This story is going to pose problems for the Republican party in the short and long term — in a specific race, and overall:

A California Republican’s congressional campaign went into meltdown Thursday after he said a staff member was responsible for sending thousands of letters to new voters with Hispanic surnames telling them — wrongly — that it is illegal for them to vote if they are immigrants.

Tan Nguyen, the GOP candidate for California’s 47th District, said in a statement that a staff member had sent the letters without his knowledge and has since been fired. Nguyen, himself an immigrant from Vietnam, has focused his campaign on keeping illegal immigrants
out of the country, a deeply felt issue in suburban Orange County.

Honestly: this site and others are not picking on the GOP. It’s just that seldom in recent political history has there been such a seeming meltdown in key individual races and on a national scale as we’re seeing now.

The GOP’s meltdown is becoming so graphic that Al Gore may soon do a documentary about it.

The problem with this latest bit of bad news is that Republicans in California are still reeling over problems with Hispanic voters stemming from Republican Governor Pete Wilson’s term. They are disinclined to vote Republican, unless it’s for Arnold Schwarzenegger who has rapidly reconstituted the coalition that put him in office during the recall. MORE:

Tan Nguyen, who is challenging Rep. Loretta Sanchez in Orange County, said a staff member sent the letters without his knowledge

“The mailer was flawed and ill-conceived,” Nguyen’s statement said. “I will do whatever I can in the weeks before the election to encourage all citizens in this district to exercise the most important of their democratic privileges.”

The Orange County Republican Party immediately called for Nguyen to withdraw from the race. He will hold a news conference today.

Why?

Because the GOP is also reeling over the larger debate over immigration policy, a debate that has split the GOP itself. Many Hispanic voters are irked at the Republican hard liners for stressing border enforcement while saying they want to delay adjusting the status of some illegal aliens/undocumented workers (pick your phrase of choice) who are already here. They believe “delay” means never get to it.

President George Bush and his political guru Karl Rove have made no secret over the fact that one of their long range goals was to expand and solidify support for the Republican party among Hispanic voters — a goal sandbagged by conservative GOPers’ handling of the immigration issue.

If sandbags had been used so effectively in New Orleans last year, George Bush would have been hailed for his handling of Hurricane Katrina.

This bogus letter now gives ammunition to those Democrats and Hispanics (particularly Hispanic political activists) who say the Republicans can’t be trusted — even though the letter appears to be the act of one person and not part of some big conspiracy (as most people seemingly know, Karl Rove may be too busy planning his October surprise…:)

Written in Spanish, the letters advise recently registered voters that it is a crime for those in the country illegally to vote in a federal election, which is true. They also say, falsely, that immigrants may not vote and could be jailed or deported for doing so, that the federal government has a new computer system to verify voter names, and that anti-immigration organizations can access the records.

As many as 14,000 letters were sent in the district, now represented by Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D). The letterhead identified them as coming from the California Coalition for Immigration Reform.

The group denied responsibility, and California Attorney General Bill Lockyer launched an investigation into possible violations of two state laws that prohibit intimidation to suppress voting. On a radio program, Lockyer confirmed that his office was focused on a Republican congressional candidate.

Sanchez said she has called for a federal probe into possible violations of the Voting Rights Act. “We would like to find who did this and have them prosecuted,” she said.

Local Republicans have largely ignored the race, though Sanchez’s seat is not normally considered safely Democratic. The district narrowly went for President Bush in 2004.

The bottom line: a lot about this affair remains murky except that it’s clear there is not some high-level Republican party plot behind it.

Another undeniable fact: it’s a “dirty trick” of incredible stupidity that will have Democrats rubbing their hands with political glee.

Because in the end the Democrats got something priceless: a widely covered news story suggesting that someone who is a Republican wanted to lie to Hispanic voters to suppress their votes — to keep them from voting Democratic.

So just guess who many of these voters will vote for as a result of this letter?

