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Conventional wisdom in Democratic Party circles has long been that the robust growth of Hispanics due to immigration and higher birth rates in the Hispanic community will ultimately bring the Republican Party to its knees.  That may well be true in the long-term, but in the short-term that effect has been negligible, and in many places, has actually led to the Democrats losing ground.  I will present a series of numbers in this diary to back up the claim, and then analyze why the phenomenon is occuring and why it's likely to take many generations before Hispanics have an impact on elections that comes even close to approaching their proportion of the American population..

I live in the Upper Midwest.  The area is full of small and medium-sized meatpacking and food processing towns where the growth of the immigrant population (overwhelmingly Hispanics) has been substantial if not explosive in the last 20 years.  Most of the counties I'm going to evaluate were 98% or more non-Hispanic white in the mid-1980s.  With that in mind, indulge me as I compare the results of these specific counties in the 1988 Presidential election, where the Democratic candidate lost by eight points nationally, and the 2004 Presidential election, where the Democratic candidate lost by three points nationally....

Starting in my home state of Minnesota.....

Nobles County (Worthington)  17.3% non-white as of 2000
1988  Dukakis--4953  (53%), Bush--4348  (9301 voters)
2004  Bush--5159 (56%), Kerry--3898  (9057 voters)

Kandiyohi County (Willmar)  9.7% non-white
1988  Dukakis--8962 (51%), Bush--8634 (17,596 voters)
2004  Bush--11,704 (55%), Kerry--9337 (21,041 voters)

Now to Iowa, where the contrasts are often even bigger....

Buena Vista County (Storm Lake)  17.9% non-white
1988  Dukakis--4580 (52%), Bush--4170 (8750 voters)
2004  Bush--4887 (58%), Kerry--3520 (8407 voters)

Crawford County (Denison)  10.6% non-white
1988  Dukakis--3868 (53%), Bush--3375 (7243 voters)
2004  Bush--3955 (55%), Kerry--3220 (7175 voters)

Louisa County (Columbus Junction)  13.6% non-white
1988  Dukakis--2268 (52%), Bush--2060 (4328 voters)
2004  Bush--2572 (52%), Kerry--2297 (4869 voters)

Marshall County (Marshalltown)  11.9% non-white
1988  Dukakis--9760 (55%), Bush--7657 (17,417 voters)
2004  Bush--9557 (50+%), Kerry--9443 (19,000 voters)

Keep in mind that the "non-white" population numbers are assuredly lowballed as the census figures notoriously undercount minorities, particularly illegal immigrants of which there are certain to be some.  All six of these counties went from blue to red even as the non-white population (at least 80% Hispanic immigrants in all of these counties) went from near zero to double digits percentage-wise.  Also notice that in half of these six counties, the overall number of voters went DOWN between 1988 and 2004, even though national voter turnout for the '88 election was only 51% compared to 61% for '04.

Now let's move to the beefpacking communities west of the Missouri River in Nebraska and Kansas.  These counties are different from the Minnesota and Iowa counties in that the Hispanic migration began much sooner.  These counties had very significant Hispanic populations by the mid-1980s, but they've only grown since then.  One would think that after 30 years of Hispanic settlement, these places would be starting to trend at least a little towards the Democrats, right?  Well, let's see, starting with Nebraska....

Madison County (Norfolk) 11.7% non-white
1988  Bush--9135 (76%), Dukakis--2779 (11,914 voters)
2004  Bush--10,981 (78%), Kerry--2934 (13,915 voters)

Hall County (Grand Island) 16.3% non-white
1988  Bush--12,020 (63%), Dukakis--6822 (18,842 voters)
2004  Bush--14,592 (69%), Kerry--6228 (20,820 voters)

Dawson County (Lexington) 27.2% non-white
1988  Bush--5529 (71%), Dukakis--2184 (7713 voters)
2004  Bush--6149 (77%), Kerry--1728 (7877 voters)

Dakota County (Dakota City) 29.1% non-white
1988  Dukakis--2941 (51%), Bush--2744 (5685 voters)
2004  Bush--3526 (53%), Kerry--3027 (6553 voters)

Now to Kansas, where the nation's largest meatpacking plants and highest concentration of Hispanic laborers reside....

Lyon County (Emporia) 22.7% non-white
1988  Bush--6820 (56%), Dukakis--5314 (12,134 voters)
2004  Bush--7951 (60%), Kerry--5234 (13,185 voters)

Ford County (Dodge City) 42.7% non-white
1988  Bush--5685 (59%), Dukakis--3817 (9502 voters)
2004  Bush--6632 (74%), Kerry--2286 (8918 voters)

Finney County (Garden City) 48.6% non-white
1988  Bush--5381 (61%), Dukakis--3408 (8789 voters)
2004  Bush--7479 (75%), Kerry--2351 (9830 voters)

Seward County (Liberal...the most ironically named town in America)  50.6% non-white
1988  Bush--4089 (71%), Dukakis--1655 (5744 voters)
2004  Bush--4272 (79%), Kerry--1122 (5394 voters)

These are just a random sample, but par for the course.  In every single instance, Great Plains meatpacking towns got MORE REPUBLICAN even as their Hispanic populations exploded, in some cases to a near-majority.  And while I'm not as knowledgeable about which counties in the South host major poultry processing plants, the two most prominent examples that I know of [Hall County, Georgia (Gainesville) and Benton County, Arkansas (Rogers, Bentonville)] have similarly become even stronger GOP bastions over the span of time that their Hispanic population has soared.  

Even in California, the effect of Hispanic immigration has been conflicting.  Certainly, Hispanics living near urban centers on the California coast have improved Democratic chances, but how about in the even more Hispanic-centric counties in Central California's produce and dairy regions?  Again, they're more Republican: Fresno County (49% Dukakis vs. 42% Kerry); Kern County (37% Dukakis vs. 32% Kerry); and Stanislaus County (46% Dukakis vs. 40% Kerry).  These are only three large-scale examples indicative of the entire region's trendline, despite the fact that Hispanics make up a MAJORITY in many of these counties.

So what's going on?

Are Hispanics becoming Republicans?  To a small extent, yes.  The regional voting figures validate the exit poll numbers showing that Hispanics were far more likely to vote for Bush in 2004 than any other recent Republican candidate.  Theoretically, the conservative cultures of places like Dodge City, Kansas, would indoctrinate a larger number of Hispanics to vote Republican than would Hispanics living in Las Vegas, for example.  But there's far more to it than that.....

The real problem is that Hispanics simply are not voting.  That's why in many of the counties I singled out above, the number of overall voters actually declined between 1988 and 2004. Chew on these figures.  Non-Hispanic whites make up 68% of the American population, but made up 77% of the 2004 electorate.  Considering that exit polls indicated that voter turnout among blacks was almost at parity with voter turnout among whites, that leaves only one major ethnic demographic pulling up the rear.  

County-by-county voter statistics bear this out.  The aforementioned Finney County, Kansas, which has the largest meatpacking plant in the country, has an approximate population of 33,000, with a 2004 voter turnout of 9830 voters.  Comparatively, my home county of Freeborn County, Minnesota, which also has an immigrant population of about 7%, has a population of approximately 32,000 with a 2004 voter turnout of 17,414 voters.  That's almost double.  And Freeborn County went 55% Kerry.

And I'm not singling out Hispanics for a scolding for not voting.  The fact is that a huge percentage of them are ineligible to vote.  Legal residency in America (which most Hispanics have) is far different than citizenship, which is required to attain voting rights.  A college roommate of mine immigrated from Mexico in 1990, and by the 1998 midterms, was still not eligible for citizenship....and he was adopted by a rich family so access was not a problem.   By every measure, Hispanic immigration without a fast track to citizenship is politically and economically counterproductive.

Especially in Minnesota and Iowa, meatpacking jobs were unionized and paid extremely well up until the mid-1980's when the industry meltdown that had already hit the beef side of the business hit the pork side of the business.  In towns like the aforementioned Worthington, Minnesota, and Storm Lake, Iowa, among numerous others, the slaughterhouses were the largest employers in town and the nearly all-white workforce was politically engaged.  In the 20 years since, the nearly all-immigrant workforce earns 38 cents on the dollar in wages (adjusted for inflation), is generally non-union, and is politically inactive, often because most of their workforce are not citizens.  

Adding insult to injury, most of the immigrant workforce is fluid, recycled in and out of the packinghouses and the communities that host them over the course of months.  When one recent immigrant leaves the area, either because of frequent OTJ injuries or disgust with the living and working conditions he or she has to endure, another new immigrant replaces him or her.  It's an endless cycle that rarely produces upward mobility for the plants' workforces and keeps the workforces permanently disengaged from political activity.  This centralizes voting in the respective communities in the hands of the white citizens, who no longer work in the slaughterhouse where the union influence previously resulted in their voting Democrat, but no longer does. And these same white voters are now more likely to have a xenophobic us-versus-them mentality towards immigrants who are now working at the jobs that they're now told "Americans won't do" even though the white workers did them for decades with sufficient compensation.  This culture promotes a rising tide of Republican voting, as evidenced in nearly all of the case studies I provided above.

What's the solution?  Hard to say, but it'll take decades of waiting before Hispanic immigration even has the potential of producing the same effect on Kansas, Georgia, Arkansas and North Carolina that it's had on California and Nevada.  And by that time, permanent damage will have been done to the economic institutions most of us as Democrats hold sacred.  Supporting unbridled immigration policy as a means of securing a future Democratic majority simply won't work, and the only people who will truly gain from it will be the food processing barons who will get even richer off of the continued cheap labor of an immigrant pipeline.  Bush's prescribed "guest worker program" would be the worst of all worlds, allowing said barons to get all the benefits out of immigrants (cheap labor) with none of the responsibilities (the prospect of future political empowerment of these immigrants, who will never become citizens as "guest workers".)

As progressives, we have a serious decision to make on the immigration issue.  Do we promote the recreation of the Gilded Age and its regressive consequences in the name of "celebrating diversity", "welcoming newcomers", or "filling jobs Americans won't do"?  Or do we think outside the box to preserve liveable wages and working conditions at jobs in America, helping improve the quality of life in Latin America and elsewhere so that we won't need to absorb as many low-skill and semi-skill immigrants as we do currently, and expand political participation among Hispanic non-citizens so that they're not a permanent shadow culture in a shadow economy.  If we decide to go with the former, as I suspect many will choose to do, we'll be guilty of a "hat trick" of betrayal...betrayal of our existing American workforce, betrayal of the very Hispanic immigrants we think we're helping, and betrayal of the Democratic Party who will fade even further into the oblivion if a higher percentage of the nation's working class are disempowered non-citizens who are at best decades away from voting rights.

Originally posted to Mark27 on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 04:48 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Recommendations Appreciated. (8+ / 0-)
    I spent alot of time looking up these figures and feel the numbers present an invisible trend that we need to become aware of.  Recommendations that could open this diary up to a larger audience would be most welcomed.
  •  I never thought it was possible either. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ranting Roland, kraant

    I could never fathom a Hispanic ever being a Repug, but I've seen them. A good majority of older Cubans in Miami are die hard repugs, (the whole Castro thing). The reality is why vote for a party that claims to be all-inclusive (tokens like Condi, Gonzalez, Powell), while at the same time cutting programs that help minorities. Due to traditional religious upbringing, there are also some Hispanics drinking the koolaid- the so-called 'moral' koolaid that neocon shitheads feel so strongly about, gay marriage, abortion, etc.

    Btw, I'm hispanic.

    "I always tell the truth. Even when I lie" Al Pacino in 'Scarface'

    by F DUBYA on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 05:08:59 PM PST

    •  We Always Used to Be Able.... (0+ / 0-) dismiss GOP rhetoric about "winning over Hispanics" as folly, artificially inflated because of the Cubans.  Unfortunately, the 2004 figures indicate significant movement of the non-Cuban Hispanic population towards Bush.  Whether that's a one-time thing or a long-term realignment brought about by the "culture war" remains to be seen, but I have my fears.
    •  Secure the Border, then sort it out. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      If the Latino population either a) doesn't vote in high percentages and b) increasingly votes for Republicans when it does vote then the solution is to champion the building of a wall or increased military presence at the Mexican border in order to win back the disaffected. If Democrats grab the lead in the effort to secure the border:

      1. Latinos who are already here will be thankful that, with a wall of some sort in place, the labor pool will not be further diluted. A restricted labor pool will instigate better wages for them and for everyone else.
      1. Securing the border is a huge winner as an issue. It would be a jobs program (personnel manning the borders and technology to improve detection of would-be crossers) and it would/could be a genuine tactic in the fight against violent extremists wishing to enter the country unrecognized.
      1. With a secure border in place, a humane amnesty program could be put in place. Without secure borders, offering amnesty is tantamount to airlifting illegals into the country. The rush to get in to take advantage of amnesty would overwhelm the resources presently placed at the border.
      1. Championing secure borders/walls, etc. in this manner would take the issue away from the Tancredos of the world and place it with the Napolitanos of the world, which would be a plus for the Democrats and the immigrants both.

      The Moe Sizlak Experience, featuring Homer Simpson.

      by lepermessiah on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 09:37:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for all the figures.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ranting Roland, kraant

    Your thinking on this represents mine to a large degree, as developed from watching the impact of Hispanic voters in Nevada and California.

    Where I live, a majority of the voting Hispanics are Republican, for two main reasons. One, is religion, and the anti-abortion, Catholic ethos many Hispanics have. The Republicans, with their "family values" propaganda, and its religious ties, has appealed to these people.

    Second, is the fact that many of the local Hispanics around here are employed by solidly Republican owned and operated companies and corporations, such as developers, farmers, ranchers, contractors, and others, who all have strong historical ties to the Repug Party. The Hispanics they employ, are often given "hints" at work, that the Repuglian Party "would be better for your jobs", and many of them vote accordingly.

    I have yet, outside of large ""blue" cities, seen any payoff from Democratic efforts to bring more Hispanics into the party.

    "Without full Public Campaign Financing for every election, we are all pissing in the wind, and our efforts to save our democracy will be for naught."

    by Hornito on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 05:15:41 PM PST

    •  Not Good News.... (0+ / 0-)
      In your region, it appears the worst-case scenario is being realized.  Working-class Hispanics are voting....for Republicans.  In my part of the country, the Hispanic working-class generally doesn't vote at all, most often because they're non-citizens.  My dad is active in GOTV drives at, among other places, meatpacking plants in Minnesota, and has talked to dozens of Hispanic workers who want to vote for Democratic candidates, but who are either non-citizens or clueless about where to even go to vote.  

      I often wondered if the trend towards the GOP in central California, where immigrant populations are highest, are the result of directives from the large agribusinesses bestowing GOP values upon their field hands (at least the field hands who have attained citizenship, which I suspect is still a tiny majority).  Seems like that kind of living arrangement would be highly conducive to political indoctrination.  Since that kind of arrangement is not the standard in Midwestern food processing towns, the end result seems to be a complete absence of political activism among Hispanics more so than the indoctrination you're describing.

      But the statistics even in majority Hispanic areas, such as the Rio Grande River Valley counties in South Texas, show that the Democrats could be poised to lose a siginificant percentage of the Hispanic vote if current trends continue.

      •  But you know.... (0+ / 0-)

        that is changing. With news this evening, that Republicans are aganst any pro-immigrant legislation by 59%, sends a loud message. In fact, 500,000+ people proved they heard that message today, and they don't like it.

        I think, this may turn out to be a shot in the arm of democracy. This is going to be an interesting struggle.  

        "Without full Public Campaign Financing for every election, we are all pissing in the wind, and our efforts to save our democracy will be for naught."

        by Hornito on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 06:29:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Agreed.... (0+ / 0-)
          I think that as Hispanics learn that most Republicans want to deny the immigrant children in their neighborhoods an education or health care, sentiment will shift against the GOP among Hispanics nationwide just as it did in coastal California post-Pete Wilson.  Gay marriage will suddenly matter less in the voting booth when horror stories start circulating about neighbors' kids being morbidly ill but denied medical treatment.

