Most experts predict that the Republicans will take the majority in the Senate. It’s not something I want, but according to many articles, the political winds seem to be blowing against the Democrats. The Democrats still have a chance of winning enough seats to keep their majority in the Senate. The experts have been wrong before. But I think most Democrats like me have to prepare for the worst-case scenario. If the Republicans win the Senate, I wonder what this will mean for immigration reform. So I have a few questions.
If the Senate majority is taken over by Republicans, will the new Senators be closer to establishment type Republicans like McCain or Lindsey Graham, who are amenable to compromise and a bipartisan immigration reform bill? Or will the new Republican Senators be more closely aligned to Tea Party Republicans like Ted Cruz, who wants the focus to be solely on border enforcement and deportations?
Will the November elections change in any way the make up of the House Republicans, putting a dent on the 80 or so Tea Party Republicans and adding more numbers to more independent minded Republicans willing to compromise? Will Speaker Boehner have more room to maneuver on an immigration reform bill? Or will his actions be constricted by House Republicans like Steve King, Michele Bachmann, and Louie Gohmert, who want the harshest border policies possible?
There’s a good article by Christopher Parker of the Bookings Institute on the differences between Tea Party conservatives and non-Tea Party conservatives on the issue of immigration reform. Parker wrote:
…they represent constituencies haunted by anxiety associated with the perception that they’re “losing their country” to immigrants from south of the border.
The Republican Party is 89 percent white, and 97 percent of Republican House districts in the 113th Congress have white majorities. Moreover, 67 House Republicans won seats with the support of the Tea Party. And people who are highly identified with the Tea Party are anxious about Latino immigrants taking over “their” country.
…A national survey I conducted revealed significant discrepancies between Tea Party conservatives and non-Tea Party conservatives, especially when it comes to “illegal” immigrants and immigration policy:
•When asked whether or not “restrictive immigration policies are based in part on racism,” 40 percent of non-Tea Party conservatives say that racism has something to do with restrictive immigration policy versus 18 percent of Tea Party conservatives.
•Almost two-thirds (66 percent) of Tea Party conservatives want to eliminate birthright citizenship (part of the 14th Amendment) versus 46 percent of non-Tea Party conservatives — a 20-point difference.
•Only 30 percent of Tea Party conservatives support the DREAM Act versus 50 percent of non-Tea Party conservatives, another 20-point difference.
As a Democrat, I want to know if next year’s Senate Republicans are willing to work out a compromise immigration bill similar to last years bipartisan bill that the Gang of Six was able to work out? Or will Republicans let Ted Cruz dictate the terms of an immigration bill that focuses solely on border enforcement and the deportation of all illegal immigrants, a bill that no Democrat would support?
On September 3, 2014, I did a cartoon for the Philippines Today on the importance of the moderate Republican. I didn’t realize how important they were to the political process until they were gone. When moderate Republicans were numerous in the Congress, they had some common ground with the Democrats so that compromises could be reached and meaningful laws could be passed in Congress. With the dwindling of the number of moderate Republicans in recent years, the Tea Party Republicans who now have the most influence in the GOP have made it clear that they share no common ground with either moderate or liberal Democrats. This is the big reason why there has been gridlock in Congress these past few years.
As a Democrat, I’m not sure what the strategy should be for Obama and the Congressional Democrats in the next 2 years if the Republicans take over both houses of Congress. I’m guessing that Obama will have to veto a lot of bills that the Republicans pass to try to overturn the Affordable Care Act, pass laws limiting same-sex marriage, restrictions on abortion, voting restrictions, and cuts to government programs for the poor. Should the Democrats obstruct the Republicans in the same way Republicans obstructed Obama these past few years? Though it is tempting, it’ll continue government gridlock and more people will suffer. But how do Obama and the Democrats collaborate with Tea Party Republicans if there is no area of common ground?
I’m hoping that immigration activists, church groups, business leaders and agriculture groups continue to pressure Congress to pass a fair immigration reform bill. I personally thought the 2007 McCain Kennedy immigration reform bill and last year’s bipartisan Senate immigration reform bill were good bills that could’ve been debated and amended. Keep putting the Republicans feet on the fire until they realize the importance of having a bill pass. Even if Obama goes ahead with his executive powers to help immigrants, that power has a limited reach. Only Congress can fix the flaws of our immigration laws with a comprehensive law.
Ever since the debates on health care reform in 2009, I’ve been interested in learning more about what makes important reform bills pass Congress and turn into law. Right now I’m reading The Bill of the Century: The Epic Battle For The Civil Rights Act by Clay Risen. It talks about the importance of social movements to pressure the government, the importance of a politically astute President and reform-minded Congress members to build coalitions and garner enough support for a good bill, and the importance of labor unions, religious leaders and civil rights organizations to rally public support and lobby Congress. Here are some other books about the political process and passing important laws.
Getting It Done: How Obama and Congress Broke The Stalemate To Make Way For Health Care Reform by Tom Daschle and David Nather.
James Madison and the Struggle for the Bill of Rights by Richard Labunski
Final Freedom: The Civil War, the Abolition of Slavery, and the Thirteenth Amendment by Michael Vorenberg
Founding Sisters and the Ninteenth Amendment by Eleanor Clift
Here are some youtube videos I found of the political process in passing important reform laws.
Lyndon Johnson and the Civil Rights Act
Ted Kennedy talks about the passage of the American With Disabilities Act
Historian William Lee Miller talks about James Madison and his work in passing the Constitution
Historian and Brown University professor Michael Vorenberg talks about the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment
New York Times editor Clay Risen talks about his newest book, “The Bill of the Century: The Epic Battle for the Civil Rights Act”
A PBS American Experience excerpt on how President Clinton passed his budget
If you enjoy this cartoon, take a look at these links for more of my political cartoons at my blog. You could also join my Jasper the Cat facebook page.
A Cartoon on Central American Refugee Children
Filipino Americans and the Farm Labor Movement
Jasper Takes A Car Trip
Jesus, the Poor and the Church
Jasper and the Obamacare Rollout
A Cartoon on Filipino American History
Two Cartoons on Republicans and the Government Shutdown
Superman and the Immigrant Experience
Jasper Walks With A Friend
A Cartoon for the 4th of July
A Cartoon on Government Surveillance
Jasper and Homeless Bob
Two Cartoons on the Economy
Two Cartoons on the Church
Jasper and the Church
Jasper and the Tea Partier
Jasper Writes A Blog
Conversations During The Holidays
Jasper and the Cop
The Parents Visit the Occupation
Cartoons About Occupy Wall Street
Jasper and the Moderate Republican
Obama and the Republicans
Jasper And the Homeless Veteran
Jasper Celebrates the 4th of July
Jasper Meets Howard Zinn
Jasper and the Nature Poem
Government and the Market Economy
Jasper Joins Two Protests
Bob the Nerd Vampire
Jasper Debates War
Jasper Finds His Way Home
Jasper Escapes the Detention Center
Jasper At A Detention Center
Jasper Meets a Poet
Jasper Tackles Health Care
Jasper Protests the War
Jasper and the Economy
Jasper Sings a Protest Song
The Road To Health Care Reform Cartoon
A Cartoon about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
A Cartoon about My Experience in an Evangelical Church
A Cartoon about Political Debate
A Cartoon On Gay Marriage