John McCain is back in the news. The media is exulting that "The Straight Talk Express Is Back" because McCain has taken to denouncing members of his own party as "wacko birds" and to carrying water for Obama in the Senate. As bad as Obama has been, America is probably fortunate that McCain never made it to the White House. He would have given us most of what Obama has, and likely gotten us into wars in Iran and Syria and who knows where else. One of McCain's few criticisms of Obama is that we are not doing enough to aid the jihadists hoping to topple the Assad regime in Syria, whom Obama has decided to aid even though they are killing and kidnapping Christians. We also now know that McCain wanted Joe Lieberman to be his running mate, a choice that would have made clear that McCain was no conservative but interested only in embroiling America in more ruinous foreign wars.
McCain was instrumental in getting the Senate to pass the disastrous immigration bill, and he is now trying to convince Republicans in the House to drop their opposition and give millions of illegal immigrants a "pathway to citizenship" and a chance to vote, a chance the vast majority of them would use to vote for Democrats. McCain warns that "If we fail on immigration reform, it won't matter who our nominee is because of the polarization of the Hispanic vote." Unsurprisingly, McCain doesn't know what he's talking about. Despite many years of advocating immigration policies that would make La Raza proud, Obama trounced McCain among Hispanic voters. Most Hispanics vote for the Democrats because they believe they benefit from Big Government and they also believe that the Democrats are the more reliable provider of Big Government, not because of immigration.
And an analysis of the 2012 results by Sean Trende shows that the principal reason that Romney lost was because white voter turnout was down. According to Trende, the white voters who didn't show up in 2012 tended to be the type of voters who went for Perot in 1992. To win those voters back, Trende writes that the GOP "would have to be more 'America first' on trade, immigration and foreign policy; less pro-Wall Street and big business in its rhetoric; more Main Street/populist on economics." In other words, the GOP would have to be more like Pat Buchanan, and less like Mitt Romney or John McCain. More recently, as Steve Sailer notes, Trende stated that the GOP could have done three things to win a majority of the popular vote in 2012: increase its share of the white vote by 3 percentage points, increase its share of the black vote by 16 percentage points, or increase its share of the Hispanic vote by 21 percentage points. The first task means winning the same share of the white vote Nixon and Reagan did; the third task means winning a share of the Hispanic vote no Republican presidential candidate has ever done.
The principal failing of the Republican Party in recent years has been the refusal to support policies that help most of its voters and the support of policies that harm those voters and even the party's long-term prospects. McCain's loud support for mass immigration and his eagerness to help Barack Obama illustrate these failings to a T.
Thomas Piatak is a contributing editor to Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He writes from Cleveland, Ohio.