          On the other hand, I'm not so sure that majority Hispanic opinion on the jobs issues is so diametrically opposed to the Tom Tancredo wing of the GOP.  I know if I was a Hispanic meatpacker already struggling to feed my family, the last thing I would want is to legitimize the pipeline of immigrant labor that would further suppress the wage levels in my workplace.

  •  As a second generation American citizen, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I don't believe in illegal immigration.  My parents came to this country legally and are now American citizens.

    I think that is what we should strive for as a society.

    In turns of what to do with the 11 million illegals now living in this country, I have absolutely no clue.  I can see both sides of the argument.

    "I believe we should take care of our environment, that's why I'm standing in front of a river" - Paul Hackett

    by Drdemocrat on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 05:21:37 PM PST

    •  I think one should start at (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      securing our borders.  It really should be a safety issue more than anything else.

      "I believe we should take care of our environment, that's why I'm standing in front of a river" - Paul Hackett

      by Drdemocrat on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 05:23:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm really conflicted on this issue because (0+ / 0-)

        I have family that has come through illegally and the majority of them have prospered here in the US. They couldn't have gotten in legally if they tried. Economically it would be impossible. Latin countries require lots of moolah to make a visa happen. The problem is more like the cocaine problem, I think if you eliminate the reason for people coming here instead of building a Berlin wall... but that's a fanstasy, who's gonna clean up all the corrupt politicians in Latin America and make things better over there?

        "I always tell the truth. Even when I lie" Al Pacino in 'Scarface'

        by F DUBYA on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 05:36:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'm In Agreement... (0+ / 0-)
        ....about securing the borders....and I can't understand the logic of those who argue that that would be wrong.  I'm sure Democratic Governors like Bill Richardson and Janet Napolitano would respectfully disagree with that assessment.

        I'm not that worried about the 11 million illegals living here as long as we're able to slow the influx through secure borders.  Absorbing one generation of illegal immigrants into our economy is doable....absorbing multiple generations of illegals, as many liberals strangely support, would not be doable.

    •  I don't believe in illegal immigration either (0+ / 0-)

      . . . which is why I think we should drop as many legal barriers to immigration as we possibly can. Bring 'em all in legally. Get 'em on the tax rolls. Let 'em start building capital, starting businesses, creating jobs. The more the merrier.

      "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk." --Ian McDonald

      by Geenius at Wrok on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 05:56:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You Can't Be Serious.... (0+ / 0-)
        Do you really think America can absorb as many of the world's people as want to come here and not be overwhelmed, or rather flattened, by the influx?

        Regulated immigration is good.  Unregulated immigration is devastating.  Never ceases to amaze me how many Dems think that a return to the Upton Sinclair era would be desirable.

        •  That would be the day when we all speak (0+ / 0-)

          the same language, but hold our cultural roots and it would be okay because we are America. The day when race, color, and religion don't matter in this country anymore is a long way off.

          "I always tell the truth. Even when I lie" Al Pacino in 'Scarface'

          by F DUBYA on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 06:18:10 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  There's A Middle Ground (0+ / 0-)

          The United States does not permit enough legal immigration, especially among individuals who do not have college degrees.  Our current policies do not enourage assimilation.  You can't really set down roots, buy property, and build a family if you are here illegally.  

          When my grandparents came to America through Ellis Island, they did not need to worry about bribing people to get into the country.  All they needed to be was healthy and willing to work and able to raise enough money to get here in steerage on a ship.

          Although my mother and father could speak the language of their parents, I cannot--beyond a few rudimentatary words of Polish and Lithuainian.  

          •  I Guess.... (0+ / 0-)
            ....that living in a region where some of the best-paying jobs of 20 years ago have been so inundated with Hispanic immigrants that the rate of inflation-adjusted pay has dropped by more than 60%, I'm not sympathetic with the suggestion that there are NOT ENOUGH legal immigrants without college degrees being allowed into the country.  I'm of the mind that a more targeted legal immigration system that would produce more skilled labor in demanded fields (such as nursing) would be our best approach.  Swelling the ranks of drywallers, construction workers, and meatpackers accomplishes nothing but suppressing wages and expanding demand for increasingly scarce public services.

