Two pieces of evidence.
One, Democrat strategist Bob Beckel consistently uses his platform on Fox to tell Republicans that passing immigration reform including a pathway to citizenship for those here illegally would be good for the party. Some Republicans seem to believe him, as they’re going along as if he and other Democrats saying the same thing have the GOP’s best interests at heart.
When has Bob Beckel or any other Democrat ever had the Republican Party’s best interests at heart? Someone, name any time that this has happened. These people are paid large sums of money to defeat Republicans. It’s their profession. Defeating Republicans puts food on their tables.
Do any of the Republican elites ever stop to think that maybe, in his heart of hearts, Mr. Bob Beckel the Democrat pro who eats off the carcasses of dead Republican roadkill isn’t being entirely honest and above board about this?
Two, the GOP’s new published playbook — brilliant job, by the way, telling the opposition what you intend to do — nudges the party in two directions that some portion of its base dislikes. One, aforementioned immigration reform. Two, same-sex marriage. A significant chuck of the GOP base is opposed to both. They’re not entirely, but largely are, the same people. Let’s punch them in both eyes and then tell them how much we love them.
In real life, this is called an abusive relationship. Many who can opt out of it, will.
The idea behind both of these moves is to grow the party beyond its base. But the outcome is likely to shrink the party’s base.
Let’s do some math. I promise to keep differential equations out of the mix, mostly because I can’t do them anymore. Calculus was my enemy.
Suppose both parties have a base of 40 million each, with 20 million undecided. Not real numbers, just round numbers to keep things easy. There are also 10 million potential voters who can’t vote because they’re not citizens and they’re not here legally.
One party comes up with an idea: Give those 10 million citizenship. Both parties know that about 7 million of those 10 million will vote with one of the parties. It’s not even Steven. The other party says ok, fine, let’s grant those 10 million citizenship and voting rights, and it happily captures 3 million of the new voters.
In that move, the one party grew to 47 million. The other grew to 43 million. Supposing that the 20 million undecideds break evenly for both parties, which one wins? Which party has to work harder than before just to break even now, after its great play to grow beyond its base?
But wait, there’s more!
Now, the party of 43 million neglected to figure something into its math: Granting citizenship to the 10 million will irritate and turn off some number of its own supporters because they don’t like flagrant violations of the rule of law. It’s just not their thing. Say, one in 10 of its base supporters objects to the move and starts sitting elections out. So 43 million drops 4 million of its original support and is now 39 million — a net loss of 1 million voters. Gained 3, lost 4, right? Somebody check my math. Meanwhile, the other party still has its net gain and sits at 47 million.
So the new numbers after the policy change look like this: 47 million to one party, 39 million to the other, 24 million up for grabs. But 4 million of those 24 million don’t like either party and are unlikely to vote. They may form a third party, just for fun. Everybody likes parties.
The 39 million party has given the other party an 8 million vote head start, with just 20 million votes realistically on the table, by trying to grow beyond its base in a way that irritates its base. They can still win, but it’s a tough ask.
The party of 47 million is fat and happy like Bob Beckel in a massage parlor.