Like David Corn and Byron York (video), I’m not really sure how the immigration debate will affect electoral politics. But Bill Kristol’s argument-by-anecdote that restrictionist “yahoos” are on the verge of “driving the party off a cliff” is pretty unconvincing. This part in particular:
[Vocal restrictionist] Virgil Goode has a safe GOP seat in Southside Virginia. He’s never run statewide. Last fall, the Republican gubernatorial candidate, Jerry Kilgore, tried to exploit illegal immigration by denouncing a local community that wanted to build a shelter that might accommodate some illegals. He lost, in a red state, a race he had been favored to win.
Kilgore is a singularly unimpressive politician, and his loss to Tim Kaine can hardly be explained solely by the immigration issue. Most critically, Kaine had the backing of his very popular predecessor, Mark Warner. By the way, immigration wasn’t the only issue that Kilgore tried to exploit; he attacked Kaine for opposing the death penalty, too. By Kristol’s logic, supporting capital punishment must be politically risky, too.
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