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Reply #22: Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid [View All]

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chuck97 Donating Member (2 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-14-10 02:34 AM
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22. Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid
Let's all agree: King is a virulent, unrepentant racist.
Having gotten that out of the way, we can focus on a possible
significant consequence of his intended actions. King's
approach, as described above, might further split the
democrats. They are already suffering heartburns over Don't
Ask Don't Tell, Defense of Marriage Act, Cap and Trade, lack
of a public option in health care reform, tax extension for
the wealthy, Afghanistan, etc. Adding another issue to the
lot, would further tear apart the democratic base and the
democratic coalition.  

To win the White House in 2012 and to maintain majority in the
Senate, democrats must safeguard their coalition. If I
remember correctly, there are far fewer registered
hyper-liberal voters than there are registered conservative
voters. To win a nationwide election, liberals must retain
their coalition of voters. Based on issues of interest,
today's democratic/liberal coalition seems to consist of gays,
environmentalists, immigration reform proponents, abortion
supporters, some independents, and the long-term unemployed. I
suspect that there are a few others, but you get the picture. 

If one or two coalition members secede, or is driven out, the
democratic party will significantly reduce its chances of
keeping the Senate and the White House. Add to that, the
democrats reputed lack of discipline and party loyalty--at
least, relative to that of conservatives--and you could have
the outlines of a strategy to split the democratic party
before the 2012 elections. I make this point, only to caution
my DU denizens to be wary of supporting any policy that will
have the outcome of vilifying or otherwise adversely affecting
immigrants. They are an important part of the democratic
coalition. If they go, the democratic party will not be far
behind, and republicans will happily welcome them to the
fold--even if they profess that they will not. 

Even if one thinks that there is personal benefit to be had in
the form of a job, it might very well cause the party to lose
competition for control of every other major issue for the
next 20-30 years. The issues will persist, but there will not
be enough democratic votes to move on these issues. In
exchange for moving against comprehensive immigration, you
will receive cold comfort in the form of abstract expectations
that you will win some job that is currently assumed to be
held by one or more immigrants. If that is your hope, you
might be bitterly disappointed. Again, I caution, beware! 

I want to leave you with two thoughts: Willie Brown, former
Mayor of San Francisco, and former Speaker of the California
Legislative Assembly, pointed out that in the California
Attorney General's race, Kamala Harris, the SF City Attorney,
won 200,000 more votes in Southern California, than did Steve
Cooley, the Los Angeles City Attorney. Brown thinks that Steve
Cooley paid a price for angering Southern California's Latino
voters. Meg Whitman, gubernatorial candidate, lost to Democrat
Jerry Brown, by about 10 points, even after spending $140
million of her own money. The Latino vote might also have had
a significant impact on the gubernatorial election,
specifically because of the thorny issue of immigration.
(Brown also swiped at the reputed disloyalty of liberals.
Effectively, he said that liberals support a particular
candidate, but only until the next shiny thing comes along.
But this post is already long enough, so let's chat about
liberal disloyalty some other time.) 

Take California's electoral experience and extrapolate it to
other states with a sufficiently sizable Latino population,
and where the election might be won or lost by, let's say, 1-3
points. States like California, Colorado, Nevada, and Florida
comes up for possible consideration. So folks, if you want gay
marriage, DADT, Cap and Trade, etc., you better get used to
the idea of comprehensive immigration. When it comes to the
matter of immigration, I am not talking about tolerance or
acceptance; I am talking about embracing a political reality
and an economic necessity. Remember that not long ago, George
Bush, Ted Kennedy, and John McCain, all wanted comprehensive
immigration. Conservatives like Cokie Roberts and Condoleeza
Rice still give their full-throated endorsements. Ted Kennedy
is no longer with us. George Bush blames Harry Reid for the
failure of Bush's efforts at comprehensive immigration. BTW,
Jeb Bush blames the democrats for failing to enact
comprehensive immigration. John McCain now conditionally
supports comprehensive immigration. Implication: Given the
opportunity, Republicans will pass comprehensive immigration.
If they do, they will own a substantial portion of Latino
votes for the indefinite future, and Democrats will find
themselves in the political wilderness. I say woe to you, the
plural you, if you allow it to happen, in any way, shape, or

As to keeping the coalition together, it must be one for all
and all for one. Noticed how the Republicans coalesced and
moved in lock-step to win big this past election cycle? Some
days you will be battered and bruised. Some days your interest
will not be at the top of the list. If you give up, or become
petulant, and you take your marbles and run home, your name
might be placed in the loss column for the next 30 years.
That's such a long time; it could feel like a lifetime. To put
a little salt in the wound, you might have a President Steve
King, or Sarah Palin, and the permanent Republican majority
that Karl Rove tried so hard to engineer.  How 'bout it? I
encourage you to compartmentalize the emotionalism, and
rationally assess what you can and should do. 
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