Even worse, even though it’s the act of one person, it adds yet ANOTHER news story and ANOTHER “high concept” image of the Republican party seemingly being less about values and principles and being concerned with one goal above all else: to get and retain power at all costs.

Unfair? That’s almost irrelevant. The operative problem is this:

With three weeks to go before elections this is the kind of imagery the GOP in California and nationally doesn’t want — especially during a year when most Hispanic voters are already poised to vote for Democrats and shatter the Bush/Rove dream of adding the rapidly growing Hispanic population to the Republican coalition.

JOE GANDELMAN, Editor-In-Chief
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Rambie
Guest
Rambie
9 years 11 months ago

What is ironic is that Candidate Nguyen is himself an immigrant. Also I read this morning, “Numerous political leaders including Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger have denounced it and called for the investigations.� LINK That was late last night before this latest news broke, it’s nice to see this moving quickly.

Tommy
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Tommy
9 years 11 months ago
delay adjusting the status of some illegal aliens/undocumented workers (pick your phrase of choice) Adjusting the status? You mean amnestizing these people for breaking our immigration laws and rewarding them (and their relatives back in their home countries, ultimately) citizenship to boot? That is the most tame way of putting it I’ve ever heard. While I don’t approve of this stupid message, I have to say that the way Dems have courted the fradulent illegal immigrant vote over the years in California has been a far more serious concern for me than this idiotic message. I find it especially ironic… Read more »
Enna
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Enna
9 years 11 months ago

RYC Rambie: The important fact about Candidate Nguyen is that he is a LEGAL IMMIGRANT NOT AN ILLEGAL. That’s the most important part about him! If the DEMS take over, it will be the beginning of the end of USA. Look forward to another THIRD WORLD COUNTRY! RYC Tommy: You have made some very important observations/comments! LOW IQ, SLAVE/SERVANT LABOR, &A SOCIALISTIC/COMMUNISTIC SOCIETY! SCARY FUTURE AHEAD OF US!!

IllegalImmigrationIntroduction
Guest
9 years 11 months ago
I don’t know why I keep reading the old prop 187 canards here, but I do. And, obviously, the idea that you either support something approaching open borders or risk losing the mythical “Hispanic_vote” is a false choice. Many polls and votes have shown that there are other choices, but oddly few seem able to mention them. And, the claim that Bush is trying to reach out to_Hispanics needs a much deeper analysis, such as a discussion of his campaign_video that includes reconquista_sentiments. And, it would also follow the money. And, it would discuss the pictures of foreign_flags that Bush… Read more »
Joe
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Joe
9 years 11 months ago
Pete Wilson was someone I admired. I worked on the San Diego Union as a reporter when he moved to the Senate and had the pleasure of interviewing him for a short report. Then when I went to Washington and took my Little Brother in the Big Brother program there as our big trip, Pete Wilson’s right hand man, advisor and former Union reporter Otto Bos met us and took us to lunch in the Senate Dining Room. Wilson briefly said hello. When Bos died (very suddenly at an early age), Wilson turned right much as Schwarzenegger turned a bit… Read more »
Tommy
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Tommy
9 years 11 months ago
The problem with the “Hispanic vote” argument is (a) Hispanics generally vote Democratic even when Republicans pander to them (and when Republicans do get a sizable portion of the Hispanic vote it is only because they’ve moved very far to the left on issues like social programs, thus largely defeating the purpose of voting Republican entirely) and (b) Hispanics don’t vote nearly in proportion to their numbers. As a result, turning off reliable white anti-immigration voters by pandering to Hispanics has frequently been more damaging to Republicans than alienating the small number of would-be Republican Hispanics. In the long-term, by… Read more »
Tommy
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Tommy
9 years 11 months ago

Boo-boo, I meant to say that Pete Wilson didn’t doom the GOP (not himself). Failing to connect to whites is what is dooming the GOP in California, not alienating the Mexicans.

