Illegal Immigration nixing certain candidates (Brownback, etc.)The Republican Presidential Primary process is about to claim its second casualty if reports flying across the news wires yesterday were to be believed. Kansas Senator Sam Brownback is set to announce today that he will end his bid for the Republican Presidential nomination:
Trouble raising money was a main reason for his decision, said one person close to Brownback, who requested anonymity because the candidate had not yet announced his plans.
We can say that this is because Brownback is lesser-known, but I think there is another factor at work. Sam Brownback (a convert to Catholicism) heavily courted the evangelical vote. He did manage to have quite a bit of evangelical support, but his position on a certain key issue caused many people who would otherwise be tempted to rally to his side to shy away from him-illegal immigration.
Besides money, Brownback’s support for a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants hurt him in Iowa, an early-voting state that has struggled to provide education, medical care and other services as the number of immigrants has more than doubled since 1990.
The only reason why illegal immigration has not become the lead issue in this 2008 Republican Primary process is because the pro-restrictionist vote is divided among several candidates. If that vote were united behind a single candidate, I believe that candidate could win the Republican nomination. If Brownback's demise shows anything, it is that the so-called "religious right" still has a bit of the Old Right left in it. The very people on the evangelical or moral right who were most likely to support Sam Brownback because of his position on abortion or the sanctity of marriage were also equally as likely to abandon him because of his liberal position on immigration.
The immigration question is also what continues to keep the candidacy of Mike Huckabee a second-tier effort. On paper, Huckabee is the perfect candidate for those of us on the right who believe that faith and moral values are an important part of the American civic framework: He is an ordained minister and former pastor, his pro-life position has no historical inconsistencies, and he has instituted programs and policies that favor two-parent families and encourage personal responsibility and moral integrity. The problem is that he doesn't know how to stop spending money (and has a terrible tax-and-spend record as Governor), and he refuses to deal with the immigration issue. He as much as favors amnesty without calling it that.
Illegal immigration may not be seen as an important issue by the Big Three Republican candidates precisely because the vote on that issue is so split, but it is important enough that it has brought down one candidate and may topple another. Immigration is the spoiler in everyone's playoff hopes-it may not make it to the post-season, but it could spoil some people's chances of getting there.
Labels: Presidential Election