COMMENTARY | Donald Trump stood up at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Friday and provided conservatives with a two-part plan to strengthen the GOP for future elections. But instead of wooing the Hispanic vote, especially the vote tied to immigration, he decided to head east for GOP rejuvenation. His plan: 1) Reject immigration reform and 2) invite in more European immigrants.
Mediaite reported that the conservative stalwart, businessman, and reality show celebrity gave a speech wherein he berated Republicans for their current bipartisan efforts for immigration reform, stating that such a move that provides expedited pathways to citizenship for a number of America’s estimated 11 million illegal immigrants was a “suicide mission.” Pointing out that the Hispanic vote had been decidedly against the GOP in 2012 (27.5 percent, down from a high of 40 percent support in 2004 for George W. Bush, according to Pew Research Center ) and trending away, Trump said that Republicans should simply repudiate immigration reform.
For Trump, it was simple logic: “When it comes to immigration, you know that the 11 million illegals, even if given the right to vote, you know you’re going to have to do what’s right. But the fact is, 11 million people will be voting Democratic.”
Instead, Trump told the conservative conference that the GOP should give up on the Hispanic vote. “You’re just not going to get those votes,” he insisted.
That sounds a lot like Mitt Romney’s little 47 percent speech whereby he told a group of rich campaign donors that 47 percent of the voters were going to vote Democratic no matter what Republicans said or did, so they should just stop attempting to woo their votes. He characterized these people as those primarily addicted to living off of the government, entitlement beneificiaries, and those who didn’t pay income taxes.
Forget about them, they’re just going to vote Democratic anyway.
Unfortunately for the GOP, it is that type of exclusionist thinking has the party struggling to redefine itself, causing a bit of turmoil within the ranks between those who want to push further right and disregard the demographics and those that want what they call a “big tent” party, where a softening of the party guidelines on certain issues (mostly social) would make the Republican Party more appealing to minorities.
So now Trump, a wealthy financier that most likely has only known 47 percenters and illegal immigrants that have waited at his tables when dining, wants to exclude another large portion of the American populace from conservative political consideration — the potential Hispanic voter brought about by immigration reform.
But what should Republicans fight for? Apparently more European immigrants.
“Why aren’t we letting people in from Europe?” Trump asked. “I have many friends, many, many friends, and nobody wants to talk this. Nobody wants to say it,” he added, “but I have many friends from Europe, they want to come in!”
So let’s get this straight. The Republican Party should disavow comprehensive immigration because all those illegals that would then be allowed to vote (sometime in the future, after they’ve walked the path to citizenship), and history suggests that they would vote for Democrats. (All of them, Trump insists.) Instead, Republicans should work on getting more Europeans to immigrate.
But why? What’s the reasoning for raising the quota on European immigrants. Are we to believe that Europeans wishing to emigrate to America are all conservatives, thus providing the GOP with a population of new recruits to combat the “11 million illegals?” That is difficult to believe. Almost as difficult to believe as all of those 11 million “illegals” voting Democratic.
Still, Trump’s disdain for comprehensive immigration reform flies in the face of public opinion as well. According to 2012 Pew Research survey , only 28 percent of Americans wanted more restricted immigration laws. Only 27 percent wanted a better defined access to citizenship, but a plurality (44 percent) said both approaches should be used to reform immigration laws.
It also flies in the face of the GOP’s move to woo the Hispanic vote of the future. As Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., told CNN in January , the continuing alienation of the Hispanic vote had proven counterproductive and ” demographics indicate that our chances for being in the majority are minimal.”
And with speeches like Trump’s at CPAC, the GOP’s chances won’t get much better, e ven if all of Trump’s many, many European friends — which have to number in the, what, dozens at least? — were to become American citizens.