New Virginians and the Republican Party

"Despite his efforts to reach out to black, Hispanic, Asian and other minority groups in his campaign for governor, Robert F. McDonnell's decisive victory Tuesday was largely the result of his overwhelming support among white voters.

According to exit polling, 67 percent of white voters backed the Republican over Democrat R. Creigh Deeds. He got a larger share of the white vote than any Republican in Washington Post exit polls dating to 1994, with the exception of President George W. Bush in 2004.

One in four nonwhite voters statewide went for McDonnell, about average for Republicans in Virginia with the exception of last year's history-making election, when one in five nonwhite residents voted for Republican presidential nominee John McCain.

McDonnell won big in many of the increasingly diverse Washington suburbs. But his scant support from minorities, despite his efforts, suggests a challenge for the GOP as it tries to retain power in a state that is a destination for immigrants"  Washpost


The author of this piece seems to assume that "immigrants" to Virginia will be or remain Democrats.

As I have argued previously, American "immigrants" to Virginia in the Washington area self-distribute on the two banks of the Potomac on the basis of a perceived conservative legal, cultural and business environment in Virginia as oppsed to a more Liberal set of attitudes in Maryland and the District of Columbia.  That outcome was reflected in the voting of the recent gubernatorial election in Virginia.

The issue of the eventual political "destination" of non US origin immigrants to the Commonwealth of Virginia is a different issue.  The supposition that immigrants from abroad somehow are inherently inclined to liberal politics is probably wrong.  Latino immigrants are typically anchored firmly to family, church and community.  Indian and East Asian immigrants are prominent in our communities as professional people and business owners.  The values of these groups converge with the middle of the road moderate conservatism of Virginians generally. 

Why should we not think that in a generation the politics of new Virginians from abroad will not be much like that of the 67% of "white" people in Northern Virginia who voted for McDonnell?

Message for the Republican Party – Don't go chasing immigrant votes too hard.  They will come to you.  Remember who "brought you to the dance."  pl

PS  Alexandria and Arlington are special cases that I will discuss sometime.

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26 Responses to New Virginians and the Republican Party

  1. At all income levels, including sales and special taxes, Virginia taxes average below Marylands by about 10%!

  2. TR says:

    Do you disagree with the suggestion that the Republican Party is antagonizing (started to say alienating) Hispanics in Virginia as elsewhere, whether or not intentionally? Ed Gillespie contended McDonnell got that vote in his post-election piece in the Post, but has no numbers (yet) to back him up. It will be interesting to see what the data reveal when collected and analyzed.

  3. Lysander says:

    Col Lang,
    Do you think a Ron Paul style old school conservative movement could ever take root in Virginia among white/nonwhite residents?
    By that I mean a more modest foreign policy and tight monitary policy.

  4. Omo Naija says:

    The GOP is not going any where until its purged of its “Maccaca” loving wing of the party.

  5. Patrick Lang says:

    I think so, but that will not happen. The party apparatchiks have their own fish to fry. pl

  6. zanzibar says:

    I have worked with East and South Asians for a number of years as an investor in IT, biotech and medical device companies. Your read on them is in my experience very accurate. They truly are middle of the road moderate conservatives. As a hard working and enterprising immigrant group they are fiscally prudent and are intensely private on social matters. They don’t wear their sexuality on their sleeve nor are they publicly judgmental on personal issues like abortion. In their native lands for example abortion is legal but an extremely private matter and not discussed even among friends and relatives. I believe they would be very open to a third party that is fiscally conservative and focused on our national interests.
    IMO, the Republican party has been captured by “fundamentalists” who are most interested in using the power of the state to enforce their concept of personal morality on everyone else to the exclusion of all other issues. Of course they naturally want to be exempt from living with those same personal mores. The Democrats on the other hand I believe don’t have a disciplined internal group that is willing to enforce its principles. The closest I believe are the gay rights folks and they turn many people who are moderate the wrong way by being so in your face with respect to their sexuality.
    The core of both parties and particularly the leadership however are, IMO, basically statists beholden to their large campaign contributors who also provide the revolving door to private wealth. Both parties and consequently our government I believe have been captured by the corporatists who are using state power to transfer wealth and control policy to the detriment of the majority of Americans. I am curious how long this state of affairs can continue? What will be the political outcome of this seemingly inexorable march to a new “fascism”?