Ryan
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Ryan
9 years 11 months ago
I keep wondering one thing about this whole debate. How is not supporting amnesty actually going to hurt a politician with the immigrant vote? Remembering that illegal immigrants, who are the only ones who will benefit by this, can’t vote, how is a politician going to hurt him or herself by not supporting amnesty? All supporting amnesty will do politically is give you the potential of a few more votes…if/when amnesty gets passed. In the meantime, legal immigrants – those with the right to vote right now – may vote against you if you support amnesty. Why? Because, by supporting… Read more »
LaurenceB
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LaurenceB
9 years 11 months ago

Ryan,
To answer your question, take a quick look at the previous comments. You will notice (racist) rants about the IQ of hispanics, accusations that hispanic immigration will lead the U.S. to become a third-world nation, etc. Now ask yourself: “Are these arguments being made in opposition to illegal immigration or to all immigration?” There’s your answer.

The fact of the matter is that the anti-illegal-immigration folks slide pretty easily into full-blown anti-legal-immigration mode. Don’t they?

Ryan
Guest
Ryan
9 years 11 months ago

Laurence, that’s a generalization that it should be obvious to see doesn’t hold true any more than “anything other than stay the course is cut and run” based on one simple fact: many legal immigrants are anti-illegal immigration.

The fact is that there is a very vocal minority of anti-illegal immigration people who are anti-legal immigration. However, there are a lot of anti-illegal immigration proponents who simply don’t want people who broke the law to be treated better than those who worked hard to follow the law.

LaurenceB
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LaurenceB
9 years 11 months ago

Of course you are right that there are many anti-illegal immigration people who are not anti-legal-immigration. And of course I am right that there are many anti-illegal-immigration folks who are anti-legal immigration (or just plain racist). See the comments above for examples.

But the fact that I am right (which you don’t dispute) explains quite clearly while legal immigrants tend to take the position they take. Which is the answer to your original question.

Rudi
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Rudi
9 years 11 months ago

It’s great that VDare is now has a forum at TMV. When will the NationalVandgard get on the bloggroll?

Tommy
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Tommy
9 years 11 months ago

Rudi,

It’s great that VDare is now has a forum at TMV. When will the NationalVandgard get on the bloggroll?

VDARE is not National Vanguard. Please don’t be ridiculous.

aphrael
Guest
9 years 11 months ago
Failing to connect to whites is what is dooming the GOP in California, not alienating the Mexicans. Do you have statistcs to back that up? That doesn’t jibe with my sense of the situation, which is that, outside the liberal coastal counties, the GOP gets the overwhelming majority of the white male vote in California and a smaller majority of the white female vote. It is well documented in California politics that hispanic registration went up dramatically in the two years after 1994, and that — except for Schwarzenegger, who is an outlier — they vote overwhelmingly for Democrats. It’s… Read more »
Tommy
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Tommy
9 years 11 months ago
How is not supporting amnesty actually going to hurt a politician with the immigrant vote? For some, it isn’t just the amnesty, it is also the possibility of allowing more family from Mexico to come live in the United States. Many Mexican-American citizens may be opposed to amnesties in principle, but the issue isn’t a hot button with them either way. Those other reasons, provided for in the links from my second post, are the real reasons why Mexicans do not and will not vote Republican, even when presented with such a pro-Hispanic Republican like George Bush. The philosophy of… Read more »
Tommy
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Tommy
9 years 11 months ago
Do you have statistcs to back that up? Please read the article hyperlinked to the word “myth” in that post you refer to? It provides plenty of numerical evidence such as this fact: It’s often said that angry Latinos made subsequent Republican candidates pay for Wilson’s sins, but where are the numbers? According to the Census Bureau, California Hispanics cast 11.4 percent of the vote in 1994 and 13.9 percent in 1998. In both elections, the Republican gubernatorial candidate won 23 percent of the Hispanic vote, so the celebrated Latino “tidal wave of angerâ€? accounted for less than a tenth… Read more »
Ryan
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Ryan
9 years 11 months ago
But the fact that I am right (which you don’t dispute) explains quite clearly while legal immigrants tend to take the position they take. What position would that be? As I stated, of the several legal immigrants I know, only one supports any type of amnesty. The rest support enforcement measures without amnesty or any amnesty-like provisions. I know this is just anecdotal but it suggests that legal immigrants, some of whom are the only immigrants who have the right to vote now, might actually support politicians who supported enforcement measures while opposing those who support amnesty. Well, if they… Read more »
ImmigrationMarchOrganizersHaveForeignLinks
Guest
How is not supporting amnesty actually going to hurt a politician with the immigrant vote? Because we’ve allowed massive illegal immigration and because of the long-standing (and probably incorrect) interpretation of the 14th_Amendment leading to anchor_babies, there are many “mixed_status” families. A voter may have illegal_aliens in the family. And, there’s also the racial_solidarity angle which, if you actually look into this subject is quite significant and is played to by racial_demagogues. And, it’s similar to other ethnic_nationalistic movements in some ways. And, we’ve even got our own version of_Quislings. As for Wilson, he paid a price a) for mistakes… Read more »
aphrael
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9 years 11 months ago
That’s a slightly odd statistic, don’t you think? How would the Census Bureau know what percentage of the vote was cast by which ethnic group? That’s usually information, in California at least, which comes from something like the Field Poll; and the Census Bureau is certainly not known for stationing people outside of polling places asking them questions. Field’s review of the 1996 election says that Hispanic voting percentages increased from 7% of the electorate in 1988 to 10% in 1992 to 11% in 1996 (which does suggest that there was little to no post-1994 increase). It also showed that… Read more »
aphrael
Guest
9 years 11 months ago

