Three Republican Senators up for re-election this year, Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Susan Collins (Maine) and Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) voted for the bipartisan immigration reform bill despised by the anti-immigrant right-wing. And as of last night’s victory by Sen. Alexander, all three won their Republican primaries.
Thankfully, this fact was noted by the Washington Post today. Yet the overall media coverage of the immigration triumph pales in the comparison to the media scapegoating of immigration — and the subsequent Republican panic — when House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his primary, despite the lack of evidence that immigration was the cause.
If Speaker John Boehner hadn’t panicked after the Cantor loss June, and hadn’t announced in the same month he wouldn’t hold an immigration reform vote, Obama wouldn’t have announced his plans to move forward on an executive order, the panic would have subsided, and Boehner would have a freer hand to pursue a compromise.
Instead, he got boxed into holding a vote to deport young immigrants who have been raised in America and have no connection to their birth country, deeply damaging the GOP’s goal of attracting new Latino voters under its banner.
Perhaps rational Republicans can still recognize how Alexander, Collins and Graham suffered no consequences from doing the right thing, and know that in the future, they can still vote to end the scourge of the underground economy and position the Republican Party to compete for the growing Latino vote, without losing their jobs.