For once, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is honest about immigration.
In a week when the liars who lie about immigrants and foreigners were louder than ever, Patrick was stunningly truthful in one comment to local radio show host Mark Davis.
Explaining why he leads Republican Donald Trump’s Texas presidential campaign, Patrick said Democrat Hillary Clinton would have people “coming from all over the world.”
“It will be very tough, Mark, to actually elect a Republican again to the White House.”
Gosh. Glad to see Patrick finally say that his border-hawk immigration position is really all about politics, not good policy, or faith, or doing what’s right.
Forget that. It’s about winning.
And, “that’s nonsense,” said Jim Hollifield, director of the John G. Tower Center for Political Studies at Southern Methodist University and a scholar on the politics of immigration.
“Lots of immigrants are natural Republicans.”
“These things go in cycles,” Hollifield said. “When Republicans were very anti-immigration … [they] lost that electorate for two or three generations.”
Patrick is not only poisoning honest discussion.
He is also promoting the Great Conspiracy Theory: that Democrats want more foreigners to come vote Democrat.
That might make sense if many Middle Eastern refugees weren’t conservative Muslims opposed to gay rights or abortion, or if Latino immigrants weren’t such strong faith-and-family Roman Catholics.
Tim O’Hare, now the Tarrant County Republican Party chairman, took Patrick’s side. (As mayor of Farmers Branch, O’Hare lost a $7 million legal fight to prevent rentals to immigrants here illegally.)
O’Hare emailed: “I have no doubt Democrat immigration policy is about winning.”
SMU professor Matt Wilson put the blame on both parties for “political self-interest.”
“In the short to medium term,” he emailed, “immigrants tend to lean Democratic … Continued high rates of immigration could cement Democratic dominance for years.”
But University of Houston professor Brandon Rottinghaus wrote that Patrick is “likely wrong” and just stirring voters.
“Immigration to the state alone won’t turn Texas ‘blue,’ ” he emailed. (Foreign-born residents don’t swing elections, and mostly don’t vote.)
“Immigration is the hot coal Republican politicians use to flare up the [voting] base every time,” Rottinghaus wrote.
Yet Trump and Patrick still draw independent voters with the claims, he wrote: “It doesn’t matter what reality is — discussion of the issue is enough to prime Republicans.”
In Texas, Republicans’ biggest challenge in future elections is really Democratic migration from California, Florida or Illinois.
But Patrick is walled off from reality.