On Sunday, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin denounced the Senate’s immigration bill in an exclusive opinion piece for Breitbart News. One week before that, though, Palin laid out a promise and a warning to her own party in a speech to the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference in Washington, D.C. She said Americans do not deserve the exceptional country its founding fathers left them if they do not keep faith with the working class. And she said that that faith would be lost if the the Gang of Eight’s bill, passed by the Senate on Thursday, became law.
Her words are especially important as the immigration fight heads to the House, where Republican leaders have signaled they want “action” even if they do not take up the Senate bill.
At the Faith and Freedom Coalition, Palin said the voices of those in America’s working class “can reach millions of other patriots of all races, color, and creed who also value the dignity and opportunity of freedom.”
“They are the brave, having kept faith with everything we love about this land of the free,” Palin said. “And we will have no hope of reclaiming this country and we will deserve it even less if we fail to keep faith with them.”
Palin warned, “That is the message our leaders, especially those leaders in the GOP, need to understand…You do not marginalize, you do not discredit and dismiss everyday, average hard-working Americans.”
Not even 24 hours after Palin spoke, Ryan Lizza, a reporter for the liberal New Yorker magazine, revealed on June 16 that staff for Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), the leading face behind the push for “comprehensive immigration reform,” denigrated American workers, adopting the mentality of the donors and chamber of commerce fervently backing the immigration bill.
As Breitbart News wrote, two members of Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) staff disparaged American workers to Lizza, telling him there are American workers who “just can’t cut it” across “every sector.” Days later, a devastating Congressional Budget Office report concluded that the Senate’s immigration bill would lower wages and raise the unemployment rate in an economy that is nowhere near healthy.
On Tuesday, Palin fired back, specifically mentioning to Breitbart News that she would like to see Rubio (R-FL) and Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) primaried for turning their back on voters and supporting the Senate’s amnesty bill even though they promised they would put border security before amnesty while campaigning in 2010.
“Conservatives are getting ready for the 2014 and 2016 primaries. We have long memories, and there will be consequences for those who break campaign promises and vote for this amnesty bill,” Palin told Breitbart News. “Competition makes everyone work harder, be better, and be held accountable. This applies to politics, too. No one is ‘entitled’ to anything.”
She continued, “Rigorous debate in competitive primaries allows candidates the opportunity to explain their flip-flops. So think of contested primaries as a win-win for politicians and their voters.”
“Every politician should be held accountable for breaking their campaign promises,” Palin said to John Gibson on Fox News radio on Tuesday. “They turned their back on the American public, so why should they not be held accountable?”
Palin is leading the charge on immigration, but she is not alone. Talk radio host Rush Limbaugh has unmasked the motives of those behind the immigration bill last week, denouncing the “big money” donors, consultants, and the crony capitalists who just want an unending supply of cheap labor and do not care about America’s working class.
Rosemary Jenks, a Harvard Law graduate who is the director of government relations at Numbers USA, appeared on Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot channel 125 and said it was “frightening” that the immigration bill would replace “American workers with a whole new foreign workforce” by granting more green cards in 10 years than the country has awarded in the last forty years.
She said the elite who live in gated communities and want an influx of cheap labor will never have to worry about their jobs, crime, or sending their kids to public schools because they “don’t have to live in the same world that we do and face the impact of immigration on a daily basis.”
“Meanwhile, the upper middle classes in coastal cocoons enjoy the aristocratic privileges of having plenty of cheap household help, while having enough wealth not to worry about the social costs of illegal immigration in terms of higher taxes or the problems in public education, law enforcement, and entitlements,” Hanson wrote. “No wonder our elites wink and nod at the supposed realities in the current immigration bill, while selling fantasies to the majority of skeptical Americans.”