  7. WAPO in past stories indicate nationally 57% of white voters went for McCAIN/Palin. Perhaps a better selection of VP might have helped and he tailed off right after Lehman Bros. failed. Obama got 16% of eligible black voters to turn out nationwide and of those 90% are estimated to have voted for him. Usually black turnout nationwide is about 3-7%! Immigrants that are legal residents and not citizens often do not vote. Only citizens theoretically vote but not strictly policed by most states which control who votes. Assuming that minorities do not vote, except Jews, in large numbers, the American electorate and each state is sliced pretty thin between the two parties. So turnout again is decisive. The DEMS clearly are upset and turned off and tired from the effor tin 2008 and the result. Where this goes I am not sure but suspect that the economy and jobs alone will hurt the DEMS in 2010 and may even destroy the party by 2012. I thought the Republicans would be the first to go but guess not. Looking at the long term we have lacked outstanding leadership in the US for at least 40 years. That failure to get the best leadership is telling across the board now IMO. Leadership is a very very rare commodity and I really think we lack flag ranks with that capability. Personally on the next rotation of the Chief of Staff of the Armed Services I would bring back either Zinni or Shinsheki although neither are perfect. There may be stars buried in the Executive Branch but there sure are buried deeply. American distrust of elected officials represented by low voter turnout and ignorance, may really be demonstrating the Franklin aphorism rings true if as stated when asked after the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia “What kind of government do we have?” and he replied “a Republic if we (you?) can keep it.” The 21-30 year olds almost completely abdicated their voting rights in VA. Don’t know about the rest of the country or NJ! Perhaps a sense of civic duty is no longer instilled in education from k-12!

  8. jamzo says:

    old virginians and the gop:
    1) voters do not register by party, there is no official breakdown of the electorate by party.
    2) Of the 39 governors directly elected by Virginia voters, 34
    Democrats and 6 Republicans
    3) 6 republican governors elected since 1970
    4) since 1970 6 GOP governors and 5 DEM governors
    1970-1982 gop governors
    1982-1994 dem governors
    1994-2002 gop governors
    2002-2010 dem governors
    2010- gop governor

  9. Fred says:

    “Immigrants that are legal residents and not citizens often do not vote.” Non-citizens can not vote.
    Please provide me one incidence of someone being processcuted for illegally voting and how many such people would need to commit individual felonies to change an election outcome as compared to voter suppression, voter roll purging and other tactics that have actually changed vote outcomes.
    Florida 2000:
    Florida 2004:
    Ohio 2004:
    NH 2000:

  10. lina says:

    “The values of these groups converge with the middle of the road moderate conservatism of Virginians generally.” PL
    Huh? Jim Webb, Mark Warner, and Tim Kaine all have (D)s next to their names. They are considered moderates.
    And which Republican Party are the next generation of immigrants going to be attracted to? The party of Palin-Bachman-Beck? They might have found a home in the old GOP of George HW Bush, but those people are gone with the wind. Today we have demonstrations in the halls of Congress, sanctioned by Republican leadership, comparing health care reform to Dauchau.
    If you can point to evidence that the Republican Party of 2009 is anything but hateful to immigrants, I’d like to see it. Remember the Sotomayor rhetoric leading up to her confirmation? Are those the moderate Republicans that are going to court immigrants?
    Holy Moly.

  11. curious says:

    I always think republican party as a cold war party in term of immigrant voters. Most vote republican as a reaction that Dems just sounds too “commie” like in the old country. (eg. most immigrants are over compensating neo middle class. Be the biggest free wheeling a-hole, that’s what America is about. Work as a village, lifting all boat, bla bla bla is old and out.) Republican is the default choice.
    The only exception is the super high educated immigrants in the academia.
    And of course most hispanic new commers, due to Bush policy. And part of Mexican american establishment due to Clinton bailing out mexico in the 90’s, maybe Puerto Ricans (there aren’t any in VA)
    Specifically VA. Most immigrants are particularly rightwing, because of Pentagon, CIA, states dept. connection, various wars, direct government business connections, etc. There is no such thing as lefty immigrants in VA. The immigrant swing vote numbers aren’t all that big in VA to matter anyway.
    Most of the saner ones are paying both sides anyway. Can’t get anything done without grease these days.
    Yes, when it come right down to it DC is just shinier version of Kabul really.

  12. Patrick Lang says:

    Have you ever been here? What do you make of the big Central American immigrant community? pl

  13. Patrick Lang says:

    You really hate these people. All conservatives are not alike. pl

  14. Patrick Lang says:

    Seems like you made my point. pl

  15. Patrick Lang says:

    I caution you against extreme partisan statements here. pl

  16. lina says:

    I don’t hate anyone. I find Michelle Bachman highly entertaining. I’m just saying “conservative” has lost its meaning in the modern day Republican party.

