Wednesday, April 16, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Immigration a battle for state GOP’s soul

elias column sig

By
From page A11 | October 02, 2013 | 1 Comment

Repeated battles for the soul of California’s Republican Party began in earnest in 1968, when the ultra-conservative state Schools Superintendent Max Rafferty bested moderate U.S. Sen. Thomas Kuchel in a June primary election and went on to lose badly to Democrat Alan Cranston, who would then be re-elected three times.

The newest split in this party that began by advocating freedom over slavery is about immigration, with moderate elements in the state GOP wanting some sort of pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and the conservative wing holding they are all criminals who should have no rights or privileges.

It’s a reflection of a national battle first symbolized in 1964 by the fight over Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater’s nomination for president, one that still sees state parties all over America severely divided almost 50 years later.

In those days, the battle was over segregated housing, voting rights and what was euphemistically called “states’ rights,” the party’s conservative wing arguing that states should be able to restrict voting, allow landlords to discriminate on the basis of race or religion and more.

Today’s conservative Republicans say they discriminate against no one and want merely to limit government intrusions on individual rights, while insisting that no illegal act – including sneaking across a border – should be rewarded.

“The GOP divide is serious and real,” writes Stephen Frank, conservative blogger and former president of the California Republican Assembly. “Issues like amnesty and abortion have so divided the party that folks on both sides of those issues say if they lose, they walk.”

Already about 14 percent behind Democrats among registered voters, the state’s GOP can ill afford to have anyone opt out. But Frank, strongly against both abortion and what conservatives call amnesty, claims that when Republican voters “no longer see a difference between the two major parties, (they) say no to the GOP.” He says that’s happened since 14 GOP senators voted for the omnibus immigration bill now languishing in the House of Representatives.

But House members have long been moved more by what’s happening in their districts than anything else. If they alienate their constituents, they can’t survive.

So it makes sense that Republican Jeff Denham, whose district includes Central Valley cities like Tracy, Manteca and Turlock, has lately spoken in favor of “top to bottom immigration reform.” About 44 percent of residents in his district – a swing one since new boundaries were drawn – are Latino.

By contrast, only about 20 percent of residents in the district of fellow GOPer Dana Rohrabacher of Huntington Beach are Latino and Rohrabacher adamantly opposes any law granting any sort of path to citizenship for the undocumented. The overwhelming white Anglo majority in his district makes it among the nation’s most conservative.

Their colleague and party mate, David Valadao of Visalia, meanwhile, called the Senate immigration bill “monumental,” saying he is committed to “developing a reasonable, responsible immigration plan.” No coincidence, probably, that 67 percent of his district’s population is Latino, including about half its registered voters.

For the most part, this split does not carry over to abortion, the other litmus test for Frank and his fellow conservative leaders. Almost every Republican is pro-life. Yet, the state’s Republican convention last year voted only narrowly to keep the party’s strong anti-abortion platform plank. So there’s disagreement on that, too.

California is not unique. In states as varied as Maine and Alaska, state GOP officials have been forced out lately while their parties – like California’s – face financial problems. “There’s been a lot of division and disharmony in the Republican Party,” Maine’s new GOP chairman, Rick Bennett, told a reporter.

But Frank believes the real danger to the party lies in what might happen if the Republican-controlled House passes any immigration bill containing a route to citizenship, which is probably necessary to get Senate concurrence and become law.

If no such law passes, plenty of Latino voters in districts represented by Republicans will vote against the GOP. Of course, many would anyway.

But if enough Republicans do go along and Frank proves correct, a large segment of base GOP voters could stay home next year and beyond, which means the party faces consequences either way, and might as well search its soul and do what it believes just and moral.

Thomas Elias is a California author. Reach him at tdelias@aol.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Rich GiddensOctober 01, 2013 - 8:32 am

    The writer along with his disloyal California Government pals refuses to recognize and declare the distinction between ''illegal immigration'' and ''legal immigration''. The news media helps the toward that end by refusing to use the term ''Illegal Immigration'' or ''Illegal Alien''.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

 
Supervisor candidates file conflict-of-interest forms

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1

Vacaville set to usher in new chapter for Police Department

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
 
Solano Jews gather for start of Passover

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Suisun council debates train depot renovation

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3

 
 
Trial begins for teacher accused of abusing children

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3

Suisun police ID shooting victim

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3

 
County discusses consolidated dispatch

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

Miner Slough Bridge to see repairs

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

 
 
 
‘Heaven is for Real’ opens Wednesday

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B5

Fiesta Days pageant organizers seek contestants

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

 
Easter hunt set for Mare Island

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5

 
Coakley joins Solano fair board

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A6

Crews make quick work of vehicle fire

By Glen Faison | From Page: A6, 6 Comments | Gallery

 
Paper Clover Campaign supports Solano County 4-H

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6

 
Hundreds flock to Krispy Kreme as it opens doors

By Susan Winlow | From Page: B9 | Gallery

 
County to honor Solano educators

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A14

.

US / World

Officials: Huge San Francisco blaze was accidental

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
‘Shrimp Boy’ pleads not guilty in corruption case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Solemn tributes mark Boston Marathon bombing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Immigration activists urge Obama to act boldly

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Congress is giving states the transportation blues

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Police: Suspects in killings wore GPS devices

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14, 1 Comment

DNA alternative to Pap smear sparks medical debate

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Robot sub returns to water after 1st try cut short

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Supremacist faces murder charges in Kansas deaths

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Ukraine: Military secures airport from attack

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Democrats have outside money advantage – for now

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
First women move into Army platoon artillery jobs

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Final deadline arrives for health exchange sign-up

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
New LA newspaper embraces print in digital world

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Hamas praises deadly West Bank shooting

By The Associated Press | From Page: A15

 
2 dead after ferry sinks off SKorean coast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A15

.

Opinion

Expand Red Top Road

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A13

 
Oh, for the days of Dr. Welby

By Dan K. Thomasson | From Page: A13, 9 Comments

 
Poor Judgement in Flight 370 column

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A13

Senseless babble that hurts

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A13

 
.

Living

What love gives you

By Barton Goldsmith | From Page: A2

 
.

Entertainment

Boston Globe wins Pulitzer for bombing coverage

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Lindsay Lohan’s mom pleads guilty to DWI in NY

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Strahan’s ‘GMA’ side job confirmed with his visit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
.

Sports

Indians shut out Mustangs

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Cal hires Tennessee’s Cuonzo Martin as coach

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Warriors trying to move on without Andrew Bogut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Sharks’ Torres uncertain for playoff opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

MLB marks 67th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s debut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Ex-Minnesota State, Mankato coach returning to job

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Panthers jump Sabres to win NHL draft lottery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
More former players sue NHL regarding concussions

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

49ers sign WR Brandon Lloyd to 1-year deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Business

Twitter buys data analytics partner Gnip

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Yellen signals more aggressive stance toward banks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

.

Obituaries

Evonne Medina

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Carolyn McClelland

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics