Immigration Fails to Rally GOP Base in Florida
Illustration by: Matt Mahurin
The Palm Beach Post is partly correct in its editorial of Jan. 31, "McCain Beats Extremism," focusing on the failure of former Republican governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney to gain votes from his anti-immigrant positions.
Defending Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the Post noted, "MCain’s shrillest critics, who include talk radio’s most potent gasbags, accuse him of being insufficiently conservative," adding that "the issue that had the anti-McCain pack in full cry, however, was immigration."
In reference to McCain’s legalization proposals, the Post said: "As Mitt Romney barked over and over before Tuesday’s vote, that amounted to "amnesty," defined as anything that does not call for immediate roundup and deportation of every illegal immigrant."
The Post concludes: "Mr. Romney stressed the economy, but he couldn’t promise Florida billions for the real-estate market, as he promised Michigan billions for the auto industry. Florida was the truest primary test yet for Republicans, and GOP extremism failed."
Clearly, the immigration issue failed to carry the day for Romney. But McCain also counted on the support of the extremist Cuban-born representatives from the Miami area, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and the Diaz-Balart brothers, Lincoln and Mario. The first two, for example, while serving in the U.S. Congress, have called publicly for the assassination of Fidel Castro. McCain was also supported by Mel Martinez, the Cuban-born GOP senator from Florida.
Cuban-American voters in southern Florida–and there are many–are not as concerned with immigration as other Latinos. They don’t have to be: Cubans get a visa basically by asking. And, mostly, they also agree wholeheartedly with McCain’s support for the continuing Long War.
Perhaps GOP extremism failed in Florida as to the immigration issue, but that does not necessarily mean the failure of other extremist policies.