The Oh-So Incredible Success of Anti-Immigration Politics

Not to beat a dead burro, but let's check: How has the Great Immigrant Backlash of 2006-2007 affected the GOP? The folk hero of the movement, Hazelton, PA Mayor Lou Barletta, has lost his challenge to mummified Democrat Paul Kanjorski. I don't recall a single public poll that showed Kanjorski winning. But he did.

The Democrats have gained two Senate seats in the Southwest, in Colorado and in New Mexico, as those states fell to Barack Obama (along with Nevada). At this hour they look to have picked up one House seat in Nevada, one in Colorado, one in Arizona, and two in New Mexico, all while losing nothing from their 2006 sweep in the area.

It's yet more evidence that immigration restrictionism is terrible politics. On this, Karl Rove was right.

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  • ||

    Not to dump cold water, but it looks like anti-gay politics are still alive and kicking...

  • Franklin Harris||

    In Alabama U.S. House District 5, Republican Wayne Parker slammed Democrat Parker Griffith for stalling and killing anti-immigrant legislation in the state Legislature. Griffith won narrowly anyway.

    Alabama is now -1 for the GOP, as the Republicans lost both open House seats, one previously held by a Democrat (the only Griffith held for the Democrats) and the other by a Republican. That's how bad a year it was for Republicans: They lost ground in Alabama!

    Of course, Obama may run into the same problem Bill Clinton did, because while the House has returned to its pre-Republican takeover make-up, it has done so my electing a lot of "conservative" Blue Dog Democrats, i.e., the same Democrats who thwarted Clinton's most ambitious big-government plans during his first two years as president.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Not to dump cold water, but it looks like anti-gay politics are still alive and kicking...

    Apparently, people always need somebody they can pick on.

  • Kolohe||

    TAO-
    Yeah sorta surprising. Still a little too early to tell in CA (42% reporting, 52 48 yes to no), but uphill to the finish for the no's. IIRC, most of the polls showed prop 8 in CA failing and the equivalent in FL with less than the 60% needed. A version of the Bradley Effect?

  • ||

    I bet LoneWhackJob has a link on the MexicanReconquista that refutes this.

    Just a hunch.

  • Kolohe||

    Also, during his commentary on Fox News this evening, Karl Rove pointed to the gay marriage ballot initiatives as an example of how the Republicans need regain their mojo. So his anti-restrictionist advice is certainly not derived from any bigger principles other than winning.

  • Ebeneezer Scrooge||

    Reason has had this theory for a long time, that politicians rise and fall on their immigration stance.

    Not all theories seem so reasonable when compared to reality.

    This is the same crap we already get from the MSM. "Everybody with a working brain agrees with me."

  • ||

    You read the theory different from I.

    The way I read it, immigration causes lots of whining. But when it comes down to actually voting, it's always something-besides-immigration, stupid.

  • ||

    Shorter version of the post - "Taking a flying leap, Lonewhackoff."

  • ||

    At this hour they look to have picked up one House seat in Nevada, one in Colorado, one in Arizona, and two in New Mexico, all while losing nothing from their 2006 sweep in the area.

    It's yet more evidence that immigration restrictionism is terrible politics.


    Or it's evidence that the demographics in those states have been changing rapidly. Bill Richardson said as much on the radio today.

  • ||

    Specifically, what Richardson said was that the Hispanic vote in New Mexico comprises 43% of the total vote. I wouldn't expect "anti-immigration politics" (a bullshit misnomer if I ever heard one) to go over well in a state with those numbers.

  • Tsoldrin||

    Somewhere along the line, someone mixed up emigrate with immigrate and left libertarians with an idiotic open borders stance.

    Most libertarian ideals work on the small and the large equally. They scale well. It's unacceptable for a country to use force on another country just as it is for an individual to use force on another individual.

    This breaks down with the immigration issue... unless libertarians are embracing the idea that any stranger has a right to walk into your home, take off their pants, sit down on your couch, help themselves to your beer and watch your tv.

  • ||

    Doesn't it also follow that believing that people from New Jersey can freely migrate to New York means one is embracing the idea that any stranger has a right to walk into your home, take off their pants, sit down on your couch, help themselves to your beer and watch your tv?

    Or am I simply helpless when an American wants to sit in his underwear on my couch, but not when a foreigner wants to?

    I'm a little unclear on this.

  • ||

    Most libertarian ideals work on the small and the large equally. They scale well.
    I would agree with this. However I think the analogy you take is mistaken. You are equating alllowing public entry to some spaces to being forced to allow entry to all. There are many who would like to open their doors to immigrant labor. Factories would like to employ cheap workers. Allowing them to do so does not mean all have to be forced to open all doors to the new workers.

    To put it another way, the analogy of one country to one home is flawed because the home is separated into many parts with completely disparate residents. Opposing immigration is not like saying a stranger can't walk into your home. It's more like telling someone else who they can have in theirs.

