Saturday, December 14, 2013

The political lessons we can learn from the battle over immigration reform

Yesterday I wrote about the major shift in the Republican strategy of obstruction and hostage-taking in budget negotiations. But while that signals a significant change in the tactics that will be used by the Republican leadership, it doesn't alter the fact that the policy differences between the parties are deep and significant. In a sense, President Obama's long-term approach has now defanged reactionary gridlock. But the question still remains, how do we convince enough Republicans to be pro-active in actually getting some things done?

I believe that the issue of comprehensive immigration reform can help us answer that question. As we've been hearing, it looks like Speaker Boehner is going to move on that one early next year. So ask yourself, why would he do so? What motivates the Speaker to move proactively on an issue that is so divisive in his party?

The answer is that it is now in his party's self-interest to do so. Republicans know that they have no viable future on the national stage if Democrats continue to get over 70% of the Latino vote (President Obama got 71% in the 2012 election). And via groups like Fast 4 Families and the United We Dream, the Latino community is making it clear that they are united behind this issue. Republicans know that they will lose the Latino vote for a generation if they don't move on this one pretty soon. That's why President Obama recently said this: "it is not a question of whether immigration reform will pass, but how soon."

That's how things work in a democracy and its exactly why the nativists are so scared. Everyone knows how this one ends. There's a lesson for us all in that if we care to learn it. It's what President Obama has been saying for years now..."nothing can stand in the way of millions of voices calling for change." YES WE CAN!

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