Friday, May 29, 2009

Republican's 2012 Know-Nothing Strategy

The New Know-Nothings: A 2012 Strategy So Crazy It Might Work

The great Nate Silver is back from a break at FiveThirtyEight with a must-read on how the GOP can get to 270 electoral votes in 2012. It's a variation on the Don't Make Me Press 1 For English theme (or as I call it, the Don't Habla Espanol In Front Of Me In The Wal-Mart Line Because It Makes Me Think You're Talking About Me mindset).

Nate calls it "Operation Gringo":
It depends, of course, on exactly how much more ground they lose (with Hispanics), as well as how much ground they could hope to gain among white voters. If they chose to pursue this strategy, the Republicans would probably elect to make immigration a linchpin issue of their campaign, perhaps coupled with the adoption of some paleoconservative, protectionist rhetoric on issues like NAFTA. While this strategy would be at best a temporary fix -- it would become less effective each passing year as the country continues to grow more diverse -- it might have some strategic benefits in the next two elections.

Nate walks through it state by state and under all scenarios, Iowa is a target (which should make Steve King happy). Problem is, it's a very, very thin needle to thread. The more they amp up the nativist rhetoric, the more Hispanic-heavy states like McCain's Arizona and even Bush's Texas are at risk.

Still, it's a stratgery, albiet one that's as desperate as it is reprehensible. Tom Tancredo (remember how I thought he was the sleeper in the 2007 pack?) may have run one cycle too early. Of course, it could also backfire spectacularly.

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