Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Will California's GOP Solve Its "Latino Problem" ( i.e., Racism And Bigotry)?


Allan Hoffenblum, a Republican consultant in California politics since the Nixon era, told the NY Times that “Until we solve our Latino problem, we’re not going to be a viable state party, and it’s hard to understand how that’s possible without fixing immigration.” The Times explains what everyone in California is already well-aware of:
Advocates of a comprehensive immigration overhaul argue that California is a cautionary tale for Republicans in the rest of the country and that if the party does not help pass legislation this year, it will risk losing Latino votes for decades to come. Frank Sharry, the executive director of America’s Voice, which is pushing for an immigration overhaul, points to 1994 as the start of problems for the state Republican Party. Pete Wilson, the governor at the time, led the campaign for a state ballot initiative severely limiting access to public services, including schools and emergency medical care, for illegal immigrants. Voters approved the measure, but it was ruled unconstitutional by federal courts.

“California became one of the bluest states in the country because the Republican Party followed Pete Wilson off the anti-immigration cliff,” Mr. Sharry said. “McCarthy isn’t going to want to lose more seats, and he has to see that members who are becoming champions of immigration reform aren’t just living to tell about it, but they’re getting love letters.”

Across the state, other Republicans have softened their stance on immigration. Representative Ken Calvert, whose district covers Riverside County, has said he supports citizenship for those who were brought to the country as children and would consider some kind of legal status for others. Representative Gary G. Miller, whose district in San Bernardino, east of Los Angeles, is roughly 50 percent Latino and considered a prime target by Democrats, removed several strongly worded statements against immigration from his Web site this year.
That's funny about Miller because his entire political career has been based on two pillars: greed and racism. The Times story highlights Kevin McCarthy and David Valadao and mentions a couple of other beleaguered Republican congressmen in passing. In all 10 California congressman have 30% or more Hispanic populations in their districts:
David Valadao (72%)
Gary Miller (49%)
Devin Nunes (46%)
Jeff Denham (40%)
Buck McKeon (38%)
Paul Cook (36%)
Kevin McCarthy (35%)
Ed Royce (35%)
Ken Calvert (33%)
Duncan Hunter (30%)
The DCCC isn't used to fighting tight battles in California and they ignored almost all of these districts in 2012 when they should have-- at the very least-- been building an infrastructure to win them all in 2014 or 2016. Most people blame Steve Israel's lack of vision, but it's important to remember that Israel-- whose only talent is to suck large amounts of campaign cash from Wall Street's corrupt special interests and from wealthy elites-- was appointed by Nancy Pelosi and, astonishingly after his dismal failures in 2012, reappointed by Pelosi to the same post this year. McKeon, Denham, Miller and Valadao would all be working as lobbyists today if not for Israel's incompetence. This cycle the DCCC won't be able to start the focus on McCarthy because they have to make up lost ground on the 4 relatively easy races they blew in 2012. And, at least in the case of Valadao it may be too late-- even though Obama beat McCain in his district 52-46% and last year routed Romney 55-44%.
When Representative David Valadao came out in favor of a path to citizenship for millions of people living in the country illegally at an open forum this summer, the crowd erupted in applause, and young activists nearly knocked one another down as they rushed to embrace him.

Since then, Mr. Valadao, a freshman Republican, has become a bit of an unlikely celebrity among Latino farmworkers and their families in California’s Central Valley, where immigration has shaped the agricultural industry for decades.
Another Republican career, saved by Steve Israel's sheer incompetence. While Obama was slaughtering Romney in the district, Israel blew the Democratic nomination with a botched primary and a loser candidate, John Hernandez, who underperformed Obama by 14 points in the district. Valadao spent $1,181,113 to win CA-21, while Hernandez spent $99,754. Rove poured $592,026 into the district to help Valadao. The DCCC spent exactly nothing after Israel's candidate, Blong Xlong, lost the primary. So far this year, the DCCC has no candidates running against Valadao, Nunes, McCarthy, Royce, Calvert, Cook, Hunter and they have another messy primary to contend with in CA-31, Gary Miller's blue district (which Obama won 57-41%). So far, Israel is putting all his eggs in one basket: CA-10, where he's backing a bee farmer, Michael Eggman against Denham.
As the immigration debate simmers in Washington, California Republicans face a very different reality than a majority of their party colleagues, who elsewhere largely represent districts that are overwhelmingly white.

