Perry’s Tuition Stance Makes Him the Only Electable Candidate
Do any of the candidates running for the Republican nomination other than Gov. Rick Perry remember the 2000 election cycle? I am not going as far to say that the Perry camp has decided to make a calculated stand on the in-state tuition issue for the sake of the general election, but Republicans should not dismiss the importance of the Hispanics’ vote now and in the future.
It is widely known among those who live on border states that hard line positions on immigration can end a political career. As the white electorate shrinks over time, the GOP is going to have to find a way to gain a capacious share of the Hispanics’ vote. I’ve heard the chatter from the establishment, who claims that Hispanics care about the same issue most other Americans care about. This is true, but can anybody really claim they have an accurate count regarding how many Hispanics have family members who happen to be in the country illegally?
For this reason, I have to ask if it is wise for the other candidates to demagogue the in-state tuition issue?
I am going to set aside the infamous “heartless comment” for a second, and focus on the policy. Perry has come under fire for his unwillingness to budge from his position on immigration, the main one being the 2001 law he signed in Texas that allows children of illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates at colleges and universities. Gov. Mitt Romney has made it the center point to attack Perry on in an attempt to paint it as a liberal stance in line with the thinking of President Obama, and as not a conservative position. Not only is this attack canard, it can have negative consequences on any candidate that has to run in the general election.
Since the 2010 election is often brought up as the reason the Republican candidates no longer have to walk soft on immigration, it is important to understand it has some fundamental flaws. I already noted that GOP is going to need to keep pace with Democrats in the growing Hispanic population. The suggested number to maintain is said to be anywhere from 40 to 45 percent of Hispanic votes. Looking to the midterm for a reference point is somewhat flawed because the midterm electorates often trend toward being the white, older, and college educated members. Democrats have not shown the ability to bring out their traditional constituents in off year cycles. Presidential elections tend to be a more diverse electorate, especially in 2008. We cannot forget about the fact that Hispanic voters tend to live in specific states, making their influence on the electoral map that much more significant.Continued on the next page