Saturday, June 23, 2007

Possible implications of the recent failure of the Senate to pass an immigration bill.

The U.S. Senate failed to pass legislation on immigration, a couple weeks ago, (or was it three weeks ago?). Legislation on immigration seems to have stalled out and it doesn't appear that another bill on immigration is in the works. Though there might be some legislation being worked on and not being discussed publicly.

The one thing that is sure is that the failure of any legislation to pass continues the status quo. The status quo seems to fuel discontent among the base of the Republican party and pit social conservatives against the business interests in the Republic party. I think it will also pit the grassroots of the Republican party against the national Republican party establishment.

I think it could have serious ramifications for the Republican party besides divisive fights and disunity. The credibility of the Republican party leadership and elites could completely disintegrate with the rank and file conservatives. The grassroots might conclude that they need another political vehicle besides the Republican party. Or they might take over the Republican party in multiple states. It could be that in many states the Republican party will have its own agenda in opposition to the national party. For the South, the Republican party might be the Republican equivalent of Dixiecrats, and in reality a separate sectional party.

The break down in the authority of the national Republican party elites will provide an opportunity for Neo-Confederates to enter their agenda into the Republican party.

However, it shouldn't be forgotten that the national Republican party has one thing in their favor, they have money and money pays for elections and brings influence. But as the immigration issue boils over it may not be enough. In the South, and perhaps elsewhere, the candidate who seems to be aligned with the national Republican party elites, may find that getting elected or re-elected very difficult when perceived as pro-immigration. The underfunded candidate who is anti-immigration can win with poor funding and the opposition of the local media, or because of the opposition of the local media. In short there might be a revolt by social conservatives that overwhelms the management of Republican party politics by local and national Republican party elites.

If George W. Bush and the Republicans had passed immigration election, they could have presented a done deed, that would be very difficult to overturn by anti-immigration activists and directed a campaign to some other issue. There could be some hysteria worked up over something like, "Muslim Lesbians are teaching evolution in our schools." However, they didn't pass any immigration legislation, since it seems it is each Republican for him/herself in the upcoming elections. This seems rather foolish of the Republicans, since this issue isn't going to be a problem for the Democrats, but could really tear up the Republican party and bring chaos to Republican party politics.

In summary the issue of immigration may breakdown establishment authority in the Republican party and provide openings for out groups like the Neo-Confederates in the Republican party. It will be very interesting to see how the campaigns at the local level in the South develop for the 2008 elections. The national Republican party elites are not stupid and they might have some strategy to manage this issue. I don't see one, but that doesn't mean that there might not be one.

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