May 3, 2005

Immigration: U.S. Politics of “08” & Britain Election of “05”

Charlie Cook list the possible Republican candidates for President in 2008.

On the Republican side, virtually every national poll shows former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani leading the pack, with 25 to 30 percent of the vote. Sen. John McCain of Arizona tends to run second, with 20 to 25 percent, and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia, and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee score in the mid-to-high single digits.

After that, the GOP has a long cast of potential candidates who are drawing support in, at most, the low single digits: Sen. George Allen of Virginia, Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi, Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas, Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, Gov. George Pataki of New York, Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, and Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.
Charlie you miss one probable candidate, congressman from Colorado Tom Tancredo. The congressman will be an one issue candidate, the issue Mr. Tancredo cares about the most is immigration.

Already, anti-immigration crusader, a congressman from Colorado, has made forays to New Hampshire and formed a political action committee called Team America, which is chaired by the legendary right-wing organizer Bay Buchanan. If Tancredo gets into the race, Tom Tancredo could pull the entire field to the right on immigration--and the political dynamic that has taken shape in Britain could be repeated here, but with the added element of a large, angry Latino constituency.

Which lead to the following question.

Does issue of immigration creates a bigger threat to the Republicans or the Democrats? Democratic strategist Ken Baer advocates it is a bigger threat to the Republican party.

True, Bush and Rove have dramatically improved their party's standing among Latinos, orchestrating a doubling of the Latino vote for the Republican presidential nominee between 1996 and 2004. But if the GOP gets in touch with its nativist id in 2008, those gains may quickly evaporate. And Democrats could begin dreaming of the day when they pick up the paper and read, "Will the last Latino to leave the Republican Party please turn out the lights."
Ken Baer see parallels between the Britain Conservative Party lead by Michael Howard and the Republican Party on the issue of Immigration.


Yet while this year's election may be a sleeper, it still contains a valuable lesson for those in Washington who are already looking to 2008--because contributing mightily to Howard's inability to oust Blair is his mishandling of one issue that will be unavoidable for those running for president four years from now: immigration. With self-styled "minutemen" patrolling the U.S.-Mexican border, the House of Representatives passing a prohibition on states granting illegal immigrants drivers' licenses, and anti-immigration ballot initiatives ready to go for 2006, immigration is rapidly bubbling to the surface of political debate. Many of these developments are being driven by conservatives. But if the lessons coming from Britain this week mean anything for American politics, the rise of immigration as a hot-button issue is potentially bad news for Republicans.
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The article goes in-depth about how Conservative Party in Britain tried to used the issue of immigration as a wedge to break up Labor Party hold on power. Michael Howard and the Tories used "dog-whistle" tactics to talk about immigration and other controversial issues, they spoke in code to certain voters while not alerting the attention of others voters . It worked for President Bush with this evangelicals base, but it did not work with the Tories. The “dog-whistle” tactics of the Tories hit a loud and discordant note for everyone to hear, it repels middle-class swing voters.

The same thing might happen here, Tom Tancredo is not going to use “dog-whistle” tactics. It is not his style, he is going to be upfront about the issue of immigration . The anti-immigrate rhetoric coming form conservatives, un-ethical congress lead by Tom Delay, over reaching of Christian right, and President Bush failed economic and foreign policy might lead to a big swing to the Democratic Party in 2006 & 2008.


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