Yesterday, the Republican National Committee issued its plan for improving the Party’s electoral performance. Portions of the report deal with purely technical issues (e.g., digital transformation), while others pertain to technical matters with policy implications (e.g., fewer caucuses, more primaries, and fewer debates).
But the report also calls for the Republican Party, in the words of the Washington Post, “to transform itself into a modern, welcoming home for a rapidly diversifying American electorate.” And a key component of this transformation is the report’s call for the Party to support “comprehensive immigration reform.” The Party establishment believes it lost the 2012 election because, as one top consultant puts it, “we ran out of white voters.”
So what is the establishment’s solution? It proposes further to dilute the white vote by providing a path to citizenship for millions of non-white voters who are in the U.S. due to disregard for its laws.
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus appears to be thinking only about the short term. Supporting comprehensive immigration reform might trim 2 or 3 points from the Democrats’ margin among Hispanic voters (still a relatively small cohort) in 2016. As for the long term, let future RNC Chairmen worry about how to offset the 5 million vote pro-Democrat margin that a path to citizenship for (say) 11 million illegal immigrants likely will create down the road.
Republicans probably can partially offset that margin by making their substantive policy positions as appealing to a new underclass as the positions of Democrats are. But I don’t see how they can make these changes and remain a conservative party. (Perhaps someone will explain how this can be done, but please don’t resort to the “we’re good people; they’re good people” mantra). And if the Republican Party ceases to be conservative (in the commonly understood sense of that word), a strong third party will emerge, all but handing dominance to the Dems.
But none of this will happen while Reince Priebus is RNC Chairman, and apparently that’s good enough for him.