More than half of California’s 15 Republican members of Congress have districts that are at least 30 percent Latino, making them potentially vulnerable to Democratic challenges and prime targets for those pushing for a path to citizenship. In Mr. Valadao’s district, Latinos make up 70 percent of the population.

With Republicans all but relegated to a minority party in California-- Democrats hold every statewide elected office, maintain a large majority in the State Legislature and hold a vast majority of Congressional seats-- many here blame the party’s decline on its stance on immigration.

...All of this has put pressure on Representative Kevin McCarthy, a Republican whose district is about one-third Latino and includes part of Bakersfield, a working-class, immigrant-heavy city that Mr. Valadao also represents. As the majority whip, the third-ranking leader of the Republican-controlled House, Mr. McCarthy is expected to play an important role in deciding which legislative proposals end up being voted on and which are squelched this fall.

In the past, Mr. McCarthy has called the immigration process broken, saying that the priority must be on securing borders and that he is opposed to an amnesty. Aides to the lawmaker did not respond to repeated requests for an interview.

One commercial appearing on cable television in his district attacks “obstructionists” blocking an immigration overhaul. Another accuses him of “talking about legalizing 11 million illegal aliens, making it easier for them to take jobs.”

After a union-backed protest in Mr. McCarthy’s district in August, demonstrators marched into his office with pictures of immigrants, along with farm tools and produce, in an attempt to illustrate their impact on the community here. In the arid Central Valley, where dairy farms and peach and almond orchards stretch for miles, immigrants have provided the steadiest source of agricultural and service employees.

Mr. McCarthy told a local radio station last week that most of the protesters had come from outside his district. [From next door in McKeon's district?] Mr. McCarthy also faces pressure from those against illegal immigration. “He’s shown that he is flexible on immigration and has said we need to be more open to foreign workers, but the great irony is that he’s in a district with high unemployment,” said Joe Guzzardi, the national media director for Californians for Population Stabilization, which opposes any kind of citizenship for those in the country illegally.

...Angelica Salas, the executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, said Republicans were “sort of wedged between a rock and a hard place of their own doing.” The coalition organized dozens of events singling out Republican congressmen last month.

She said Mr. McCarthy had met with her and other activists and signaled that he was open to supporting citizenship. “What I see him trying to deal with is the recognition that there’s a real interdependence on immigrant labor in his district,” Ms. Salas said, “but also some very shrill Republicans who either don’t get it or don’t care.”

While Mr. Valadao said he did not have plans to increase pressure on his Republican colleagues, other local leaders have been more willing to openly voice criticism.

“We have people who graduated from our colleges who can’t get jobs because they can’t get citizenship,” said Mayor Harvey L. Hall of Bakersfield, a Republican who spoke onstage at a protest directed at Mr. McCarthy. “All you have to do is go out on the weekend, and you can see that our growth as a city depends on the immigrant population.”
Lee Rogers at the immigration reform rally in the Antelope Valley yesterday. His approach is very different from McKeon's desire that Hispanic immigrants "self-deport"
Last year when he ran against McKeon, Lee Rogers won in the Antelope Valley, which McKeon shares with McCarthy, and which has a lot of recently-registered Latino voters. For many independents in CA-25, regardless of partisanship, the economic argument is the winning argument. This morning, Rogers, who is running against McKeon again-- unless, as rumored, McKeon chickens out and becomes a lobbyist-- told us that "the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the California Chamber support immigration reform because our broken system has to be repaired to keep America competitive in the world. Even more good news is that the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office calculated that the Senate Bill would reduce our federal deficit if it became law. I stand with American businesses knowing that immigration reform will be a shot in the arm to the U.S. economy and reduce our deficit. Any member of the California delegation who rejects comprehensive immigration reform is sacrificing our economy for their own xenophobic ideology." You can help Rogers defeat McKeon here and remember, this Republican problem isn't confined to California, not by a long-shot.

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At 1:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The CA GOP will only "solve" it's "Latino problem" by tying it's (GOP's) collective and individual feet to very heavy concrete blocks and having someone push them of the Golden Gate bridge.

Ditto, national GOP, how about the Brooklyn bride.

John Puma


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