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In 1992, Democrats opposed mass immigration almost as much as Republicans

The attached image is from a new Pew Research Center report about "partisan polarization" [1]. Back in 1992, 78% of Republicans agreed that "[w]e should restrict and control people coming into our country more than we do now". The percentages for independents and Democrats were nearly identical: 75% and 74% respectively.

Now, the GOP percentage has risen to 84%, independents are at 69%, and Democrats have fallen to 58%.

The impacts of immigration have for the most part only changed by degree from 1992 to now. It's not like new discoveries have been made in the field, yet opinions have changed in one group.

So, what happened?

Part of it is no doubt due to demographic changes among those who belong to each of those groups. Part of it might be due to immigration being used by the GOP as "their" issue, and the resulting manichean thinking by Democrats and independents: "if they're against it, I'm for it."

But, the major reason is probably because the Democrats and affiliated groups got greedy and corrupt: they realized that there are votes available from massive and illegal immigration. Compare the Harry Reid of today to the Tom Tancredo-like Harry Reid of 1993. Compare today's Service Employees International Union to how some unions used to oppose massive and illegal immigration. Until 2000 or so, the AFL CIO opposed plans like comprehensive immigration reform [2].

Part of it might also be due to the mainstreaming of ideas libertarians have: libertarians and today's Democratic Party leaders aren't that far apart on immigration, at least in effect.

I believe that the chart can be reversed somewhat, but it's going to require lots of work. Here are some of the things I do to help reverse the chart, and I need your help with all of them:

* Some Republicans use immigration as a partisan hammer, presenting immigration control as purely a conservative issue. Ask them to stop doing that. Ask them to instead point out that loose immigration isn't a liberal position [3].

* Point out to Democrats that they're siding with libertarians like the Kochs and with big business on immigration [4].

* Ask Democrats why big business is so very strongly in favor of loose immigration: is it because they're nice guys, or because they want cheaper labor working under worse conditions? Ask them why they're being useful idiots (in so many words) for big business.

* Help discredit the "enforcers": those like the Southern Poverty Law Center who use name-calling to keep Democrats from straying from the loose immigration agenda. See how to discredit intermediaries.

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[1] people-press.org/2012/06/04/partisan-polarization-surges-in-bush-obama-years

[2] progress.org/aflcio01.htm

[3] An example: twitter . com/24AheadDotCom/status/208656937368305664

[4] One of many examples: twitter . com/24AheadDotCom/status/208770242397220864

8/26/14 UPDATE: My current handle is @24AheadDotCom_ . The links above aren't valid anymore.

Mon, 06/04/2012 - 14:26 · Importance: 4