greater accomplishments in odious demagoguery was the attempt to amend the Immigration and Naturalization Act to circumvent the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, where it says:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

A great many gave "the last full measure of devotion" to support the proposition that it does not matter how your ancestors arrived here -- on a slave ship or by following a coyote across the desert, in steerage to Ellis Island or on the Mayflower -- if you are born here, you are a citizen, with all the rights and duties that entails. In that promise and in that hope lies what it really means to be an American and those who would deny it are, in perhaps the deepest sense of all, traitors to this country and its ideals.

Now Jim Chen at Jurisdynamics has an article that points to Hayworth's defeat being possibly more than a mere momentary pleasure. Mired in the Iraq mess, Republicans cast about for something -- anything -- that might distract the public from the war. As the Wall Street Journal said:

Many Republicans bet that tough talk on immigration would lure enough votes from immigration skeptics to offset the loss of Hispanic votes.

It didn't.

As Professor Chen points out, Hispanics are, as a group, socially conservative and, like most new immigrants, highly entrepreneurial. In short, they would appear to be natural constituents of the Republican party. And, indeed, Republicans had made great inroads in that regard, In 2004, a generally poor and working class minority voted for a generally white and middle class and above political party with only a relatively modest deficit of 44 percent Republican to 55 percent Democratic.

However, many Republicans insisted on demonizing poor people for "voting with their feet" for the better life we loudly proclaim to be our gift to the world. Labeling them as a threat to national security as great as terrorists and promising to build El Muro, the 700 mile Berlin Wall in reverse along the Mexican border, made major changes in Hispanic voting patterns. The Republican party may well come to regret this even more in the future, given that Hispanics are the United States' fastest-growing demographic group. In 2006, Hispanics voted for Democrats by a margin of 69 to 29 percent.

Do the numbers.

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