This recent quote from Rush Limbaugh surprised me:
If you want to find the future of the Republican Party and the country, look at California. There isn’t a single Republican in statewide office. There never will be in the future. It’s not gonna happen. The Republican Party practically doesn’t exist statewide.
The quote surprised me because its admission suggests a non-conservative conclusion: the Republican Party had better stop bashing Mexican immigration. It mustn’t make the mistake in 2016 that Republicans made in California in the 1980s and 90s, promoting policy positions akin to those found in the now notorious 1994 anti-immigration ballot measure, Prop. 187.
But this isn’t the conclusion Limbaugh draws. The lesson he takes from Republican decline in California is that Republicans in the 80s and 90s weren’t militant enough; weren’t anti-immigrant enough. They should have used their political power at the time to stop Mexican immigration dead in its tracks:
You can tie the end of the Republican Party in California to 1986, and that was the Simpson-Mazzoli amnesty immigration bill. We’re talking back then 3.9 million illegal aliens granted amnesty. Since then it’s been curtains for the Republican Party, which means constant victory for the Democrat Party.
In other words, conservatives losing on the Simpson-Mazzoli immigration bill in the 1980s tells contemporary conservatives like Limbaugh that they mustn’t lose on the border fence in 2016. The winning Republican strategy isn’t to make nice with Mexican Americans as a constituency, as Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio might want to do, but to arrest outright Hispanic immigration with a southern border fence extending from sea to shining sea:
People are a combination of angry, scared. And there isn’t a single candidate for president addressing the issue in a way that resonates with the American people, particularly Republican primary voters, not one, until Donald Trump comes along. […] Trump wants to build a wall and have Mexico pay for it. He wants to deport all undocumented immigrants. They have to go.
Put another way, Limbaugh is talking Custer’s Last Stand for conservatives here. 2016 will mean stopping and reversing Hispanic immigration to America–or witnessing America’s demographic Californication:
When politicians talk about ‘immigration reform’ they mean: amnesty, cheap labor and open borders. The Schumer-Rubio immigration bill was nothing more than a giveaway to the corporate patrons who run both parties.
Talk about drawing a line in the sand! Or, rather, a Great Wall in the sand. If ethnic Chinese can keep foreigners out, why can’t white Americans use their collective majority to staunch Hispanic immigration before it’s too late?
[L]ook at the Chinese. Look at their wall. They got a Great Wall. They built it, how long is that wall? If they can do it, we can do it. If they got the Great Wall, we got the greatest wall. We can build a greater wall, we can do anything we want. We can do it. Who says we can’t do it?
Aside from being racist, this is a politically unachievable and utopian strategy for dealing with America’s ongoing demographic shifts. It’s an escape into pure imagination. In terms of demographics, Californication of the nation as a whole is ongoing, and national Republicans today are repeating the errors of California Republicans of thirty years ago, alienating a fast-growing constituency.