June 1, 2005

Census Bureau Deflates Myths of "Latino Power"

My new VDARE.com article: Newsweek puts new left-liberal LA mayor Antontio Villaraigosa on a cover headlined "Latino Power," but runs a cliché-ridden story about how "Latino Power" is good for ... the Republicans!

Fortunately, new Census Bureau data on who actually voted in 2004 is out, and it provides an important perspective. I write:

In 1997, Peter Brimelow and Edwin S. Rubenstein's article "Electing a New People" first laid out the math of how importing Democratic-leaning immigrants works against the Republican Party in the long term. The inexorable conclusion: it is in the GOP's self-interest to cut immigration.

Pro-mass immigration enthusiasts on the right, however, inverted this logic to argue that Hispanics were already such an irresistible force that the only salvation for the Republicans was more of the hair of the dog that bit them. The GOP must win over the Latino vote by opening up the borders even farther.

This quickly became conventional wisdom in the news media.

My contribution from 2000 onward has been to make two criticisms:

First, I noted that opening the borders wider was not the royal road to the hearts of Hispanic voters. Because Latino voters bear so much of the brunt of the immigration wave in lower wages and overwhelmed schools, they are far more ambivalent about immigration than their self-appointed ethnic "leaders" claim. The Latino leadership wants more warm bodies from south of the border to make themselves look more important. But Hispanic voters want better lives for themselves and their children. This was validated last November when the successful anti-illegal immigration initiative Prop. 200 won 47% of the Latino vote in Arizona.

Second, I pointed out that, even if Hispanic citizens were indeed desperate for more immigration, the much-heralded future of Latino political dominance hasn't quite gone through the formality of taking place yet. Hispanic voting clout is more limited and growing more slowly than the media assumes. There is still time to limit immigration.

For example, in 2001 I was the first to show that while the press universally claimed that Hispanics comprised 7 percent of the electorate in 2000, the Census Bureau's 50,000 household telephone survey of voters, which is the gold standard for understanding who votes, reported they made up only 5.4 percent of the electorate.

Not that facts matter much these days.

Two years later, Michael Barone claimed:

"… Hispanic immigrants are the fastest-growing and politically most fluid segment of the electorate. They were 7 percent of voters in 2000 and could be 9 percent in 2004, most of them in big states."

Barone truly is one of America's leading experts on voting behavior. His biennial Almanac of American Politics is an awe-inspiring 1,800 page trove of data for political junkies.

But Barone's factually-challenged cheerleading for immigration is unworthy of him. And that's why I've criticized him frequently over the years. It's easy to beat up on amateurs, but for me to score so many points off the top pro means I've had to be right about the impact of immigration on voting. And the only way I've been able to be correct so much more than a master like Barone, who has fifty times my experience and contacts, is if Barone is opening the door by kidding himself about what the numbers say.

So, in May of 2004, I wrote in VDARE.com:

"I hereby declare that, in the tradition of the famous bet between Julian Simon and Paul Ehrlich, I will wager $1,000 that the Hispanic share of the 2004 Presidential vote—according to the November 2004 Census Bureau survey—will be closer to my prediction of 6.1 percent than to Barone's prediction of 8.5%."

Barone didn't take me up on the bet, which is too bad because I could definitely use the money.

Last week, the Census Bureau revealed its results: the 2004 Hispanic vote totaled only 6.0 percent, even less than my forecast of 6.1 percent and a long way from the 9 percent Barone speculated about...

Many commentators have attributed Bush's better showing in 2004 compared to 2000 to Hispanics. Dick Morris, a campaign consultant for Vicente Fox and Bill Clinton, wrote in the New York Post:

"George W. Bush was re-elected on Tuesday because the Hispanic vote, long a Democratic Party preserve, shifted toward the president's side."...

Bush pulled 11.6 million more votes in 2004 than in 2000, the majority of that growth due to higher overall turnout. By my calculations, over 80 percent of those 11.6 million additional votes, or 9.5 million, came from non-Hispanic whites.

Whites provided almost ten times as many incremental Bush votes as the next most important ethnic contributor to his growth, Hispanics, at 0.97 million extra votes.

As I've said for years, there's a distinct possibility that Karl Rove knows that his minority outreach talk is mostly a smokescreen to distract the media from his Strategy That Dares Not Speak Its Name: majority inreach. [More]

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

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