Monday, July 26, 2010

That's What I'm Talking About

Sometimes I get the feeling that when I say things like "you only have power to make a good deal if you're willing to walk away from a bad one", people assume I don't know what I'm talking about.

So, this is what I'm talking about, from a Talking Points Memo reader from Colorado:

So, in 2006, you saw the Democratic-controlled state legislature (under pressure from a Republican governor to do something after the Colorado Supreme Court threw out an anti-immigrant ballot initiative being promoted by the Tancredo types) pass sweeping anti-immigration laws, including a law that requires everyone to prove lawful presence in the United States to access state services. It was touted at the time -- by the Democrats who passed it -- as the "toughest" state level anti-immigration law in the country. Although it is less draconian than Arizona's SB 1070, the Colorado laws also promote selective enforcement based on race, and the media has picked up on the problems with the law mostly when white people are inconvenienced, as when a long-time British resident was unable to get a subsidy for a water-efficient toilet because she couldn't produce her papers (yes, water is everything in Colorado) or when the daughter of one of the Republicans in the state legislature got held up applying for her driver's license because she couldn't produce her birth certificate. Less funny stories, as when an entire Latino family was thrown out of public housing in one of the mountain towns because one family member couldn't produce papers, have attracted less attention.

The long-term political dynamic is that as the Democrats feel more and more free to move to the right on immigration to chase what they perceive as "centrist" voters, the growing Latino population feels more and more that neither party represents us. So, voter participation drops, and then the same lack of voter participation is cited by the Dems as a reason not to take a harder line against Latino race-baiting.

Dems Using The Crazy For Cover?

[emphasis mine]

At the national level, substitute "progressives" for "latinos", and change the particular issues, and you have the same situation. As long as a group isn't willing to take its votes elsewhere, politicians won't care what that group wants. They'll chase after the folks who will take their votes elsewhere.

You can also draw the obvious parallels with the Democrats' amazement that we aren't ready to jump right out there and vote for them.

That's what I'm talking about.

This is why I have little hope for the future. That's why this government keeps drifting to the right. It's not because America is drifting to the right. Progressives are, to put none too fine a point on this, too stupid to understand this, or too cowardly to do what they obviously need to do to let Democrats know that they can't just do whatever they want and be assured of our votes. Conservatives, by contrast, know how to play this game. Until that changes, nothing else will.

UPDATE: Changed the initial quote to something I'd actually written, with a link. Paraphrasing is nice, but it's better when what's in quotes is an actual quote, unless it's obviously hypothetical.

UPDATE 2: And yes, I've pretty well given up hope of persuading anyone along these lines. We're just going to have to wait until things get so bad that the only way to go is up. That's probably going to be another decade, maybe longer.

No comments: