A recent post on the number crunching politics blog FiveThirtyEight breaks down the demographic trends behind the Southern GOP trend of running against against immigration as a way of shoring up the hard-core isolationist base. Another way to put it, the GOP is running against Latinos to shore up their racist-base. Whatever you think of the Southern GOP, both descriptions are correct and offer a winning if despicable scenario for politicians with the stomach for an argument getting most of its heat from crypto-racism.
It might work in a 2010 GOP primary, but shifting demographics mean that the social weight of Latinos will eventually make such tactics socially unacceptable in the former Confederacy. The seemingly obvious refurbishment of the infamous Southern Strategy may not work in the larger since. Fivethirtyeight’s Kilgore seems to think that the country is too interconnected for such narrow strategies. Northeastern and Western Republicans will be forced into a tight spot in general elections if they’re seen as too close to the “Speak English” crowd. That conflict may not be far down the road, Jim Demint seems hell-bent on taking the Southern Strategy national. For now parochial politicians like Andre Bauer, Tim James and Nathan Deal have little to lose be appealing to the indecency of primary voters.
Read the article I’m referencing: http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2010/05/why-southern-republicans-are-raising.html