Some data on the vote on Proposition 187, from The Field Poll:

* The electorate as a whole voted 50-41.
* Support was strongest in the North of the state (68-32) and weakest in the Bay Area (45-55)
* White men voted for it 64-36. White women voted for it 59-41. Latinos voted against it 27-73. Blacks voted for it 52-48, as did Asians.

Jim S
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Jim S
9 years 11 months ago

The Karl Rove School of Campaign Management strikes again.

Rambie
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Rambie
9 years 11 months ago
Enna: Rambie: The important fact about Candidate Nguyen is that he is a LEGAL IMMIGRANT NOT AN ILLEGAL. That’s the most important part about him! If the DEMS take over, it will be the beginning of the end of USA. Enna, what is ironic is a LEGAL IMMIGRANT apparently authorized a message to be sent out to SUPPRESS VOTES yes, EVEN FROM OTHER LEGAL IMMIGRANTS. Also, don’t just assume that I support illegal immigration. I thought President Bush’s amnesty program was a terrible idea, so don’t talk to me about doom-and-gloom about the Dems when Rebuplicans are also pushing something… Read more »
AustinRoth
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AustinRoth
9 years 11 months ago

I propose a new Law, Roth’s Law, which is a variation of Godwin’s law.

As an online discussion of politics grows longer, the probability of a conspiracy involving Karl Rove being mentioned approaches one.

Tommy
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Tommy
9 years 11 months ago

That’s a slightly odd statistic, don’t you think? How would the Census Bureau know what percentage of the vote was cast by which ethnic group?

No, it isn’t. The Census Bureau certainly keeps stats on how many Hispanics voted in a given year versus how many didn’t. Go on over there and look around.

The numbers he cites for that particular issue probably come from a different study. However, the number of actual voters in a given year are certainly tracked by the Census Bureau.

You can email Sailer if you wish to find out more.