            On the other hand, I agree that greater assimilation would be desirable. Again though, that's gonna be hard to accomplish with the mindset that entire low-skill or semi-skill industries should be monopolized with "guest workers". That's what we're seeing now, and it's leading to a shadow subculture living on the edge of town completely isolated from the power centers of the community.  A scenario like this works great for the employers, but not great for the culture at large or the immigrant subculture.  There are no easy answers, but the conventional wisdom seems to be we can solve the problem by expanding it by legitimitizing even larger numbers of immigrant workers into an economic system that is already abusing them.

            •  Legalization Could Have Benefits (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Geenius at Wrok

              I am in the DC area.  I do not know how dire the situation may be in the Southwest (which I take it is where you are from).

              I am in favor of the approach taken in the Kennedy/McCain immigration legislation.  I think we do need to be able to rationalize our immigration policies.  We need to be able to control immigration and the workforce.

              A big problem that I have with HR 4437 is that it criminalizes too much, relies too much on fences, and criminal penalties against immigrants, but permits employers to hire up to 10 illegal aliens per year without penalty.  In addition, employers can be held liable for a criminal violation only if they have actual knowledge that an individual is here illegally.

              If more people were here legally, it would be harder to abuse them.  Kennedy/McCain would require immigrants here illegally to pay taxes, avoid criminal behavior, and pay substantial processing fees.  They would earn the right to stay here.  Not all immigrants would do this because many want to return to their home countries.

              •  Does Kennedy-McCain..... (0+ / 0-)
                ....embrace the idea of a "guest worker" system?  That would be the worst-case scenario from my perspective as it would create a permanent subculture of laborers recycled in and out of America's fields and factories without ever having the option of citizenship.  It would create an incentive for manufacturers to slash wages to the bone and then unilaterally redefine the jobs as "jobs Americans won't do" so they can qualify for access to guest workers.  Entire industries would be filled by immigrant employees who will never have voting rights.  That's taxation without representation, which is a form of slavery.

                Any immigration legislation that includes such a guest worker provision is assured of my disapproval.  If that's off the table in Kennedy-McCain, I'd certainly be willing to consider it.

                •  No (0+ / 0-)

                  Kennedy/McCain provides for earned legalization.  It does not provide for a guest worker program.

                  •  I Can Live With That..... (0+ / 0-)
                    I'm definitely in favor of earned legalization for as many immigrants as possible because I believe the lower-level working class is in dire need of political empowerment in this country.  However, I would definitely wish to add border control provisions and a more thorough distribution of legalized immigration.

                    While I certainly despair over the livelihoods of would-be immigrants stuck in Third World conditions south of the border, it's hard for me to accept that the solution can be found simply by shifting large number of them north of the Rio Grande without devastating consequences to our own economic and social fabric.  We were told NAFTA would solve this problem as jobs and wages in Mexico would soar and eliminate the need for poor Mexicans to emigrate.  The last I heard, wages were down by double digits since NAFTA was passed.  Guess that prediction was a complete miscalculation.

            •  Oops--See You Are From Minnesota (0+ / 0-)

              I know that a lot of the meatpackers have abused immigrant workers.  These used to be good union jobs.

              What happened to the unions?  Did younger people not want to work in meat packing?  Did the companies just get greedy?

              I grew up on a farm in Central Wisconsin.  I know that a lot of farmers now use immigrant labor on their farms (while my father used his six children as a dedicated work force).  Only one of my siblings farms. He is very stubborn and very hard working, and his wife was unhappy when he quit his agribusiness day job.

              •  Yes.... (0+ / 0-)
                ....I grew up in one of many Upper Midwestern meatpacking towns pillaged by the industry meltdown of the 1980s.  The transformation is very complicated, but it began with an industry shift out of the big cities (Chicago, Kansas City) into right-to-work law states in Nebraska and Kansas where unions were forbidden, wages were miserably low, and labor was imported from abroad.  This business model caught on fire in the 1970s and the old-line packers couldn't compete with the low wages and by the 1980s, all the old-line packers either tumbled or were swallowed up by the new packers paying their miserable wages, busting unions and filling the factories with immigrants.  To a large extent, the industry Wal-Martized.

