Advice to the GOP from an Old Political Pro
Last fall, as the Obama administration struggled to implement the so called “Affordable (Health) Care Act”, the Republican Party was the fortuitous recipient of an unexpected and pivotal issue on which to run in 2014 with the strong backing of the vast majority of the American electorate. That issue was issue was and is – the repeal of ObamaCare.
Never in my 60+ years of following and participating in politics have I seen a domestic issue garner such overwhelming grassroots support so swiftly as the call for repeal of ObamaCare did. As the Obama administration tried to implement and then fix this flawed legislation millions of Americans lost their healthcare coverage, saw their health insurance premiums skyrocket, and/or saw their work hours shrink as employers attempted to avoid providing health insurances to some of their workers. These factors caused well over 50% of the electorate to rise up and voice very strong disapproval of the Obamacare program.
The Republicans in Congress, who had voted 100% against this unpopular legislation, were handed a winning issue on a platter – not by political hacks and strategists but by the electorate itself. This was a made in heaven issue on which they could run in November, retain control of the House and most likely re-take the Senate. But snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, the repeal of ObamaCare will not be the central issue and central talking point of the GOP’s fall campaign. Rather, House Republicans last week at their annual retreat, on the insistence of their leadership, decided to make the highly unpopular issue of immigration reform and amnesty the centerpiece of their fall campaign.
DAHA, Mr.Boehner – YOU GOT TO BE KIDDING!
To downgrade a campaign issue that has overwhelming national support in favor of an issue that is overwhelmingly opposed by your party’s base and independents alike is suicidal stupidity. Amnesty is an issue that many feel, contrary to Mr. Boehner and the House leadership’s view, will not bring Hispanic voters into the GOP camp in the near term and most likely will be a Trojan Horse that will swell Democratic voter rolls in the future as these newly legalized immigrants and/or their offspring will predictably and eventually be granted citizenship and the right to vote. Regardless what the House leadership says, amnesty for today’s illegal immigrants will eventually, in 5, 10, or maybe even 20 year, lead to citizenship for today’s illegal’s.
This political pivot that this change in strategy represents is not only stupid; it is destined to be a failed political strategy for the Republicans. The Crusty Conservative, in a post last June, discussed the fact that immigration reform was not a significant enough of an issue among Hispanic voters to cause them to vote Republican. Additionally, I pointed out statistical studies that provide evidence showing on a national basis that Republicans would have to garner over 70% of the Hispanic vote (an almost impossible task) for that alone to effect the outcome of a presidential election.
If the Republicans are serious about maintaining the House, re-taking the Senate in 2014 and laying the groundwork for a 2016 Presidential victory, they should:
#1 – Forget about immigration reform and amnesty. That issue will lose them more votes among their conservative base, tea party members and independents than they could ever hope to gain from Hispanic voters because of their support for this issue and
#2 – Instead aim every available electoral weapon at ObamaCare and the Democrats who voted for it.
ObamaCare is the one issue that a majority of grassroots voters, Republicans and Democrats alike, care about. It is a popular issue that the Republicans can use to gain House and Senate seats in the Fall. Republicans, please don’t throw away a once in a lifetime opportunity to win by trying to appease a voting bloc that will never vote Republican simply because of its stand on immigration.
It is time for the leadership in the US House of Representatives to fulfill their constitutional duty and Represent The People. As the late Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley once said –
“There go my people. I am their leader. So, therefore I must follow them.”
Pretty sage political advice –
from a man who was elected mayor five times in the rough and tumble world of Chicago politics.
The Crusty Conservative
February 3, 2014
PostScript Since the above was written and first published early this week, House Speaker Boehner has responded to pressure from his conservative base and heeded Mayor Daley’s advice and is now saying that there will be no immigration reform in this Congress. ff
The Crusty Conservative
“… individuals may injure a whole society, by not declaring their sentiments.
It is therefore not only their right, but their duty, to declare them.”