Patrick, a former radio host who is basing his run on remarkably lurid claims about the need to secure the border, is an important figure to watch to understand the GOP’s trajectory on immigration, and by extension, the party’s future relations with Latinos. Patrick is almost certain to win; he will be in a position of great influence in a state that is home to much of the border with Mexico — and well positioned to pull the party further right on the issue, particularly if another crisis flares up.
To see what this might look like, check out Patrick’s latest ad. It raises the specter of ISIS terrorists crossing the border to kill Americans, links that to his Democratic opponent’s opposition to sending the National Guard to the border and her support for in-state tuition for residents brought to this country illegally. “National security begins with border security — and that begins with the Texas Rangers and National Guard,” Patrick says. “Border security will be my top priority.”
But y'all gonna sit out and let this guy win, and let his party win. Because Patrick is far from the only one.
Perhaps Patrick is a rhetorical outlier in the party. But consider the broad sweep of what we’ve seen lately. Arkansas Congressman and Senate candidate Tom Cotton, who is supposed to be a uniter of the Tea Party and GOP establishment, claims that ISIS terrorists are collaborating with Mexican drug gangs to infiltrate the border and kill people in Arkansas. This didn’t really register at all with the national press corps, as if this has now become par for the course. And it has: GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter went on national TV and casually claimed a bunch of ISIS fighters were detained at the border, citing a far right legal group as a source.
Meanwhile, even more “moderate” Republicans running for Senate in purple-ish states, such as Scott Brown and Terri Lynn Land, are flogging the migrant crisis to fear-monger about the border. As David Weigel has noted, Karl Rove’s outside group is running ads hitting Democrats over “amnesty,” even though Rove had previously urged the GOP to adopt immigration reform (which would include said “amnesty”) for the long-term good of the party. RNC chair Reince Priebus — who had alsopreviously urged the GOP to adopt reform, lest its appeal “shrink to its core constituencies only” — recently rolled out another rebrand that appeared to abandon reform as a goal.
House Republicans voted to end Obama’s program to defer deportations of people brought here illegally as children, and will mount another stand if Obama unilaterally expands that program, locking the GOP into a stance that calls for ever more deportations. One imagines Ted Cruz willdemagogue that to the hilt as part of his 2016 presidential run. Even Marco Rubio — the great Latino hope of the GOP — was recently spotted dressing down DREAMers as a crowd of South Carolina conservatives hooted and jeered, another signal of where this is all headed once the GOP primary heats up.
Republicans will never allow immigration reform to pass. They've killed it repeatedly for ten years now, but you're going to blame Obama and stay home.
You do that, 'mano.