On Hispanics and the GOP

“On Hispanics and the GOP” by Ron K. Unz
Chronicles (Letters), August 2000

Samuel Francis (Principalities & Powers, April 2000) is correct in much of his analysis of the weaknesses of Gov. George W. Bush’s political strategy for attracting Hispanic votes. He is also correct in debunking the endlessly repeated canard that Bush won 49 percent (rather than 39 percent) of the Texas Hispanic vote in his successful 1998 reelection effort against a very weak and underfunded Democratic opponent.

However, since I have made very similar criticisms of Bush’s strategy and successes, I was quite surprised at being treated with such hostility and placed in the Bush camp on those issues. I would suspect that my very strong opposition to ethnic separatist policies such as affirmative action and bilingual education is simply not good enough for someone like Dr. Francis, whose views on ethnic issues seem aligned with those of the “white nationalist” camp. Thus, he appears to be the counterpart to the LULAC activists whom he decries.

Finally, Dr. Francis doubts that the dramatic fall in Hispanic support for GOP candidates (especially in California) is directly linked to Proposition 187, but the facts prove otherwise. Until the 1994 campaign for Prop. 187, almost any viable Republican candidate running statewide in California could expect 40 to 50 percent of the Hispanic vote. Moderate Republican Pete Wilson received 47 percent in his 1990 gubernatorial race, and conservative Bruce Herschensohn won 40 percent in his 1992 U.S. Senate race. But since 1994, Republican candidates have rarely won even 20 percent of the Hispanic vote. Republican support for the harsh provisions of Prop. 187, which would have expelled 300,000 immigrant children from public schools and which was supported by a campaign filled with harsh anti-Hispanic rhetoric and images, is the obvious cause.

Ron K. Unz
Chairman, English for the Children
Palo Alto, CA

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