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March 19, 2013

Re: GOP Coalition

I understand many of Drew's points, but let's not get sloppy about what's going on. Far from being previously unified, the Republican Party is coming face to face with internal fractures that have existed for some time.

Drew writes:

I think it's fair to say that the GOP is "forcing" immigration reform on the party. Now, you can show me polls saying Republicans support immigration reform and amnesty but that's not what they ran on. You can't claim to have a mandate after you pull a bait and switch.

Sen. Paul has always been libertarianish on immigration. Today's announcement is no bait-and-switch. His acknowledgment that there will be at a minimum a path to legalization (but, let's be serious, eventual citizenship) is merely recognition that immigration reform has come around once again to be the issue of the day. (See also: McCain, John.)

Note, the GOP coalition has always been fractured on this issue, with the business and fiscal cons urging immigration reform of exactly the flavor Paul -- and Sen. Rubio, for that matter -- are urging. Paul's statement that he doesn't support eVerify or any other mechanism to allow businesses to ascertain the work eligibility of applicants has been favored by business leaders for decades.

The RNC's acknowledgement of this reality in its autopsy report is recognition of electoral fact: voters do not want to deport millions of people. The only fight left is to figure out how to treat them since they're staying.

As for the party line on gay marriage, neither Priebus, nor the autopsy report, said Republicans who want to protect the traditional definition of marriage "have got to go."

Drew writes:

On same-sex marriage, Republicans who actually bother to vote in primaries and in most referendums have voted to protect the traditional definition of marriage. Yet now the party is saying, sorry, that's gotta go.

What Priebus said was that the party wouldn't kick out candidates who stray from that position. He also said the party wouldn't kick out those who believe they're defending marriage. The RNC's statement is inclusive, rather than exclusionary.

Sen. Paul's proposal to simply get government out of the marriage business was similar. And Sen. Rubio's resort to the federalism defense -- "let each state decide for itself" -- was like-minded recognition that the issue is killing us with young voters. An astonishing 81 percent of 18-29 year-olds support gay marriage. Even 51 percent of Republicans that age support gay marriage. Maybe a little inclusiveness won't hurt.

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posted by Gabriel Malor at 12:46 PM

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