  • Guy Montag||

    Excuse me, Dave, but what "anti-immigration" stuff are you talking about? Or did your editor leave a key word out, like "illegal"?

  • ||

    Most libertarian ideals work on the small and the large equally. They scale well.

    Incidentally, I would not agree with this in general. Where it is true, it is only true to the extent that the large scale exhibits properties of the individuals within it and is bound by rights derived from the individuals within it.

    In the specific context of immigration, an individual does not have the right to prevent an individual from traveling, residing, or working wherever he can find someone who wishes to make those associations with him.

    Scale this to the large: A nation does not have the right to prevent an individual from traveling, residing, or working wherever he can find someone who wishes to make those associations with him.

    A nation -- or, more to the point, the individuals within a nation -- does have the right to prevent invasion, terrorism, infection, or other grievous harm to the individuals of the nation. But typical prospective immigrants to the US -- especially when screened by legal and aboveboard processes -- bring none of those.

  • Abdul||

    The immigration issue is not a clearly partisan issue. Sure, Republicans like Tom Tancredo led a lot of the anti-immigration rhetoric, but Democratic unions are also strongly anti-immigration. Republicans like McCain, Bush, and Cheyney were all pro-immigration.

  • ||

    It's yet more evidence that immigration restrictionism is terrible politics.



    When it comes to pandering to anti-foreign bias, protectionism almost always beats immigration restrictionism. Protectionism keeps the victims more abstract, after all.

    Free trade did badly this election, as it did the election before. Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR) was hammered on trade.

  • dhex||

    "Excuse me, Dave, but what "anti-immigration" stuff are you talking about? Or did your editor leave a key word out, like "illegal"?"

    shouldn't you be packing, susan?

  • ||

    Democratic unions are also strongly anti-immigration.

    Hey, Abdul, why don't you go to the issues pages on the following web sites and let us know what you find?

    www.afl-cio.org

    www.seiu.org

    www.afscme.org

    www.unite-here.org

    Unions have become among the largest boosters of immigration liberalization.

  • ||

    Excuse me, Dave, but what "anti-immigration" stuff are you talking about? Or did your editor leave a key word out, like "illegal"?

    I've yet to read an "anti-illegal immigration" activist or politician who wanted to legalize their status. In fact, every single one I've ever read was passionately opposed to legalizing them when the McCain-Kennedy bill proposed to do so.

    If you're opposed to illegal immigration, and opposed to expanding legal immigration, you're opposed to immigration. Duh.

  • ||

    I don't recall a single public poll that showed Kanjorski winning. But he did.

    When a Republican defies the polls to win, isn't that prima facie vote fraud?

  • vini_vidi_vici||

    Legalizing undocumented workers here would work only so long as the underlying border control and worksite enforcement issues are resolved. If the farmers, hotel managers and construction foreman can simply replace their current underpaid workforce once they are legalized and leave for better jobs with a new wave of illegal immigrants, we will continue to be stuck in this loop.

  • Carter||

    Somehow Libertarian candidates not winning any offices, at any level, anywhere, isn't evidence of anything.

  • Sam Grove||

    This breaks down with the immigration issue... unless libertarians are embracing the idea that any stranger has a right to walk into your home, take off their pants, sit down on your couch, help themselves to your beer and watch your tv.

    Well, you see, there's the problem with public property. No one can take off their pants on most public property.

  • Tsoldrin||

    Since we are all being coerced to pay for the upkeep and protection of public spaces, we must have the right to deny such spaces to those who are not being required to shoulder such responsibilities. It's a matter of fairness. And my house analogy does still hold up, even if one is from New Jersey (as they pay too), at least as long as everyone keeps their pants on.

  • Mike Laursen||

    And my house analogy does still hold up...

    Analogies are always imperfect. That's why one shouldn't really solely on analogy in one's reasoning.

  • ||

    Since we are all being coerced to pay for the upkeep and protection of public spaces, we must have the right to deny such spaces to those who are not being required to shoulder such responsibilities.

    Is not the immigrant being coerced as well? If he drives, he pays sales tax on the car, car registration, driver's license registration, and gas taxes. If he takes the bus, he pays sales tax and his share of the gas tax on the ticket. If he owns a house, he pays property tax; if he rents, he pays property tax through his rent. Anything he buys is subject to sales tax. And anything he earns -- so long as the government doesn't make it difficult for him to do so aboveboard -- faces payroll and income taxes.

    The person from Mexico who arrives in your state and starts using state-managed public spaces -- the vast majority of public spaces -- pays exactly as much for those spaces as the person from New Jersey who arrives in your state and starts using state-managed public spaces.

    But Simon Cranshaw's response is the actual rebuttal here: Restricting immigration is not the equivalent of keeping someone out of your own house. Restricting immigration is the equivalent of breaking into someone else's house and kicking out their visitors.

    The concept that applies to one's house in the small -- property -- is not analogous to the concept that applies to a nation in the large -- dominion. The former is fundamental and unalienable. The latter, to be legitimate, must honor the respective rights of each individual within the dominion.

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