  17. Sidney O. Smith III says:

    Re: Immigrants
    Here is what Lina wrote on the thread “End communism and the embargo on Cuba”.
    Does anyone know when the Four Seasons Havana is scheduled to open?
    Posted by: lina | 18 April 2009 at 10:46 AM
    It is reasonable to ask if Dorothy Day or Simone Weil would have said the same. Or at the other end of the progressive spectrum, if Diane Christiansen (h/t Paddy Cheyevesky, Network) would have agreed.
    Can’t help but think that Flannery O’Connor would have gotten a laugh out of it, but who knows…maybe Carson McCullers and Margaret Mitchell too.
    Regardless, it would make a great opening sentence for a literary work, imo.

  18. Fred says:

    Col. My apologies for the post, I violated my own rule posting it.

  19. My guess is that 20-30 years down the road none but the brave will call themselves Republican or Democrat! These parties are focused on domestic events only and leave foreign policy and foreign affairs to the experts. All those experts are often not in touch with the reality of foreign cultures or languages or demographics. The world is truly turning upside down and the domestic focus (expertise?) of the American leadership has been almost utterly blind to anything but the former Soviet Union and rise of Russian and Chinese threats since they were able to understand that world but not the current world. Predicting flat out by the time in leaves office President Obama will have started more foreign preventive wars than George W. Bush or George H.W. Bush! eeimrer>didesoe ae

  20. jamzo says:

    the liberal vs conservative thing is a media device
    policitians belong to the republican or democratic party
    the democratic party may lean liberal but it is not the liberal party
    the republican party may seem to be a conservative party at the moment, but it is not the conservative party
    liberal and conservative are part of the names of political parties inmany countries but not in the us
    we separate ourselves politically divided by the terms “republican” and “democratic” and “independent”
    looking at virginia governor elections in terms of republican or democratic viginia governor voting might even be seen as contrarian
    since 1978 when one party holds the white house, the other party seems to occupy governor’s house in virginia
    1970-1978 gop governors in virginia
    gop presidents nixon, ford, 1970-1977)
    dem president carter(1977-1981)
    1982-1994 dem governors in virginis
    gop presidents regan and bush
    1994-2002 gop governors in virginia
    dem president clinton
    2002-2010 gop governors in virginia
    gop president bush
    2010- gop governor in virginia
    dem president obama
    the symmetry isn’t perfect but it is darn close
    the white house changes political parties and virginians seem to choose a governor from the opposite party

  21. lina says:

    Mr. Smith:
    I adopted the newborn baby of an illegal immigrant. I have a little more than a whimsical interest in the treatment of immigrants in the U.S.
    I find Col. Lang’s idea that they would find a “home” in the GOP nothing less than astonishing.

  22. Patrick Lang says:

    I have a framed original sign on my study wall from 1912 that is inscribed “Help wanted, no Irish need apply.”
    Are there no Irish Republicans? pl

  23. Sidney O. Smith III says:

    I spend a lot of time representing indigents, so I have an interest in immigrants as well.
    Plus, I was almost married to an immigrant back in the day. Korean business woman. She was a libertarian or Chuck Hagel Republican waiting to happen.
    Based on that experience and from what I can tell, Zanzibar’s comment is spot on.
    Plus, as inferred from a comment above, we live in a time of “ideological disarray” (Phil Weiss’ words). Not sure any labels apply anymore, imo.

  24. lina says:

    They are even organized:
    Of course the further away from stepping off the boat, the less one’s immigrant status matters. We have a long history of demeaning the last people who got here.
    My son’t birth mother gave me her baby to raise because she couldn’t feed her other three children. Had she been other than a Latina Roman Catholic, she might have scraped the money together to have an abortion. One could call her a “cultural conservative.” She works hard and lives hand to mouth. Perhaps in multiple generations, if planet earth has not gone the way of Mars, her decendents might vote “conservative.” For the forseeable future, however, I wouldn’t bet on it.

  25. curious says:

    Have you ever been here? What do you make of the big Central American immigrant community? pl
    Posted by: Patrick Lang | 09 November 2009 at 05:29 PM
    Trying to avoid DC as hard as I can, my top city of soul sucking deadbeat meetings. My knowledge is passing and based on few friends/thin segment of city, but overall seems generic enough. 1)Latinos DC voters largely are part of NoVa tech boom in the past 2 decades. 2)the so called latinos community isn’t as deeply rooted as other major cities (I am unfairly comparing it to places like little Havana or east LA here). Most are young professionals, just starting family. New. I am pretty sure various asian american communities in NoVa are bigger and have been around longer.
    on top of that, the latinos in VA are really diverse. I don’t know how they can be so confidence treating the group as a coherent voting block they can target prefab slogan on. It’s not 3% voting block, but 5-10 small groups of 0.3% that pollsters conveniently lump together for easy check mark. But I guess I would know better if I go to church and eat at all the popular lunch places.

  26. Patrick Lang says:

    “But I guess I would know better if I go to church and eat at all the popular lunch places.”
    You are cautioned against snottiness. pl

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