WASHINGTON, DC: A report by the Center for Immigration Studies says that legal immigration into the US has significantly boosted the Democratic Party over the last thirty years, and that the trend will likely continue.
The news is alarming for Republicans, especially in a critical midterm election year in which they hope to usurp control of the Senate and House of Representatives away from a vulnerable Democratic Party. While it’s not exactly shocking to hear that immigrants tend to lean left, what is surprising is the extent to which they have apparently debilitated the Republicans’ chances of winning key elections.
“As the immigrant population has grown, Republican electoral prospects have dimmed, even after controlling for alternative explanations of GOP performance,” said James Gimpel, author of the report and a professor of government at the University of Maryland at College Park, in a statement. “Republicans are right to want to attract Latino voters,” he continued. “But expanding the flow of low-skilled immigrants into an economy ill-suited to promote their upward mobility will be counterproductive.”
According to the report, every time the immigrant share of a large American county increases by 1%, the chances of Republicans winning that county by 0.6%. Legal immigrants into the US totaled nearly 30 million between 1980 and 2012, and have led to a substantial Democratic bias in the nationwide electorate. The report says that these effects are felt pretty much universally around the country, and don’t deviate substantially in places like California, Texas, or Florida. Legal immigration is also expected to continue at about one million per year, further hindering the GOP.
Latinos and Asians, who make up the majority of legal immigrants, skew heavily progressive and liberal when it comes to issues such as the size and scope of the federal government; this has led to a “two-to-one party identification with Democrats over Republicans” – definitely not something the GOP wants to hear. Income inequality and the low-income statuses of many immigrants also compel them to vote Democrat, as that’s seen as the party that champions the poor…
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The problem is that the US, unlike Canada, does not try to attract educated and/or wealthy immigrants as its first priority. In Canada there are immigrants that belong to the Conservative party because they themselves want a business-friendly environment.
The Canadian situation has its own problems of course, but it seems to have had a different effect on the political calculus. The NDP lost the last provincial election in BC, despite a large number of immigrants.