Saturday, June 29, 2013

Does Steve Israel Understand How To Make GOP Racism Work Against Them-- Or Is That Not Reptilian Enough For Him?


Like we saw Thursday, now that the Senate has passed comprehensive immigration reform, what's next? The Senate Democrats have already given away every conceivable bargaining chip available before the bill becomes worthless and insupportable. Nothing will ever change the minds of the racists in control in the House. There are two camps of Republicans in the House on this issue-- the majority camp of racists and bigots and then a more mainstream camp that knows it should be done for various reasons but is afraid of the racists and bigots. Until Boehner has a majority of Republicans willing to break away from the racists and bigots, there will be no signing ceremony in the White House. So where do we go from here? Fawn Johnson sketched out a few ideas Friday for Roll Call.
Some proponents have floated the idea that the House could pass an immigration package that includes provisions unpalatable to President Obama and Democrats and excludes pieces they consider essential, such as a path to citizenship. They would settle for this outcome for the sole purpose of the House passing something-- anything-- that would get them to a conference committee with the Senate. In theory, the deal-breaker provisions could be erased in the conference negotiations.

That strategy isn't flying with Democrats. Here's just one example: House Republicans say that allowing local law enforcement to apprehend and detain unauthorized immigrants is critical to enhancing border security. Democrats reject that idea without blinking. "No," said Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., a lead sponsor of the Senate bill, when asked if Democrats could accept that provision as part of a comprehensive package. "Look, I have opposed that forever, because even the toughest law enforcement will tell you that you undermine the confidence of communities to talk to local police."

Democrats have other demands. Anything short of eventual, full citizenship for undocumented immigrants would trigger protest marches from liberal activists. And House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has made it clear that immigration negotiators are not to touch Obama's health care law, which means Republicans who want to ban health care subsidies for green-card holders are out of luck.

The situation becomes a stalemate: Deal-killer provisions for Democrats are essential components for Republicans.

There may be another way to get to Point B, but it is based on the questionable proposition that the House GOP would work its will at first and then be willing to compromise later. The House Judiciary Committee has readied a series of smaller immigration bills-- on local law enforcement, agricultural workers, electronic verification, and high-skilled visas-- that could see floor votes in July. Assuming they pass, Republicans say they could package them as an opening bid for conference negotiations with the Senate.

Thus far, however, the list of House bills doesn't include anything that legalizes the undocumented population, ignoring the top demand from both Democrats and Obama. What's more, the bills have not passed the committee with Democratic votes. It's hard to convince bipartisan reformers that they should back a strategy in which House GOP leaders have to rely solely on Republican votes. The farm bill's downfall last week erased what little faith they might have had in such a plan.

So what's next? Members "have to get beat up a little bit at home" before a vote on a major immigration bill is even possible, said one GOP aide close to House leaders. So far, that's not happening. "My constituents all like what we're doing," said Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., who chairs the Judiciary Committee's Immigration Subcommittee. "They like the fact that you're giving scrutiny to each component, as opposed to saying, 'We hope that you like this enough to overlook the fact that you don't like this at all.'"

The Senate's comprehensive immigration bill is exactly the kind of grand compromise that rank-and-file House Republicans are assiduously avoiding. They see Republican senators giving away a path to citizenship, desperately sought by Democrats, in exchange for promises of tougher enforcement-- a bad deal, in their eyes. "Oh, they hate it, my constituents," said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah.

It's hard for reform advocates to fathom that the GOP rejects what they see as an obvious truth-- either immigration reform passes or Hispanics ditch the Republican Party forever. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid calls House Republican opponents "the crazies."  Congressional aides supportive of reform efforts shake their heads in disbelief, urging reporters to ask Republicans what they propose to do about 11 million undocumented immigrants.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a supporter of a path to citizenship, says opponents of immigration reform hurt the GOP's image with Hispanics. "It's hard to sell your economic agenda if they think you're going to deport [their] grandmother," he said.

