GOP Hispano-Pander Failing – Except Maybe For Bush Dynasty
Howard R Sutherland
writes: Remember the Wall Street Journal
article ("Party Outreach to Hispanics Pays Dividends for
President" May 21, 2002)
[access requires subscription] claiming President
Bush`s strategy of pandering to Hispanics was paying off
in greater support among them for him and his policies?
It seemed too good to be true. And it was.
The WSJ relied on a May 2002 Bendixen poll of
"800 registered Latino voters" taken for the New
Democrat Network and N.J. Democrat Rep. Bob Menendez.
But Ruy Teixeira of
The Century Foundation
in its most recent
Public Opinion Watch takes a
look at the same data and comes to quite different
conclusions. The Century Foundation is an old
progressive stalwart and Teixeira is no doubt doing some
spinning of its own. Still, his interpretation looks
The Bendixen poll has Hispanics preferring Gore over
Bush in a hypothetical rematch by 46 to 44% (note: Bush
still loses), in contrast to 2000 VNS exit polls that
had Gore over Bush among Hispanics by 62 to 35%. This is
the seismic shift the WSJ trumpeted as proof that
the great GOP Hispano-pander is working.
What Teixeira did that the WSJ didn`t is put this
seeming boost in the context of Bush`s (transitory?)
higher ratings since September 11.
Teixeira points out Bush and Gore were basically even
among all voters in 2000, while Gore had a 27% margin
among Hispanics. In the 2002 Bendixen poll Gore has a 2%
margin over Bush among Hispanics, but the average 2002
Gore-Bush hypothetical match-up gives Bush a 36% margin
among voters overall. So Gore`s margin among Hispanics
is 38 percentage points better than among voters
overall. In relative terms, then, Gore would actually do
11-percentage points better against Bush among Hispanics
today than he did in 2000. While one may quibble with
Teixeira `s methodology – the Gore-Bush spread among
whites vs. Hispanics would make the point clearer – this
is not a story the Wall Street Journal or
would want us to read.
Just to make sure we don`t miss the point, Teixeira
cites other data from the Bendixen poll that the Wall
Street Journal`s headline didn`t hint at. On a
variety of issues identified as "important to the
Hispanic community," here are the margins by which
Hispanics prefer the Democrats to the Grand Old
Supporting the "Latino community" 34%;
Health care 30%;
Helping small business [remember Republican appeals to
"Latino entrepreneurship"?] 29%;
Economy and jobs 19%;
Family and moral values [remember Republican appeals to
"Latino social conservatism"?] 14%;
Relations with Latin America 13%;
and, last but not least, immigration issues 31%.
twist the knife, Teixeira reminds us that Hispanics
preferred Democratic congressional candidates in
2000 by a 29% margin. In 2002, the Bendixen poll has
Hispanics preferring Democratic congressional candidates
by – wait for it! – 30%.
Pretty short tails on Dubya`s abrigo.
[VDARE.COM note for linguistically incorrect readers:
abrigo is Spanish for coat.]
Teixeira also notes that an August 2001 AFL-CIO poll had
Gore over Bush among Hispanics by 25% – no real change
from the election. September 11th hadn`t happened yet,
but Bush had been pandering like mad since long before
his inauguration. Teixeira`s conclusion:
Bush was making no progress before September 11
and then afterward there was a sudden shift in his
direction. It`s hard to avoid the conclusion that the
shift toward Bush among Hispanics is mostly, if not
entirely, a rally effect and a relatively small one to
boot… [A]s the rally effect dissipates over time, as
it already is doing, Hispanics likely will move back to
a strongly pro-Democratic presidential stance.
All I would add to Howard Sutherland`s excellent
analysis of the WSJ article are these three
- It always makes political sense for a President to
emphasize "wedge issues" that illustrate the differences
between his party and the other party (assuming more
voters agree with him than the other guys). It never
makes sense for a President to emphasize an issue that
a wedge into his own party the way Bush`s
amnesty-for-Mexican ploy is doing – especially
most voters think it`s a bad idea.
- Neither the President, nor Karl Rove, nor the press,
seem to understand how tiny the Mexican-American vote
actually is. According to the U.S. Census Bureau,
Mexican-Americans cast only 3.0% of the vote in 2000,
up from 2.6% in 1996. To put this in perspective, the
Census Bureau`s interviews of 50,000 households right
after the 2000 election found that African-Americans
comprised 11.5% and non-Hispanic whites 80.7% of the
Further, 72% of Mexican-American voters in 2000 lived in
California or Texas. Neither of these states will be up
for grabs in a close election in 2004. If Bush is near
to winning California or losing Texas, he will be
winning or losing the national election in a landslide.
In the other 48 states, Mexican-Americans cast a measly
1.1% of the vote.
- So why is Bush doing it? My theory: because Mexican
amnesty is good politics for the Bush family from
a dynastic point of view.
Jeb Bush is
younger, smarter, taller, more articulate, harder
working, and better looking than George W. Jeb will be
55 in 2008 and 63, the age at which is father was
elected President, in 2016 – which is about when the
Mexican-American vote will finally start to be
significant (assuming immigration is not stopped). Jeb
speaks excellent Spanish, has
a degree in Latin American Studies, a Mexican-born
wife, and lots of useful contacts with rich Mexican
Jeb used to vacation at the ranch of Raul Salinas,
who was known as "Mr. 10%" for his habit of demanding a
one tenth cut of all contracts during his brother
Carlos`s lucrative term as President of Mexico.
(Unfortunately, Raul Salinas isn`t hosting any Bushes at
the moment. He`s serving a 27-year prison term for
murdering his ex-brother-in-law. Meanwhile, Raul`s wife
got herself in a spot of trouble when she attempted to
withdraw the $100 million in cash she and her husband
had stashed in a Swiss safety deposit box.)
Jeb`s three half-Mexican children include the
George P. Bush (a hunky cross between JFK Jr. and
Ricky Martin, according to People en Espanol
magazine). George P. says he has
no immediate plans to enter politics. But we can be
forgiven for guessing that the elder Bushes have him
mentally penciled in as President Bush the Fourth, round
about 2028. The young man campaigned in Spanish for his
uncle in 2000 like this:
"This is a President who
represents the diversity of our society,
who we can count on to change
the Republican Party to represent our views,"
said [George P. Bush] … He told the rally his mother had
instilled him the values of
Cesar Chavez, the Chicano activist who fought for
the rights of migrant farmworkers in the United States.
"She told me we have to
fight for our race, we have to find the leaders
who represent us," he said in fluent Spanish.
This, then, is the only logical explanation why George
W. has spent so much effort on a wedge issue that
threatens to split his own party. He thinks the long-run
fate of his dynasty demands a new, improved Republican
Party – and a new, debased America.
June 07, 2002