NRO Rebunks Bush`s Hispanic Share Myth
National Review Online
ran an article yesterday (Dec. 8th, 2004) by Richard
"Bush`s `Real` Hispanic Numbers: Debunking the
It`s supposed to be an attack
interpretation of the
2004 presidential election results. But a close
reading shows that it largely supports my contention:
unlimited open borders plan would both be
bad for the Republican Party (by importing more
future Democrats than Republicans) and would not make
the GOP more popular with current Hispanic voters.
Nadler`s final estimate of the
Hispanic results appears to be Kerry 60% – Bush 38%.
That`s awfully close to my best estimate (60-39).
Nadler`s number suggests that Bush`s share of the
Hispanic vote increased by three percentage points over
2000, equal to Bush`s growth in the overall vote, and
one point less than his growth in the non-Hispanic white
vote (from 54% to 58%).
Nadler tries to debunk my claim
that the Republicans` share of the Hispanic vote
generally goes up and down in sync with the white vote
way to the left).
But he presents a table of numbers
showing that, just as I`ve argued, in six of the last
seven elections, the GOP`s share of the Hispanic and
white votes have moved in the same direction. (For
statheads: the correlation coefficient of the white and
Hispanic shares Nadler presents is a high 0.75, But I
noticed that he made a typo in my favor. The real
correlation is a lower but still strong 0.64. And that
correlation is probably artificially lowered by the
random errors in the reported Hispanic figures caused by
small Hispanic sample sizes, especially in the past.)
In sharp contrast, there is
essentially zero correlation (-0.08) between the
movement of the GOP`s share of the black and white
votes—they`ve only gone up or down together in three of
the last seven elections.
This distinction between the
behavior of black and Hispanic voters has led to the
common characterization of Hispanics as "swing
voters," when a better characterization would be
"flow voters," since on the whole they go with the
overall national flow, just far more toward the
The simplest model of white,
Hispanic, and black voting behavior is that voters (at
least those who are less than well-to-do and are
family-oriented) are on average torn between the
Democrats` tax-and-spend policies and the Republicans`
family values stances. The poorest ethnic group of
voters, blacks, feels they can`t afford to waste their
vote on semi-symbolic family values issues when they
need direct help on bread-and-butter issues. In
contrast, the wealthiest ethnic group of voters, whites,
can afford to vote for Republicans—both because some are
so wealthy that GOP policies like eliminating the
inheritance tax are in their self-interest; and because,
for the majority, they can afford to vote for family
Hispanic voters fall in the middle.
Hispanics, overall, are quite poor. But those who are
citizens and regular voters tend to be a little better
off than blacks, and somewhat more upwardly mobile. They
are tempted by the GOP`s family values rhetoric. But a
large majority feel their pocketbooks demand they vote
This suggests that Hispanics are
most likely to become Republican voters when, on
average, they aren`t so poor. The most straightforward
way to raise Hispanic average incomes is to stop
taking in so many extremely poor Hispanics from south of
(This also has the secondary effect
of cutting out the depressing effect on Hispanic wages
of the constant arrival of what Marx called "the
reserve army of the unemployed" from Mexico.)
But we don`t get that kind of broad
analysis from Nadler because he has one fish to fry:
getting Republicans to spend more money on ads on
minority radio and TV stations.
This NRO article, like
Nadler`s effort in our Insight debate last spring
on minority outreach (here is
his essay and here is
mine) reads like a sales pitch for why Republicans
should spend more cash at his old advertising agency,
Access Communications Group, an Overland Park, KS
firm specializing in producing Republican ads for
black radio stations.
In Insight, Nadler was
forthright about admitting that he was the former
president and a current consultant at Access, but NRO
doesn`t seem to mention this.
Knowing Nadler`s business
background makes it much easier to understand his
otherwise inexplicably narrow focus on spending more on
Hispanic advertising—which amusingly resembles Univision
Jorge Ramos` recent book with its recurrent plugs
for advertising on, well, Univision.
So, let me propose a Grand
Compromise. I will support the Republican Party spending
more money on ads on Hispanic and black radio
stations—if Nadler will support a
serious tightening up on immigration.
Nadler seems more interested
in the quantity than the content of the radio ads, so I
don`t think he`d mind deep-sixing the
President`s open borders plan. (Unless he favors it
as a way to boost the ratings of Hispanic radio
Indeed, Nadler actually points
out that Republican advertisers have found that amnesty
and guest worker programs are not a hot selling point
In the 2002 and 2004
campaigns, only two of the GOP`s 47 radio ad scripts
aimed at Hispanics even mentioned immigration.
There`s a reason for this.
America`s immigration crisis tends to hurt
Hispanic-American citizens most directly (in terms of
lower wages, crowding, and overstressed schools). So
they tend to have sensibly mixed feelings about
additional immigration—witness their
47% vote in favor of Arizona`s Proposition 200
cracking down on illegal immigration.
Practical men like Nadler and
I can do business on this issue.
The problem is that on this
topic, there is a lone extremist. And his views are
close to irrational.
He happens to be the
President of the United States.
[Steve Sailer [email
him] is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and