Why The Conservative Coalition Cannot Hold

Bush is losing Latinos, according to a new poll. Of course, he never really had Latinos, since Kerry won nearly 60% of the Latino vote and Gore won nearly 65%. However, whatever small gains Bush and Republicans have made among Latinos is almost entirely evaporating as a result of the identity war conservatives are waging during their final, thrashing, death throes of power in Washington DC. The Washington Post has some data: A survey of 800 registered Hispanic voters conducted May 11-15 by the nonpartisan Latino Coalition showed that Democrats were viewed as better able to handle immigration issues than Republicans, by nearly 3 to 1: 50 percent to 17 percent. Pitting the Democrats against Bush on immigration issues produced a 2 to 1 Democratic advantage, 45 percent to 22 percent.

The poll findings indicate that Republicans are likely to have a hard time replicating Bush's 2004 performance among Latino voters. According to 2004 exit polls, Bush received the backing of 40 percent of Hispanic voters, up from 34 percent in 2000. Other studies have put the 2004 figure somewhat lower, although there is general agreement that Bush made statistically significant gains from 2000 to 2004. The fundamental problems Republicans face in trying to court any minority group arises from the conservative takeover of the Republican Party. Along with looking to the future for the ideal of society versus looking to the past, perhaps the ultimate difference between conservatism and progressivism is a belief in a closed society with a singular cultural identity versus a belief in an open society with multiple cultures. Absolutist identity versus pluralistic identity. As Republicans do everything they can to placate their white, conservative, church-going Christian base, their self-declared battle of civilizations will continue to alienate minority groups and dissolve whatever gains they made among such groups in 2002 and 2004. Long-term, that is a recipe for electoral disaster in a country that is rapidly growing less Christian and less white. It is in this sense that a conservative-dominated coalition in America can never hold as a long-term natural governing coalition. Short of ending our democracy, it is impossible to wage a successful, long-term identity war in a country that is predicated upon cultural change and permanent diversification.

Tags: Culture, Demographics, Ideology (all tags)

Comments

8 Comments

Re: Why The Conservative Coalition Cannot Hold

Chris,

Can you comment at some point on how well the GOP might do to re-gain its hold on to the Latino vote by emphasizing (again) fundamentalist Christian views, issues such as abortion, prayer in schools, vouchers for private christian schools?

Isn't the situation for the GOP now in reference to the Latino population of being stuck between two explosive wedge issues, christian moral issues verses immigration?

And if they attempt to play off of the moral issues set will it work, or have they reached some sort of inflexion point with this group of voters?

by leschwartz 2006-05-21 11:41AM | 0 recs
Building a New and Sustainable Majority

Chris,

I think this and your last post (A New Power is Rising) are dead-on and really important and exciting in their implications.  I'd suggest a few other issues, dynamics & constituencies might be worth considering in this political restructuring:

--net neutrality and the tech and tech-blogger communities that care about it and that develop tools for the future development of the blogosphere and the Internet in general;

--the potential role of local and state Community Internet (a.k.a. muni-broadband) initiatives and activists, including potential synergies with Democratic organizing at the local and state levels, which share a goal of limiting the control of corporate monopolists and building strong and healthy local communities and grassroots political systems;

--what some call the "religious/spiritual left" (see: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/con tent/article/2006/05/19/AR2006051901813. html ).  Though I think some people won't be able to move off their anti-abortion and anti-gay fixations, I think the moral decay and hypocrisy of the national Republican leadership will continue to chip away at its religious constituency and also continue to mobilize and expand a sector of religious and spiritually-minded people who are becoming motivated to get involved in creating a more humane society and government more in line with the core values of their religious beliefs.

I'd also be interested in comments from you and other MyDD bloggers on the exchange between Zack Exley and Paul Begala at Huffington Post:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-begal a/bringing-a-knife-to-a-gun_b_21275.html

I got the sense that, after you get past Begala's dismissive initial comments, that they both make good points and maybe the issue is really about finding the right balance of where to spend limited amounts of money.  Any thoughts on that discussion?

by mitchipd 2006-05-21 12:17PM | 0 recs
Why are Hispanics still split on GOP?

I think we ought to look at the Hispanic demo the other way, too.

Because, for a start, the conservative takeover explanation doesn't really hold water - because the conservatives had taken over by 2004, and a third (say) of the demo went to Bush.

The most notable thing to me about the demo is that it seems to be split in another way: part of it behaves like the black demo (unerringly Dem) while the rest of it behaves like the white demo (available to both parties, depending).

How do the most/least loyally Dem of Hispanics break down? Is it those who have been in the US the longest (or shortest)? Or the oldest/youngest? Or most longest-standing/most recently naturalized citizens? Or what?

I'd assume, as I suspect many would, that national origin is also powerful: Mexicans with a much higher propensity to vote Dem than Cubans, say. But I've no idea what the actual numbers are.

Of course, there are advantages and disadvantages with loyalty: loyalty buys favors from the machine, and an inside track with access; at the same time as tending to lead to a demo being taken for granted.

And - though the effect of this is unclear to me - it's interesting to note that the decade or more running up to the enactment of the CRA in 64 and VRA in 65 was a period in which the GOP had won back a large minority of Negro votes, at least in the presidential elections - Nixon lost a good proportion of Ike's Negro votes.

As for Hispanic leaders, I'm not clear how many would prefer a solid voting block to bargain with, and how many are quite happy with Hispanics being a self-motivating electorate that cannot be traded like pork bellies.

A very interesting demo, all told. (Which it hasn't been, not that I've seen.)

by skeptic06 2006-05-21 01:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Why The Conservative Coalition Cannot Hold

I have always thought that the Republican inroads amongst Hispanics was overblown.  

You have to give Rove and Bush credit for understanding the importance of the bloc, however.  The rightwingers within the party are driving them off the cliff.  

It is indeed stunning to realize just how much the Hispanic and black communities have soured on the Republican Party since the 2004 election.  Even amongst the latinos and blacks who never supported the GOP, their opposition is now way more visceral than it has been in a long, long time.

by jgarcia 2006-05-21 01:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Why The Conservative Coalition Cannot Hold

Short of ending our democracy, it is impossible to wage a successful, long-term identity war in a country that is predicated upon cultural change and permanent diversification.

This is so beautifully-put, Chris. Something I've thought a million times, but have never been able to put into words.

by Scott Shields 2006-05-21 04:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Why The Conservative Coalition Cannot Hold

You might also find that third generation Latinos are more conservative, and take a tougher line on illegal immigration than first and second generation. That's another argument for guest worker programs and a shot at citizenship - for Republicans, that is. Another thought: what if the criteria for citizenship for Hispanics were set by Karl Rove? Might we then see the numbers skew Republican over the next few decades?

by Heraldblog 2006-05-21 06:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Why The Conservative Coalition Cannot Hold

Did a little digging and found out that the organization who released this poll is actually the Latino Policy Coalition.  Must have been a typo.  A big typo.

by shrug 2006-06-13 10:05AM | 0 recs
by shrug 2006-06-13 10:08AM | 0 recs

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