Last month, I posted a story about the voter registration misgivings conservatives have with immigration reform. James Pethokoukis at AEI said that if the eleven million illegals here were able to vote in 2012, Obama wouldn’t have won more swing states. Additionally, he would’ve performed a half a percentage point better with Hispanics. On the other hand, Republicans can still make inroads with Hispanics, whose younger voters tend to identify as independents upon reaching voting age.
Concerning the demographic shift, the Center for Immigration Studies stated the following last June.
- The record high of 15 percent projected for 2020 if the bill passes means that over just a 50-year period the foreign-born share of the population would have more than tripled, from 4.7 percent in 1970. There has never been a period in American history when the foreign-born share grew this fast.
- The size of foreign-born population doubled from 1990 to 2010, nearly tripled since 1980, and quadrupled since 1970. If S.744 becomes law it would quintuple by 2020, compared to 1970.
- The size of the foreign-born population will have increased from 9.6 million in 1970 to 31.1 million in 2000, to 65.2 million by 2033.
- Based on the CBO projections, the total size of the U.S. population will reach 351.8 million in 2023, an increase of 43.1 million compared to 2010. It will reach 381.5 million by 2033, a 72.8 million increase over the 2010 Census.
- Despite all this increase in the U.S. population, S.744 would have almost no impact on slowing the aging of American society. With or without S.744, 57 percent of the U.S. population will be of working age (18-64) in 2030.
- It is worth pointing out that the size and share of the foreign-born population and the share would not stabilize in 2033 under S.744. Both would continue to increase significantly after that date.
Yet, on July 3, Reuters reported that the Gang of Eight’s bill would slash illegal immigration by 50%. Even if that’s true, which I doubt, the problem with cost persists.
If the vast majority of these new immigrants become Democrats, then conservatives could be entering a long period in the political wilderness, but that’s only IF conservatives throw in the towel. Public opinion is shiftable sand. Therefore, there are no permanent victories in our society. Currently, the ball in the the Democrats’ court. As Allahpundit noted from Gallup, Hispanics lean towards the Democratic Party in all age groups.
However, younger Hispanics initially gravitate towards being unaffiliated voters, but eventually most become Democrats. Nevertheless, the fact that they choose to register as independents first presents a window of opportunity for conservatives. Gallup concluded in their July 15 poll saying:
The extent to which the increase in the Hispanic proportion of the young adult population pays off for Democratic candidates in actual voting remains to be seen, because Hispanic registration and voter turnout in national elections has historically been significantly lower than that of other segments of the population. For example, the Census Bureau estimated that 48% of the eligible Hispanic electorate voted in the 2012 presidential election, compared with 64% for whites and 66% for blacks.
The best-case scenario for Democrats is a continuation of the substantial Democratic tilt in political identification among Hispanics in the years ahead and a simultaneous increase in their political participation.
The game is not over yet. But it’s up to conservatives to make a concerted – and relentless – effort to target this eminently winnable demographic. We may not get all of them, but we can siphon away enough support from Democrats to keep our ideals competitive in future national elections. Generally, independent voters are closeted Republicans. Additionally, the numerous scandals by the Obama administration should neutralize the developing affinity for big government policies. Focusing on the Hispanic principles of work ethic, faith, and traditional values (for the most part) is where conservatives can be successful. We should all be looking forward to this challenge.