American Elephants

Majority Leader Eric Cantor Defeated in Primary Election by The Elephant's Child

This is a very big deal. House majority leaders have been defeated in general elections on rare occasions, but in a primary? The last was in 1899. Eric Cantor’s defeat in a primary is clearly all about immigration, which is, I believe,  a deeply misunderstood issue. And it will awaken any slumbering members of Congress.

The usual number of illegal immigrants given is eleven million, but nobody really knows. We have lately had an astonishing influx of unaccompanied children and mothers with children. The word circulating in Central American countries is that the U.S. currently won’t deport children, hence the influx. The estimate is that there will be 90,000 children this year. This of course is enhanced by the president’s attempt to override Congress’ rejection of the Dream Act— which is widely publicized in Central America.

The Technology giants want more H-1B visas. They claim they cannot find enough STEM graduates to fill their needs. This is palpably untrue, because we have large numbers of STEM graduates who cannot find jobs. It is also true that they can get immigrant technology workers for less, and the nature of their visas makes them compliant. The Technology companies are awash in cash, it wouldn’t hurt them to start training their own workers if they are not satisfied with their applicants. The Chamber of Commerce is also demanding more immigrant visas in hopes of driving wage costs down, and telling business not to support Republicans if they don’t cooperate. Business does not agree.

Democrats believe that being welcoming to illegals will enhance their electoral chances with Hispanics. Some Republicans buy into this argument, assuming that amnesty will give them more votes from Hispanics.

Polls, on the other hand, show that Immigration policy doesn’t even rank among the top three political issues that Hispanics care about most, according to a recent Pew Research poll. Hispanics care about education (57%), jobs and the economy (52%) and health care (43%) are the important concerns. Just 32% said immigration.

The American people deeply resent the open borders policy of the Obama Administration. We have laws, and Americans deeply believe in the law and the Constitution. America, for years has had enormous success with welcoming immigrants and turning them into proud American citizens. We have been blessed with the energy, entrepreneurial enthusiasm and contributions of immigrants, and they have not only prospered, but become the proudest advocates of American liberty. We work hard at turning our immigrants into citizens, in contrast to most European countries who have accepted large numbers of immigrants, but never really accepted them. You don’t, for example, become a German by immigrating to Germany.

I remain a big-tent Republican. I don’t expect Republicans to march in lockstep as the Democrats do. You cannot be a thoughtful person and march in lockstep to party demands.We have only the past to guide us and the future is an unknown. The Founders intended for us to argue and discuss and fight over our ideas as we search for a solution to the problems we face.

I have found the battle between the “Republican establishment” whoever they are, and the Tea Party (who are not some wild-eyed radicals, but your next-door neighbors) offensive. The Tea Party has chosen some excellent candidates, and some lousy ones. The Republican party now has a deep bench of  very successful young governors whose success in their states is a beacon to those who hunger for jobs and economic improvement. They have accomplishments to brag about, proven competence and experience.

Parts of the Tea Party are more conservative than the established party. We must not, however, get into a battle over just how pure conservatism must be. If we want to win elections, we have to be a welcoming big tent, not an exclusionary clique. If you haven’t noticed, often members of the same family can’t get along.  I don’t think you will find Republicans who want to re-write the First Amendment, nor many who do not believe in the rule of law— though we may disagree with quite a few activist judges.

Americans are worried about jobs and the economy. They will be more agreeable to immigration reform when the number of people of working age who are so discouraged they have given up looking for work starts significantly declining. We have a president who does something to destroy jobs with one hand, as he talks about how much he wants to create job opportunities on the other.

Congratulations to David Brat. He seems to be a well-qualified candidate. We always need more free-market economists.

ADDENDUM: More information. Although David Brat was supported by the local Tea Party, he got no support from the national Tea Party. He did get the support of Democrats. There was no Democrat contest, and Democrat and liberal media were urging their Democrat voters to vote for Brat to help defeat Cantor. In 2012, the vote was 45,000, but jumped to 65,000 yesterday. Virginians were angry with Cantor’s poor response to constituents. They felt he was too involved with House politics and failing to support his district. We will learn more eventually. Eric Cantor has responded graciously, and stepped down, as that was the most positive thing he could do for Republican politics. David Brat emphasized the immigration issue, portraying Cantor as favoring amnesty.


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