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), one of the most critical opponents of the immigration bill, noted that the bill would hurt working class Hispanics in addition to all working class Americans and the “poorest among us.” Sessions noted that according to the CBO report, the bill would have a devastating impact on wages of Americans looking for job security, and it would raise the unemployment rate while only solving 25% of the illegal immigration problem. He posited that between 30 million and 50 million workers will be added to the labor force in the next ten years, completely destroying the possibility of upward mobility of working class Americans of all backgrounds. Yet, Republican senators like Murkowski (R-AK), Rubio (R-FL), Ayotte (R-NH), McCain (R-AZ), and Graham (R-SC) voted for the final bill.
“Why would any Member of Congress want to vote for a bill at a time of high unemployment, falling wages?” Sessions asked on CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday.
The answer, as Palin emphasized, is because leadership in Washington, D.C. has morphed into a permanent political class that puts its own well-being and prerogatives first. At the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference, Palin denounced the current spate of Washington scandals as being part of a greater disease. She said neither party was immune because the “good ol’ boys in leadership on both sides of the aisle” perpetuate the problem.
Palin spoke about a government that “has grown so arrogant it thinks we work for it instead of it working for us.” And she denounced those in the permanent political class who have “religious faith in government and elitist disdain for the rights of We the People.”
Palin spoke glowingly of America’s working people: “I’ve met them. Been in their homes. They’ve been in mine,” Palin said at the conference. “I’ve served them moose chili and blueberry pie. They are the rock upon which we will build this new majority.”
As the documentary film “The Undefeated” chronicled, Palin has always been a citizen-politician, having started out in politics by running for city council, then becoming a mayor of her home town before being appointed as the chair of the Alaska Oil & Gas Conservation Commission, where she earned the respect of ordinary Alaskans by blowing the whistle on corruption in her own party. She then ultimately became Alaska’s reform-minded governor–after rocking the Alaska Republican political establishment in 2006 by defeating the incumbent Republican governor and former Alaska senator Frank Murkowski in the primary.
The former Republican vice presidential nominee reminded Republicans on Sunday in her Breitbart News piece that these working class Americans are the voters who, despite their dislike of Obama, sat out the 2012 election because they did not think Mitt Romney was one of them or would fight for them.
“These would be the same blue-collar working class voters of every ethnicity who chose to sit home in 2012 instead of turning out to vote in the swing states we needed to carry in order to stop Barack Obama’s promised ‘fundamental transformation’ of America,” Palin wrote. “I note this just as a helpful reminder to those who believe the hyperventilated new hype claiming that conservatives need to support this bill in order to win future elections. That’s 100% wrong.”
She’s right. As Byron York of the Washington Examiner noted, Romney would not have won the election even if he had won a mind-boggling 70% of the Hispanic vote (Obama won 71% of the Hispanic vote in 2012).
Yet, had 389,821 more working class voters in four states (149,298 in Virginia, 74,309 in Florida, 166,214 in Ohio and 39,643 in New Hampshire) turned out for Romney, he would have defeated Obama with 270 electoral votes to Obama’s 268.
“As Republicans think about how they can expand their voter base, the new data suggest that one of their biggest problems in the last presidential election was that so many less-educated whites sat home,” said Steven Camarota, the Center’s Director of Research and author of the report. “These voters, who have been hard hit by the recession, have traditionally supported Republicans. It seems likely that by supporting the Schumer-Rubio amnesty, GOP legislators would further alienate these voters.”
The study found that had Romney increased his share of the white vote by just three percentage points (59% to 62%), he would have won the popular vote.
For Republicans to win back the majority and the presidency, they need to win the so-called Reagan Democrats and a new generation of working class minorities who will have to become Reagan Democrats 2.0. They need to win over the father who got laid off from his manufacturing job and has a child who did everything society said to do–go to college, get a degree, find a decent-paying job in the technology industry–and now may meet the same fate his father did when the labor market is flooded with an influx of cheap immigrant labor brought to do jobs Americans supposedly do not want to do.
These Americans that the immigration bill most adversely impacts make up the backbone of this country and see in Washington a permanent political class who are against them and think they “can’t cut it.” They see in Palin, though, someone who fights for them because she simply “gets” it–and them.