I'd predicted, previously, that if the GOP establishment (GOPe) was serious about a Civil War with the Tea Party we'd see it in Immigration reform. Today, we have (okay, yesterday). The House (of all places) unveiled 2 pages of immigration reform principles. These are:
- Boarder Security Must Come First. Most important!!
- Implement Visa Entry-Exit System. It's existing law. Maybe make it bio-metric!
- Implement Electronic Workplace Verification. For lawn guys? It doesn't say ...
- Reform Existing Immigration System. Especially for comely Swedish surgeons--you know, people we really want in the country.
- Let The Good Kids Stay. Basically the DREAM Act.
- Out Of The Shadows. If you are here illegally, you can stay so long as you (a) emerge from the shadows, (b) pass a background check, (c) admit wrong-doing. They get no special path to citizenship and there have to be "triggers" met (conditions preventing further illegal immigration) to allow them to stay.
What's All This Mean?
So, here are a few things this means:
- The document doesn't say what the "triggers" are. If it's no evidence of immigration over 5 years to set this in stone that's one thing. If it's "Appropriations bill passed for more border enforcement," that's something else.
- The Dems want voting rights for allowed-to-stay illegal immigrants (no duh)--but the GOP doesn't (no duh). What if the Dems have to choose between signing on to something that doesn't give rights ... but protects people already here? The already-here and afraid crowd might vote R if the Dems don't back it.
- Isn't letting anyone stay legally just one more vote away from them all getting the vote? Like, what if 2016 happens and the Dems get Hillary, the Senate, and somehow, the House? Then: BANG Texas is Purple!! (ZOMG!! PURPLE TEJAS!!)
- Why the hell do this NOW!? WE WERE CRUSHING THEM ON OBAMACARE!!
Why Do It Now?
The reason to do this now is because it'll break the back of the Tea Party. The Tea Party has to come out and vote in 2014--they might take the freakin' Senate. Now, they might throw a bunch of bums out--maybe--but the Chamber of Commerce (which backs immigration reform because they want skilled immigrants) is going to fund against TP insurrection. If there are establishment candidates on the ballot in 2014 the TP has a terrible choice: stay home and give up ... or vote for the GOPe.
If they vote GOPe this time?
It's all over.
This is what the R-Civil War looks like. The motivation for doing this at all is probably based on two fears:
- Down the road of demographics? Purple Texas. It's coming and everyone knows it.
- Fear of Narwhal. No one expects the Hispanic vote to be a big deal in 2014--but what if it was. The Democrats are better at turning people out now than they ever have been--and they've been aggressively improving their voter-model trying to widen the gap. What if in 2014 they could turn out every Hispanic voter who turned out in 2012? It ain't impossible and it could be messy. I suspect R-technology strategists are eyeing the 2014 ground game and going "They have all those people's contact info and very cost-effective methods of contacting them. If we aren't in the Hispanic game 2014 -- the odds are low, but still -- might suck."