Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who has pushed comprehensive amnesty legislation as a “Gang of Eight” member, is trying to advance the notion that a Republican cannot win the White House without supporting comprehensive amnesty legislation.
He even suggested that pro-amnesty 2016 Republican presidential candidates former Florida Governor like Jeb Bush ignore voters in Iowa (home of conservative stalwart Rep. Steve King) and entirely skip the first-in-the-nation nominating caucuses to avoid having his pro-amnesty views scrutinized.
In an interview with the Daily Beast, Flake reportedly called Iowa’s first-in-the-nation status on the presidential primary calendar “one of the very unfortunate parts of the presidential primary structure for Republicans” because “often we spend so much time trying to win Iowa we can’t win the rest of the states.” According to the Beast, Flake “advised pro-immigration reform Republican candidates such as former Gov. Jeb Bush to just skip the state.”
“Some people skip Iowa. That’s not unheard of. McCain basically did… It’s tough to take positions in Iowa that don’t play as well in New Hampshire. So some candidates may just say, ‘hey, we’ll skip it and move on,’” Flake told the outlet. “And frankly a lot of Republicans appreciate those who come there and say, I’m sorry, I just don’t agree with Steve King… or other voices on this issue.”
Flake, like many establishment Republicans and lawmakers who want comprehensive amnesty legislation, thinks the only way the GOP can appeal to Hispanics is to pass an comprehensive immigration bill.
“If we don’t address immigration reform, we’ll find it very difficult, as Republicans, to win national office,” he told the outlet. “We’re a major political party. We’re expected to have a rational approach on these big issues. And on immigration the party as a whole I don’t think has had a very rational approach. But we can’t avoid that now. We’re in charge of the House and the Senate.”
According to the Beast, Flake also indicated that “he had no interest in aggressively opposing” Obama’s executive amnesty. Like most Republicans who want amnesty legislation, he also tried to spin that former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) did not lose his primary last June because of his pro-amnesty views even though reports from on the ground and post-election polling proved otherwise. Flake accused House Republicans who got the message and shelved pro-amnesty legislation after Dave Brat shocked Cantor of misreading what the election was about.
“It was an errant reading of the election results in Cantor’s case, but whatever the case it scared enough Republicans away from it that we never got to it,” Flake spun, trying to cling to the false narrative that Cantor did not lose because of immigration even though most of the race centered around the issue.
Republican leaders, many of whom–like Flake–believe the only way the GOP can win the White House is by passing massive amnesty legislation, are reportedly readying a series of potential gateway bills in the next Congress. But studies in the New York Times and the Washington Post have found that Republicans can win the White House in 2016 and beyond without supporting amnesty legislation.