But such arguments don't seem to have much traction in the House. To wit, ultraconservative hard-liner Steve King, R-Iowa, is feeling pretty good. "I was a lonely guy two months ago," the congressman said of his protests against bipartisan groups in the House and the Senate crafting big immigration bills. "Lots of people said, 'You can't stop that... Now I'm juiced. I'm going to go try out for the Redskins."
The ultimate arbiter is liable to be voters at the ballot box. Nate Silver put together a list of the Republican congressmembers with the largest Hispanic populations. This chart is just the Members with 25% or more. No one wants to lose a quarter of the voters even before the campaign begins, right? Well, no one sane does. But who would argue that these far right Republicans from Texas and California-- and that's 22 of the 26 districts!

Mitt Romney’s dismal performance with Hispanic voters in November gave Republican legislators “a new appreciation” for change, as Senator John McCain, a Republican from Arizona who is one of the eight senators in the bipartisan group, has said.

That may be true for many politicians seeking to win national and statewide elections in places where the Hispanic share of the electorate has increased significantly. But the main hurdle is expected to be in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, where a different set of political incentives apply.

Most Republicans in the House come not only from very conservative districts but also from overwhelmingly white districts.

In the 232 Congressional districts represented by Republicans, the average Hispanic share of each district is 11 percent (the 200 Congressional districts held by Democrats are, on average, 23 percent Hispanic). Just 40 of the 232 Republicans in the House come from districts that are more than 20 percent Hispanic, and just 16 from districts that are at least one-third Hispanic. At the other end of the spectrum, 142 districts represented by Republicans are less than 10 percent Hispanic.

In all, 84 percent of House Republicans represent districts that are 20 percent or less Hispanic.

...[T]here is no guarantee that Republicans with a greater share of Hispanic constituents will necessarily favor reform. But three of the four Republicans in the House already negotiating an immigration bill with Democrats-- Representatives John Carter and Sam Johnson, both of Texas, and Mario Diaz-Balart, of Florida-- come from districts that are more Hispanic than the average Republican-held Congressional district.

The fourth Republican negotiator in the House, Raúl R. Labrador, represents Idaho’s First Congressional District, which-- at 10 percent Hispanic-- is just below the average for Republicans. Mr. Diaz-Balart represents Florida’s 25th Congressional District, which is 70 percent Hispanic. Mr. Carter represents Texas’s 31st District, which is roughly a quarter Hispanic. And Mr. Johnson represents Texas’s Third District, which is 15 percent Hispanic.
Of the 26 districts in the chart above, the DCCC is only targeting 6, even though some are Blue districts. The only Republicans worried about electoral defeat are
David Valadao (R-CA)
Stevan Pearce (R-NM)
Blake Farenthold (R-TX)
Gary Miller (R-CA)
Jeff Denham (R-CA)
Buck McKeon (R-CA)
Ileana's seat would be in the bag if Debbie wasn't protecting her
All these other seats... 100% ignored by the DCCC. Some of them have free reelection passes from Israel and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, like Ileana Ros Lehtinen. Others are just out of reach because of DCCC incompetence. In 2008 Obama beat McCain in Darrell Issa's district. Regardless of how badly Issa has been behaving, Steve Israel refuses to get serious about recruiting a candidate to run against him in a district with a 26% Hispanic population. Ed Royce may be quieter, but he's as much a villain as Issa-- and has a district that's over a third Hispanic and with lots and lots of Asian-Americans too, who Royce has given plenty of reasons to want a new congressman. Last year the Democrats had a sterling candidate running, Jay Chen, and the DCCC studiously ignored him. Royce-- who spent $4,515,190 to Chen's $714,594-- beat him 59-41%. The DCCC spent exactly-- to the penny-- zero. The Democrats will never-- and I mean NEVER-- win back Congress as long as Steve Israel is chairman of the DCCC. It's as though he were working for the Republicans. Reappointing him after his disastrous performance in 2012 was Nancy Pelosi's biggest career-long mistake. Sí, se puede!

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