Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Immigration Rates to Drop? Political Repercussions Tough to Predict

I found this article fascinating, given the potential implications it has for future immigration in this country.

Reflecting on it further, it seems to me that this could spell tremendous changes for the Democratic party. There probably aren't 10 congressmen/women who won't flop on 90% of the issues in order to save their jobs, so I would never predict the death of a party. That said, if immigration drops, not only will that be a tremendous blow to the economy, but it could push the Democrats in directions they've never gone before. The three biggest questions I have in that regard are...

1) Will Hispanics be a lock for future democrats. I live in a Hispanic state, and though I've seen a strong trend toward Democrats, Hispanics have never struck me as an ideal fit in the Democratic party. For one, they tend to be very conservative on social issues. They value family a lot. They have lots of kids. Statistically speaking, among whites, these are strongly correlated indicators of political conservatism. Also, most Hispanic immigrants do well economically (or at least their children do well), and there isn't the same level of social injustice/victim mentality/(insert pet cause) that seems to have wed the black community so closely to the Democrats.
2) Will Hispanic birthrates stay the same or drop? If they do drop, will there be a breakdown along political lines like we see in the white community? In 2000 George Bush famously carried the 19 states with the highest white fertility rates. In 2004, there was a 0.86 correlation factor with Bush's vote.
3) Given the current fecundity of white democrats (or rather the lack of it), how would their party change in the future in order to attract new members (assuming Hispanics are not a lock for the party). Democrats are fans of big government and, specifically, big social programs. Ironically, most of these end up being generational wealth transfer programs which are then dependent on both immigration and the increased fecundity of Republicans to maintain. If social programs are cut for Republicans, it will hurt, but many of them will be able to get by with the support of their social support networks (primarily family and religious). They likely won't starve to death. Democrats have much lower fertility rates and don't go to church nearly as often. If social programs are cut for them, they are more likely to be totally screwed. This is doubly true for older Democrats (at least those I know).

All of this is highly speculative. It is most probable that the political divisions of today will be drastically altered in another 20 years, but it's fun entertainment for a political junkie like myself.

1 comment:

Kevin said...

Good article. I didn't know that the Mexican fertility rate was at 2.1. I also found it interesting how the article involved a mix of terms from "illegal immigrant" to "invading horde" to "undocumented immigrant". In terms of immigration in general, it's fascinating how things have a way of balancing out.

I appreciated your analysis, too. I've learned from it and it makes sense. As you indicate, it's hard to see the full implications of these reasonable influences, much less those we don't know about, but it's fascinating to keep in mind.

Thanks for sharing!