GOP – California Dreamin`

A number of Republican pundits are trying to
convince us (and, I suspect, themselves) that
even though all of George W. Bush`s huffing and
puffing after the Hispanic vote ended up with
Latinos giving Al Gore a 62% to 35% landslide,
the GOP should only redouble its efforts. Here
are some of their notions, with commentary.

is hope for future
Republican victories in
California and other
states with high Latino
populations. This year`s
election results
strongly suggest that
Bush`s pro-business,
traditional virtues, and
school-choice message
resonated well with
Hispanic voters."
Larry Kudlow, National
Review Online

Say what? The Hispanic vote in California
went 68% to 29% for Gore. The state`s
Republicans are now so short of credible and
willing candidates that an L.A. Times
columnist is talking up as a plausible
Republican gubernatorial candidate in 2002:
Sonny Bono`s widow! []

  • "Almost 50 percent more
    California Mexican-Americans
    voted for Bush than voted
    Republican in the 1998
    gubernatorial election." –
    Raoul Lowery Contreras, North
    County Times
    (San Diego)

An elementary statistical fallacy. (No-one
said immigration enthusiasts can count). You can
get large percentage increases when you start
with a small base – but you`re still left with a
small total. And a landslide defeat.

  • Bush the Second did better than Bush
    the First by losing only 62% to
    35% compared to his Dad`s losing
    65% to 25% in 1992.

Marginally true – but look at the electoral
math of a fast growing bloc vote. Unless the
Republicans can gain Hispanic share faster than
the number of Hispanic voters grow, they lose
ground overall. The number of Hispanic voters
roughly doubled between 1992 and 2000. So,
despite his marginally increased share among
Hispanics, Dubya lost by more votes among them
in 2000 than Poppy did in 1992.

This pattern is only going to get worse as
the GOP runs into diminishing returns with
Hispanics. Short of nominating Jennifer López
for Vice President, what else exactly can the
Republicans do to lure Latinos beyond what Bush
did … and still remain Republicans?

  • Bush did better than Dole did among

Bush did better than Dole did among the
overall electorate, too. Dubya had, among other
advantages over Dole, a pulse. Bob Dole was one
helluva man in his prime, but 1996 was not
exactly his prime.

Also, keep in mind that Bush wasted a lot of
time and money campaigning and advertising in
California, with its huge Hispanic population.
It maybe brought him some Latino votes –
although, strikingly, he did worse that Pete
Wilson in 1994 – but he should have focused on
Florida instead. In contrast, Dole sensibly blew
off California almost completely.

Despite pandering to Hispanics relentlessly,
Dubya performed worse than Reagan did in 1984,
when he got 37%. The Hispanic electorate has
changed a lot over the years, and not for the
better from the Republican Party`s point of

Partly because, during Operation Wetback,
Eisenhower deported huge numbers of the poorest
Mexicans (i.e., the ones most inclined to have
voted Democratic if they had been allowed to
stick around and become citizens.) Back then,
Mexican Americans were simply a different, more
assimilated group.

This appears to be the best-case scenario
that Republicans can come up with. But just keep
in mind: it took two or three generations – and
the 1920s immigration cut-off – for
Italian-Americans to turn Republican. In the
meantime, they were part of the backbone of the
Democratic Hegemony that lasted from 1932 to
1968 in the White House, and all the way up to
1994 in the House of Representatives.

  • Among Texan Hispanics, Dubya trailed
    Gore by only 11 points

Sure, but among Texan whites, Bush won by an
incredible 73% to 34%. (The man is really
popular in Texas. I guess he must grow on you.)
So Dubya did 30 points worse among Hispanics
than among whites in Texas.

If Bush had carried 73% of the white vote in
each state, he would have won over 500 electoral
votes … even if not a single non-white had
voted for him.

Hey, maybe the GOP should try that strategy
instead – it couldn`t fail any more decisively.

[Steve Sailer [email
him] is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and

movie critic

The American Conservative
His website
features his daily

November 21, 2000