Tommy
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Tommy
9 years 11 months ago
Their review of the 1998 election says that Hispanic voting percentages increased from 10% of the electorate to 13% in 1994 of the electorate in 1998, which is a *substantial* jump. It was a miniscule percentage of the vote that hurt Republicans, however. Again, the primary thing that hurt Republicans in California was the inability to attract white voters. That “substantial” jump accounted for less than 1/10 of the total difference between Wilson and Lungren. In the long-term, by continuing to do nothing to stem the tide of illegal immigration, Republicans are guaranteeing not only their own permanent minority status… Read more »
Enna
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Enna
9 years 11 months ago
RYC RAMBIE: Enna, what is ironic is a LEGAL IMMIGRANT apparently authorized a message to be sent out to SUPPRESS VOTES yes, EVEN FROM OTHER LEGAL IMMIGRANTS. WHAT IS MORONIC AND SIMPLED-MINDED…IS THAT THE PUBLIC IS CRUFIFYING HIM BECAUSE OF THE STANCE HE’S TAKING. DO YOU OR THE PUBLIC ALREADY HAVE PROOF THAT HE WAS THE ONE WHO AUTHORIZED THE LETTER?? WHAT HAPPEN TO “THE INVESTIGATION AND DUE PROCESS?” IS THE MEDIA THE COURT TRYING HIM?? THAT IS SO TYPICAL OF LIBERALS AND DEMS. CONTROLLING THE MEDIA AND MANIPULATING THE SOCALLED NEWS? I FEEL LIKE IM LIVING IN RUSSIA READING… Read more »
Enna
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Enna
9 years 11 months ago
THIS IS TO ALL SIDES OF THE PARTIES WHETHER IT’S REPUBLICANS OR DEMOCRATS…GOVERNMENT IS TURNING A BLIND EYE TO THE ILLEGALS FOR A SPECIFIC REASON. THEY WANT OUR COUNTRY TO BE A COUNTRY OF THE MASSES. WHERE THE GOVERNMENT WILL MANIPULATE THE COMMON PEOPLE FOR THEIR PURPOSES. JUST WAIT AND SEE…THE ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS ARE JUST THE START BECAUSE WHEN THEIR ANCHOR BABIES GROW UP UP AND CAN VOTE, THEY WILL BE BRAINE-WASHED JUST LIKE THEIR PARENTS AND WILL BE PLAYED BY THE GOVERNMENT. LOOK AT OUR NATION’S SCHOOL NOW…IDIOTS BEING CHURNED OUT BY OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS. SO THEY CAN BE… Read more »
a
Guest
9 years 11 months ago

I agree with Lawrence, the people who write in capital letters that they are against ILLEGAL immingration and not against immigration that is legal are just throwing a smokescreen. They are at heart xeonophopes. There is no rational reason to be so upset about someone’s documentation. Plenty of people break laws in this country — paying less taxes, drinking under age, supplying to minors, hunting without a permit, drinving uninspected vehnicles, breaking noise laws, drinving under the influence, you name it. That they single out one small detail in documentation is just an excuse to let fly at Latinos.

Enna
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Enna
9 years 11 months ago
Rowing eyes @ a! So I guess LAWLESSNESS is acceptable?! So you think so nonchalantly!! So it’s OK to break laws?? I don’t care what RACE-Latinos, Blacks, Asians, Aliens from Mars! I think people with such a low level thinking is what going brings this country down…NO MORAL AND ETHICS! It is so WRONG to justify paying less taxes, drinking underage, supplying to minors, hunting without a permit, breaking noise, and driving under the influence, etc. are ALL ILLEGAL!! THEY ALL DO COME WITH CONSEQUENCES: FINES AND JAIL TIME!!So should ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION.. And it doesn’t matteR on a specific race…it… Read more »
Enna
Guest
Enna
9 years 11 months ago
Let me begin by answering all the political figures, including the Chairman of the Orange County Republican Party- Scott Baugh, and their ridiculous call my withdrawal. I am innocent…and there is NO WAY IN HELL I AM QUITING THIS RACE. Mr. Scott Baugh, like many people this week, has made a rush to judgment and without all the facts. I find it incredible that he didn’t even call me, to get my side of the story, or didn’t even wait for the result of this so called investigation. THERE HAS BEEN NO CRIME COMMITTED, SO WHY IS THERE A CRIMINAL… Read more »
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