I've been holding an article for a while now, unable to find the best place to address it, but other news keeps seeming to take priority. However I've finally found that spot. On Labor Day, as Trump takes another step to appeal to his racist base by ending the DACA program, I think it's especially appropriate to note that over the past decade, unauthorized immigrants have put $100 BILLION from wages into Social Security. This is according to a fellow named Stephen Goss, who it turns out is the chief actuary of the Social Security Administration, and so he probably has a reasonable sense of what he's talking about.
Mr. Goss also explains in this article that not only have unauthorized immigrants put this $100 BILLION into Social Security, but -- because they aren't legal residents -- they tend to use fake Social Security cards. Which means that unlike all other Americans, they aren't getting any of the Social Security back, and "it is unlikely that they will be able to benefit from their contributions later in life.". Their contribution all stays with the government and helps keep the program solvent.
Well, hey, getting rid of all that sounds fiscally responsible!
There's quite an interesting dynamic at play here that hasn't gotten much attention. Several decades ago, the Hispanic population was conservative and solidly Republican. But in only about a generation, the xenophobic anti-immigrant agenda of the GOP has not only lessened that margin, but actually turned it around, end-for-end. In the 2016 presidential election, Hispanics voted for the Democratic party over Republican by a vast margin of 66-28%. This is virtually the same as the previous two elections.
Given the Republican Party's push to build a wall intended to keep Mexicans out of the United States, and the hate-filled things their party leader said about Mexicans during the campaign without contradiction by the GOP, increasingly aggressive deportations, support of white supremacists, and now ending the DACA program, it's hard to imagine that this percentage of Hispanic votes for Democrats won't now skyrocket. In fact, thanks to fear, anger and concern, one can see it push towards the near-unanimous levels that the Black population now votes for Democrats over Republicans. In 2016, that number was 88%-8%.
Indeed, with the Republican Party manic anti-minority agenda, we are getting to the point where the GOP will be getting few votes from America's Black and Hispanic population. How ghastly is that?? (And by the way, that massive a division is ghastly for any American to consider, even Democrats. Though at least they benefit from it, and can help bring the nation's traditional melting-pot dynamic to their ranks.)
But it's even more ghastly for Republicans than these numbers seem on the surface, and the numbers seem awfully ghastly. Because these numbers are only percentages. What they don't say is that the Hispanic vote is the fastest-growing group in the United States. Keep in mind, having only 10% of the followers of Zoroaster in not a big problem for a major political party. But only having 10% of a massive group that is growing bigger and faster than any other demographic in the country...that's a problem. A huge one.
And you wonder why so many Republican politicians in Congress were freaked out when it became clear that Trump would likely end the DACA program. In fairness, that was in part because they actually knew it was a horrendous idea -- financially and humanely. But they also know that that sucking sound you could hear was the Republican Party going down the drain, as it waves goodbye..
The one saving grace for the GOP is that, as mentioned, many in the House and Senate have already broken with Trump on the mere thought that he might do something as thoughtless and heartless as ending the DACA program. If that break increases, while it won't stop the move of Hispanics to the Democratic party, since Republican actions and those of its leader are too well-established, it at least holds the possibility of the party stemming the total rush to Democrats. The bad news for Trump is that this would signal the critical break of the elected party with him and open the door wide for those in line to vote on impeachment and conviction, as you see Trump wave goodbye.
It's uncertain what efforts and challenges will be made to keep the DACA program alive. What's not uncertain is that Trump just mucked up his party for the sole reason of placating the 15% of racists who adore him.
Happy Labor Day.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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