How Trump’s Win Might Spark CA Republican Revival

Donald Trump SNLMy title is, “How Trump’s Win Might Spark CA Republican Revival.” The key word is “might.” This statement is counterintuitive, given the hostility to him among many GOP ranks here. But bear with me.

There are two conditions: Taking immigration off the table and a Reaganesque economic boom.

First, immigration. But isn’t he nasty toward Mexicans and other immigrants? Hasn’t he offended Latinos so much they’ll never become Republicans?

The problem might – again, might – be that neither party has come up with a sensible policy on immigration, the failed attempts going back 30 years. A lot of people point out how President Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which amnestied 3 million illegal aliens. Except the “Control” part of the Act never was implemented. So the amnesty part brought in millions more, increasing the number today to something like 11 million illegals.

A lot of these illegals – yes, I’m going to keep using the word – have become part of our community. An accountant friend of mine was talking with some of the Latinas at the construction company where he works. The ladies all voted for Hillary because they didn’t want their friends and neighbors deported. That’s understandable.

But what if Trump: 1) Builds the wall – for real. Which I think he will do. 2) Sharply restricts new immigration. 3) Makes a Trumpian “deal” on those here for a long time. Recent arrivals would have to leave. Those overstaying visas would have to leave. That would take care of half or so of the 11 million. But the other half would have some long-term path to citizenship, provided they pay back taxes and fill out all the paperwork.

If such a “deal” becomes real, the key will be effectively restricting new immigration. But if the “deal” happens, and really works, it will take the whole immigration issue off the table. Memories of Proposition 187, the illegals screening initiative thrown out by courts, will begin to fade, along with hatred of the California Republicans who pushed it. After all, a Republican president will have “solved” the immigration problem.

Second, Trump will have to boom the economy. He and the Republican Congress then would get credit for the prosperity lifting all boats, and all barcos. That will filter out here to California Latinos.

A 2012 Pew Research Center study found that Latinos still are moving up the upward mobility ladder that long has brought immigrants into the middle class: “Despite difficult economic times, in the long trajectory of their lives Latinos see improved standards of living when compared with their parents and expect their children’s standard of living to be even better. Two-thirds (67 percent) of Latinos (compared with 61 percent of the general public) say their standard of living is better than that of their parents when their parents were the age they are now.” It’s the old story of American prosperity.

Better yet, the Trump immigration cutoff would accelerate the assimilation. New immigrants suppress wages because the increased supply of anything brings about greater price competition. If new immigration is sharply reduced, then those already here would move faster up the upward mobility ladder.

As correctly was said of open immigration by legendary United Farm Workers co-founder Cesar Chavez, who has a state holiday in his honor, “As long as we have a poor country bordering California, it’s going to be very difficult to win strikes as strikes are won normally by other unions with the employer … . Now, there’s no way to defend against that kind of strikebreaking.” Except a wall.

That’s why the biggest defenders today of open borders are not immigrant groups, but big farms and other businesses that want to boost profits with cheap labor.

By contrast, when people gain upward mobility, they are less likely to seek the government benefits promoted by the Democratic Party and more likely to yearn for the tax cuts and business promotion championed by the Republican Party. That’s even more true now that the new president and party leader will be a famous billionaire.

So, if California Republicans want to get back in the game, they should stick to their pro-business, small-government principles.

Of course, I could be all washed up. Maybe I have no idea what I’m talking about. Maybe there will be no economic recovery no matter what Trump does. Maybe ethnic resentments are too high. Maybe.

But Trump might (might!) have put an oxygen mask on the wheezing body of the California Grand Old and Decrepit Party. They just need to breathe deeply.

Thirty-year California columnist John Seiler now writes freelance. His email:writejohnseiler@gmail.com

This piece was originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily