In my last post, I looked at the U.S. Senate. I pointed out that many of the supporters of the Bush amnesty have been purged in primaries, defeated, or disgraced. Several others have died, retired, or renounced their views.
The incoming Senate will be much improved on immigration. In the Bush years, a two-party consensus in favor of “comprehensive immigration reform” reigned in Washington. In the Obama years, immigration has become more of a partisan issue.
The battle lines are still not perfectly clear. There are still a few Republican holdouts who support “comprehensive immigration reform.” Likewise, there are a few conservative Democrats who oppose amnesty. Their numbers have dwindled in recent years though.
Conservatives and Independents have been challenging and succeeding in defeating the GOP establishment. In the Senate, Rand Paul, Sharron Angle, and Joe Miller are symbolic of this trend.
The Governor Races
The Governor races are another arena where the transformation of the Bush GOP is playing out.
1.) Arizona – Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona is the apple of my eye in this respect. She has reaped a huge political dividend from banning ethnic studies and signing SB1070 into law. Brewer has gone to court to defend SB1070 from the Obama Justice Department.
In recent years, Arizona has moved to the forefront of the immigration debate. In 2007, the Grand Canyon State passed a law that penalized businesses who hired illegal aliens. More than 100,000 illegal aliens have since left Arizona. More will leave after SB1070 and if Arizona continues heading in the right direction.
Gov. Brewer has a commanding 12 point lead over Terry Goddard and will almost certainly win re-election in November. From 2003 until 2009, the god awful Janet Napolitano, now Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, was Governor of Arizona.
Arizona’s SB1070 set off a political earthquake that was felt across America. An obscure state bill set off a polarizing national conflagaration over immigration that pushed moderates in a more radical direction.
The consequences of SB1070 were felt in other states. This was especially true of the South.
2.) Florida – In Florida, Rick Scott defeated Bill McCollum in the Republican Primary. McCollum had the support of the entire Florida GOP establishment.
Like Arizona, Florida has one of the largest populations of illegal aliens in America. Immigration resonated in the Sunshine State and became a battlefield in the Republican Primary there.
In the wake of SB1070, Bill McCollum initially staked out a moderate position on immigration, saying that the Arizona law wasn’t needed in Florida. Rick Scott responded by promising to bring SB1070 to the state. McCollum flipflopped two weeks before the election, but it proved too little too late.
Scott made immigration the hallmark of his campaign and beat the drum against the “Tallahassee insiders” to victory.
From 1999 until 2007, Jeb Bush was the Governor of Florida. With his Hispanic wife and children, Jeb was a prominent symbol of the Bush GOP and its attempt to woo Hispanic voters with “comprehensive immigration reform.”
3.) Georgia – In Georgia, Nathan Deal defeated Karen Handel in the Republican Primary. Handel was endorsed by Sarah Palin and her defeat was widely interpreted in the mainstream media as proof of Palin’s waning influence.
As in Florida, Arizona’s SB1070 became a hot issue in the Georgia Governor race. Deal released a campaign ad attacking the Obama administration for its lawsuit against Arizona.
Deal promised to bring SB1070 to Georgia and contemptuously told the Obama administration you can “sue us too.” The ad struck a chord in Georgia which is also home to a huge population of illegal aliens.
It is possible that Nathan Deal could turn out to be another Sonny Perdue who exploited the Confederate flag issue to defeat Roy Barnes and get himself elected Governor. Unlike Perdue, Deal has a strong record of fighting illegal immigration in Congress.
With an A+ grade from NumbersUSA, I am inclined to believe that Nathan Deal intends to follow through on his promises. He will face Roy Barnes in November.
Barnes, the former Governor and Democratic challenger, says he would support an Arizona-style law in Georgia too. It is nothing more than political posturing, but it shows how far the political spectrum in Georgia has shifted since the Bush years.
4.) Alabama – Alabama has gone through one of the most memorable primary seasons of the year. Candidates like Rick Barber, Tim James, and Dale Peterson (all unsuccessful) made national headlines with hilarious campaign ads.
Who can forget Peterson with his shotgun ranting about “thugs and criminals” or Barber “gathering his armies” with the Founders?
In Alabama, the plain spoken outsider Dr. Robert Bentley emerged victorious in the Republican Primary over Bradley Byrne, the GOP establishment favorite. Earlier this month, the Alabama GOP committed itself to a platform called the “Handshake with Alabama” which is committed to bringing Arizona’s SB1070 to Alabama
Robert Bentley will face Ron Sparks (the progressive nutroots candidate) in November. Sparks is a supporter of “comprehensive immigration reform.” As Governor of Alabama, Bentley would almost certainly sign Arizona-style immigration reform into law.
The Republicans have a chance this fall of taking over the Alabama state legislature for the first time since Reconstruction. Such is the extent of the backlash against the Obama administration and the Democratic Party.
5.) South Carolina – Like Jan Brewer, Nikki Haley isn’t exactly an outsider, but was propelled to victory in the South Carolina Republican Primary with a Sarah Palin endorsement and Tea Party support.
Haley is an Asian Indian, which is certain to provoke opposition from pro-White corners, but as Governor of South Carolina she would do to promote our interests than Meg Whitman in California.
South Carolina is one the handful of states that is most likely to become the next Arizona. Haley has emphatically stated that she supports Arizona and would sign an Arizona-style immigration bill into law.
Haley will face Vince Sheehan in November. Sheehan, who will almost certainly be defeated, claims to support an even tougher immigration law. The political spectrum in South Carolina has also shifted to such a degree that both parties compete to sound tougher on immigration.
There are plenty of other Governor races in this election cycle. I’ve mostly been following the ones closest to my own home turf. I’m excited by the possibility of a geographically continguous bloc of states in South passing Arizona-style immigration reform and entering into a polarizing showdown with the federal government.
Florida, Virginia, and Texas are the squishiest of the Southern states. Virginia has already followed in Arizona’s footsteps. Florida is poised to follow soon. Pressure from the conservative grassroots in Texas could force Gov. Rick Perry to flip flop like Bill McCollum and John McCain.
Tennessee has also been one of the most enthusiastic supporters of Arizona. The Tennessee state legislature passed a resolution congratulating Arizona for defending its borders. Bill Haslam, the next Governor of Tennessee, has indicated that he would sign Arizona-style immigration reform in the Volunteer State.
Mainstream vs. Fringe
Pro-Whites have two paths before them. The first path is to work within the mainstream and use polarizing national debates over issues like immigration to push moderates in a more radical direction. The second path is to work within the fringe to build a credible radical alternative to the status quo.
At least from my perspective, having tried the second path (and reaching its terminus in a bad experience), the first path has become more attractive as of late. It seems an easier task to radicalize moderates in the mainstream than to mainstream radicals on the fringe. It is easier to cure ordinary people of ignorance than odd people of more serious problems.
In the last five years, the only detectable movement has been the rise of the Tea Party and the demise of the Bush GOP in the mainstream. As we recently saw in Knoxville, nothing has changed on the fringe.
Until that changes, Whites will continue to look elsewhere for their salvation.