Cultural Revolutions

Proposition 200

Proposition 200, a measure requiring that applicants for state benefits and state suffrage show proof of eligibility for these privileges, was adopted in Arizona on November 2, 2004, by 56 percent of the total vote and 47 percent of the Hispanic portion of it.  This happened in the face of opposition from the Democratic governor of the state; Arizona’s mostly Republican congressional delegation; its two GOP Senators; and the Arizona Chamber of Commerce.  In Colorado, Mr. Immigration Reform—Rep. Tom Tancredo—easily won election to a fourth congressional term by taking 60 percent of the vote.  A few days after the election, the Bush administration, claiming to have won 44 percent of the Hispanic vote (up from 35 percent in 2000, spokesmen insisted), announced that it was set to hoist its long-derailed amnesty plan back onto the tracks and open the throttle.

“Fate leads the willing but drives the stubborn,” said Seneca.  The more psephologists study the election returns, the less likely it appears that exit polls were actually correct in the 44-percent estimate.  Even if, in the end, they prove to have been correct, however, the import of what they have to tell us is that 56 percent of Hispanic voters voted against George W. Bush—the same percentage, exactly, of all voters who voted for Proposition 200 in Arizona.  A bird in the hand is supposed to be worth two...

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