Regarding a news story many friends have sent to me: Latino leaders swirl around idea of Tequila Party–Here’s the article and my reply to my friends…

This Tequila Party Proposal is gaining international attention. Latino leaders in Nevada and nationwide are quietly debating whether to sever their traditional Democratic ties and form an independent grass-roots political group.

The idea, born of frustration over the party’s inaction on immigration reform and fears that as a voting bloc they’re a political afterthought, Latino leaders have discussed the idea among themselves locally and in conference calls with colleagues across the country.

The unlikely model for the movement they would like to launch is the Tea Party — not in substance, of course, but in its grass-roots organizational style. Acknowledging the source of their inspiration, Latino leaders have dubbed the proposed movement the “Tequila Party.” (Click here to read more of the article, Tequila Party)

My response–I’m only interested if Francisco d’Anconia will be its symbolic leader. (He’s one of the heroic characters of Atlas Shrugged) Women shouldn’t form their own party to support abortion rights, and Latinos shouldn’t form a party around the issue of immigration. Too bad the Libertarian Party is so fringe.

Richard Nadler tried to enlighten his fellow conservatives and he left a treasure trove of powerfully insightful and persuasive analysis concerning the Latino Vote and Immigration. He’s the best on this issue and he’s departed. Here’s a small excerpt from his work analyzing the 2008 elections, in his comprehensive published report called The Edge of the Wedge–Immigration and the Congressional Contests of 2008:

The deal breaker between Latino voters and conservatives isn’t border security, or official English, or future immigration levels. A Republican can run right on any of these, and sustain significant Latino support. The deal-breaker is deportation.

A mass of evidence explains this.

There is the fact that 40% of Hispanic citizens fear a deportation action against a friend or family member.

There is the fact that 44% of Latinos hear their clergy preach against “enforcement only” in the churches they attend.

There is the fact that 80% of Latinos favor comprehensive immigration reform.

But forget all that. Use your common sense. I have yet to meet a conservative who doesn’t understand the dynamic of the Elian Gonzalez incident in 2000 – how a SWAT team, on orders from a Democratic attorney general, invaded an ordinary Cuban home, and tore a screaming child from the arms of his protector. That sight, revisited nightly in Miami-Dade, carried Florida (and the presidency) for George W. Bush. What Republican didn’t understand that?

But due to our commitment to enforcement-only immigration policy, Hispanics are treated to Elian Gonzalez-style incidents nightly on Univision and Telemundo. In living color, viewers watch huddled Latinos cuffed by ICE raiders at their place of work, moms clutching their rosaries, priests pleading for mercy. It’s not rocket science to understand how Hispanic citizens react. Only now, the villains are Los Republicanos rather than the Clintonistas.

We all enjoy happy talk about the natural affinity between Republicans and Latinos. But given this broadcast bombardment, it is increasingly irrelevant that Hispanic opinion on right-to-life, or marriage, or school choice mirrors that of conservatives. The linked prospects of ICE raids, persecuted clergy, ruptured families, and mass profiling spooks the legal, working-class Latino. As long as the prospect of mass deportation remains in our playbook and in our platform, Democrats will clobber us with it.

Now, some of you think that we can lose the Hispanic vote by 40 percent, and make it up among non-Hispanics. I say: think again.

First, it didn’t happen. In 435 contests, not a single Congressional district with a historical trend of voting Democrat elected a Republican “enforcement only” advocate. But dozens of enforcement-only Republicans went down to defeat, most of them in historically Republican districts.

Some wedge issue, huh? (Click here to download a pdf of the full 138 Page Report, Edge of the Wedge)

By the way, I love Tequila too! It’d be a fun party, so long as we stayed away from policy issues while enjoying the spirits. Never safe to drink and drive.


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A Voice of Immigration Sanity Lost: Adios Amigo, Hermano, Richard Nadler

(in the middle in this photo, flanked my me, and Steven Greenhut)
From the WSJ’s Political Diary, 6-5-2009
One Less Guide Out of the GOP’s Wilderness
Richard Nadler, head of the think tank Americas Majority and one of the keenest observers of minority politics in the conservative movement, passed away suddenly at his Overland Park, Kansas home last Saturday. He was only 60 years old.
Nadler had an amazing career. He dropped out of high school, became a successful jazz musician touring with a black ensemble, and eventually dropped his socialist views for conservatism. His major work was motivated by his discovery during the time he spent with both blacks and Hispanics that they held many essentially conservative views, but that Republicans had failed miserably to reach them.
He assembled comprehensive political databases that helped show a key reason John McCain last year underperformed George W. Bush’s showing among Hispanics by 13%. He found that many Hispanic voters, the fastest-growing part of the electorate, were alienated by the “enforcement only” approach that many conservatives adopted towards illegal immigration. “They will support border enforcement but not if it means massive deportations and no legal way that the seven million people now working here can stay,” he told me.
He noted that the country’s 30 million Hispanics are linked to illegal aliens through ties of family, church, culture and a common broadcast media. The Pew Hispanic Center notes that 41% of America’s Hispanic citizens fear a deportation action against a friend or family member. “To the extent that Republicans don’t come up with a guest-worker program that helps reduce the flow of undocumented workers, they commit themselves to navigate a population minefield — one whose volatility will inevitably increase with the natural migrations of Latino legal citizens who can and do vote.”
Accolades for Nadler are coming in from many quarters. “He was one of the most brilliant men I ever met,” says Ramesh Ponnuru of National Review, who cheerfully disagreed with some of Nadler’s analysis. “One of the few grown-ups one meets in politics,” says Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform. “He knew it was important to both get your political goals correct — what are you trying to do — and to know how to get there.”
At a time when conservatives seem as much at sea as ever on how to handle immigration issues, Nadler’s voice will be missed.
— John Fund