Friday, March 31, 2006

A Dangerous Path

The Republican Party has chosen a rather detrimental path: endangering a long term goal, which is capturing a decent portion of Hispanic votes, for a short term gain, maintaining their majority after the 2006 midterm elections. The Republicans have successfully alienated black voters in this country. In 2000, less than 10 percent of the black vote went to President Bush. He did better in 2004 by gaining an additional 2 percent. These numbers clearly show the Republican loss of the black vote. The African American community in the U.S. is socially conservative. Most blacks are social conservatives with strong opposition to abortion and gay rights; however, they have continually voted democratic in every major election. The Congressional Black Caucus has 39 members, all from the Democratic Party. Their voting pattern on social issues, such as gay rights, is overwhelmingly liberal. They do not represent the African American community’s social and moral values. They have bowed down to the democratic establishment and vote in every direction they are told to, but why do blacks elect representatives who are so out of touch with their values? Why is it that the African American community does not consider the Republican Party as an option? The alienation of Black voters by the Republicans has everything to do with the republican strategy in the aftermath of President Johnson’s support for Civil Rights legislation. The South to the GOP was a hostile land in the aftermath of the Civil War. Democrats controlled everything in the South. After LBJ’s courageous move to lend his support to the civil rights movement, the Democratic Party began to lose support in virtually every Southern state. Many democrats switched parties by joining the Republican Party, which had undertaken an aggressive campaign to recruit democratic fallouts. The Republicans ended the long democratic reign in the South, but they lost the black vote nation wide.
The Republicans are once again causing irreparable damage to their electoral potential.
The Hispanic population is the largest minority in the U.S., constituting an important voting block in many states. In California, for instance, there are 12 million Latinos. About one in three Californians is Latino. Like the African Americans, the Latinos are socialy conservative. Only 11 percent of Latino voters consider themselves very liberal, while 16 percent of California’s black voters prefer such a label. Nearly 56 percent of California’s Latinos are democrats, and yet this will not provide the Democratic Party with a safe and solid voting block. The Republicans however, have managed to alienate the Latinos, driving them into the Democratic camp by endorsing irrational policies. In 1994, Pete Wilson, as governor of California, championed a ballot initiative, which denied state-financed benefits to illegal immigrants by stating, “Proposition 187, stymied in the courts, would have denied nonemergency public services, including education and health care, to the state's illegal immigrant population, which at the time was estimated at 1.6 million, most from Mexico” (John Harwood, The Wall Street Journal, May 3, 2002). The House of Representative’s immigration bill has only decreased republican popularity among Latino voters. The immigration bill will not stop illegal immigration, since free flow of capital requires free flow of labor as well. America needs her cheap work force, therefore the immigration bill will not do a thing to stop it. The immigration bill was a rash decision to please and mobilize the Republican base for a very difficult mid-term election in 2006. Still, the damage caused by this bill to the Republican Party is colossal. The GOP has engaged in a losing gamble. GOP strategists must look at the broader picture: long term Republican dominance. Losing the Hispanic vote will weaken the Republican Party. Mr. Mehlman, Chairman of the Republican National Committee and the GOP leaders in the House and Senate, should not forget the inevitable historical repercussions of alienating black votes.
-Arash Aramesh

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