The *best* outcome would be a faster road to citizenship, but basically any amnesty/path plan would be helpful. The Democrats don't have to worry about "losing" the issue or anything like that, since immigrants tend to be so liberal on other issues.
In terms of politics, I think the best outcome is passage of a bill the liberalizes immigration policies as much as possible. I think working-class whites who oppose easing restrictions will be less likely to activate against Democrats on the basis of a no vote than Latinos will be to activate in favor of Democrats based on a yes vote, although I'm not positive.
I don't think the Dems can lose on this. If something good gets passed, they can take credit. If something not so good gets passed, they can take credit for some and attack the Rs for obstructing. If nothing gets passed, well, so long any R inroads with Latinos for a few more years.
Well, if we're engaging in no-limits speculation on the "best" outcome:A comprehensive bill passes with near-unanimous Democratic support and a solid majority of Republicans opposed. Marco Rubio and Chris Christie make feeble efforts to earn the GOP nomination, but are soon shouted down in a primary dominated by terms like "Marco Phones" and "Obamanesty." Ted Cruz wins the nomination on an implicit "you're not a racist because you voted for the Cuban guy" platform, after being widely panned by editorial boards for suggesting that anyone who voted for the immigration bill is disloyal.His ego inflated by his primary victory, Cruz runs a general election campaign in the grand tradition of Sharon Angle, Joe Miller and John Raese in which he proposes balancing the federal budget by devolving Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security to the states. He also pledges to cease enforcement of all laws he deems unconstitutional. After a Washington Post op-ed signed by Charles Fried and J. Harvie Wilkinson points out that this means Cruz would no longer enforce child labor laws, he spends the first presidential debate trying to change the subject to the budget deficit. The early campaign is dominated by an anonymously funded Democratic Super PAC's ad highlighting Cruz's belief that George Soros leads a United Nations plot to destroy the game of golf. Hillary Clinton outperforms the fundamentals by 10 points.With Carl Levin retired, no old-bull Democrats remain in the Senate willing to lead the opposition to filibuster reform, and President Clinton enjoys a governing majority. One of the 115th Congress's first acts is to enact the Voting Rights Act of 2017, which bans voter ID laws and partisan gerrymandering, reinstates Section 5 of the first Voting Rights Act, and requires all states to have automatic voting or same day registration. It also provides a refundable tax credit to encourage low-income Americans to vote. The law is upheld in a 5-4 decision by Justice Caitlin Halligan, joined by Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, Kagan and Liu. In the same term, these five justices declare Citizens United v. FEC to be "novel when made and unsupported by any provision of the Constitution" in the landmark case United States v. Adelson.So, anyways, that would be the best possible outcome for Democrats in terms of electoral politics.
Brilliant, Ian. A vision we can all aspire to.
What everyone above said. I agree with them all.
The best political outcome is passing a good bill - it's good politics to achieve your policy goal, and there is at least some risk that some Latinos become discouraged about the political process if there is no bill or a bad bill. The second best political outcome is no bill gets passed and Republicans are clearly to blame - that helps mitigate the risk that Latinos become discouraged.
Once a legislation is passed, the issue is neutralized and the Republicans are free to compete on Latinos on other issues. Moreover, one reason the latinos lean democratic is because they are poor. In building such a long road into citizenship, Republicans allow the latino immigrants to experience upward social mobility, become more integrated in american society with latino becoming over time another shade of white. In other words, in time, a richer, more integrated latino vote becomes more amenable to Republican oeuvres. Meantime, while this voting block remains relatively poor, large segments of that block cannot vote.So, I think that with passage of a bill, Republicans gain a short-term minor advantage, which possibly becomes a Democratic advantage over the medium term before it equalizes over the long run. That of course presupposes that the two party platforms will remain stable. Chances are however that platforms will remain somewhat dynamic with Republicans moderating a bit. Part of said moderation should result result in larger appeal with Latinos. Legislation not getting passed because of Repubican intransigence will present Democrats with the greatest electoral advantage; not only would it leave latinos with a sour taste that could last quite a bit (like the infamous California prop), but it's going to be used by the Dems as a weapon to clobber the Republicans during the next electoral cycles. Said weapon is going to be especially effective if they manage to increase latino mobilization during midterm cycles.Conversely, I think that immigration highlights what is especially salient fissures within the Republican coalition. With the Republican base having moved so far to the right and Republicans needing to moderate in order to win elections, the American party system is in some ways a two party system containing three factions. Each issue that cuts across said Republican fissure destablizes the party and makes its electoral success more difficult.
I agree with everyone here: it is good for Democrats regardless. That's why I tend to think we won't get it. I don't see the benefit of it for Republicans. In order to win more of the Latino vote, they need to embrace immigration reform. But it is necessary, not sufficient. Given that, why would they do it? Because Rubio wants to be president? That's not a strong argument.
Actual enforcement on illegal employers.
I think Andrew Gelman, as quoted by Kevin Drum, gets this exactly right:http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2013/04/who-will-immigration-reform-help-more-republicans-or-democratsWith Democrats already getting so much of the hispanic vote, there is literally no upside for them in terms of congressional seats. The Republicans have everything to gain.
Purely political, a high profile scuttling of the bill by House Republicans (after it makes it through the Senate), is probably the best option. They'll say plenty of racist things in the process, anger a lot of people, and generally push another generation of votes to Democrats. They can bank those winnings and give another bill a try in 2 years.The biggest impact of a loss could be neutralizing Marco Rubio as a national politician, especially if his base rebels against him. That increases the likelihood that we get a Jindal or Bush nomination, which is a big plus in my book.That said, Democrats should and do want a good bill to come out of this process, because they deeply believe in the policy goals of immigration reform.
Totally agree; I think that is almost a strategy on the left. Take commonsense measures and watch them get blown to shit by the House GOP. Midterms are coming up and allowing the DCCC to paint them as coocoobananas could win back the House.
A signed law- somewhere along the Obama/Bush/Gang of 8 spectrum- and a base revolt on the right.It looks entirely possible.
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At The Washington Post
At The American Prospect