                If the rates of pay hadn't been crushed through transfer of ownership in the meatpacking industry, young people would still be working there like their fathers and grandfathers did.  But since the pay has fallen so dramatically, the "jobs Americans won't do" meme has become a self-fulfilling prophesy.

                •  Union Busting (0+ / 0-)

                  Broke a lot of good jobs.  

                  I'm sure that the state legislatures were only too happy to oblige with right to work laws, tax breaks and other benefits, and that farmers thought that they might get a little more money if the packers got less.

                  In the end, both the farmers and the factory workers lost out (as did the states that enticed these plants).  I think it is pretty hard to blame this on the immigrants when it is the agribusinesses that are at fault.  

                  My dad was a union paper mill worker and also farmed.  He was a good Democrat who loved FDR, JFK, and HHH.  

                  •  I Agree... (0+ / 0-)
                    ...with everything you say here.  Especially the part about farmers cheering on the union-busting out of the belief they'd get a bigger piece of the end...yet ended up with an even smaller piece.  All of that happened.

                    And I don't blame the immigrants for the union-busting, but unfortunately there are plenty who do. Regardless of who is and isn't to blame, I'd like to see an immigration program that forced some workforce stability upon immigrant-heavy industries.  I can't accept the abuses that take place with the current revolving door system where high turnover is rewarded with new "warm bodies" whenever industry demands it.

            •  Those drywallers could unionize (0+ / 0-)

              and bring those wages back up if they were here legally. As illegals, they can't.

              "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk." --Ian McDonald

              by Geenius at Wrok on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 07:11:25 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, I do. (0+ / 0-)

          Moreover, I believe that it's an antidote to outsourcing. When labor is as mobile as capital, the imbalance of power isn't so bad.

          We're more likely to "return to the Upton Sinclair era" when the people working in the packinghouse analogues of today are here illegally and can't assert their rights.

          "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk." --Ian McDonald

          by Geenius at Wrok on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 07:09:44 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Jumping on the Bandwagon (0+ / 0-)


    Generally, the GOP is taking a HUGE hit due to immigration (among Hispanic voters), according to the Latin Coalition, a VERY CONSERVATIVE Hispanic group.

    Also, please note that the 2004 exit poll data was wrong.  NBC News had to come out weeks after the poll, and retract all the data they reported on election night.

    About 35% of Hispanics voted for the GOP in 2004, not materially different from 2000.  Anyone arguing otherwise is just prevaricating.

    Finally, with respect to McCain-Kennedy bill, I'm surprised not more DEM candidates have signed on.  On Univision and Telemundo, McCain has received very favorable press as a result of his advocacy.  Also, please note that many of the protestors hold "McCain-Kennedy" signs during the demonstrations.

    Unless a Democratic candidate jumps on the bandwagon, don't be surprised to see McCain get over 45% of the Hispanic vote in 2008.  It will be IMPOSSIBLE for a DEM to beat McCain without solid Hispanic support.

    •  But As My Figures Show.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hispanics are by far the least likely demographic of voters to go to the polls.  If the Dems obstruct immigration reform under the assumption that they will win over untold millions of Hispanic voters, they'll most likely learn the hard lesson that most of those Hispanics are non-citizens who won't be able to reward them at the polls. And that assumes that most Hispanics oppose immigration reform themselves.  

      Meanwhile, those who can vote want immigration reform...and the Dems risk alienating that majority, which would be an electoral disaster no matter which candidate that either party runs.

      Don't get me wrong.  In no way do I support immigration reform proposals that deny health care and education to immigrants.  The Dems have my wholehearted support in obstructing vicious measures like that no matter what the political consequences.  But if the Dems position themselves with Bush and cheap-labor conservatives in defense of a perpetual pipeline of immigrant labor, entrenching poverty wages and Third World working conditions in a rising percentage of working-class industries, count me out.

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