We’ve been discussing the implications of the decline and fall of the California Republican Party here at Calitics in recent days – they have made themselves unelectable because their base hates 21st century reality, demanding white supremacy and destruction of the public sector despite the fact that a diverse population wants neither. Because of this, the CA GOP will struggle to win statewide elections, leading the corporate elite to bypass the GOP and forcing progressives to step up and ensure that Democratic majorities deliver for the base.
The most likely outcome of this is a state politics that looks like SF or LA, where statewide elections are contested between the left and a pro-corporate center, with the right-wing at the fringes of statewide politics, winning some races at the local and legislative/Congressional level but nothing more.
So how is the right-wing going to deal with their impending marginalization? By coming back to reality, embracing the diversity of 21st century California and the public’s desire to have strong public services?
Heh, no, don’t be ridiculous. Instead they plan to construct a 21st century Jim Crow, stemming the demographic tide that is swamping their movement by undermining the Constitution:
As one of its first acts, the new Congress will consider denying citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants who are born in the United States.
…The idea has a growing list of supporters, including Republican Reps. Tom McClintock of Elk Grove and Dan Lungren of Gold River, but it has aroused intense opposition, as well.
This is a straightforward violation of the 14th Amendment, which explicitly states that anyone born in the United States is a citizen. These right-wingers are claiming they can violate the Constitution because, somehow, children born to undocumented immigrants aren’t “subject to the jurisdiction” of the US. I’m guessing that means McClintock and Lungren also believe that the undocumented aren’t subject to other federal laws, including deportation?
The attack on the 14th Amendment is motivated by a desire to prevent more Latinos from becoming citizens, and therefore give the California right a chance at avoiding permanent marginalization. It’s especially offensive when you realize why the 14th Amendment was enacted in the first place.
At the end of the Civil War, with the abolition of slavery, the Democratic Party in the South sought to cling to power by preventing the African-American population from exercising their right to vote – where that right was exercised, Republicans were elected to govern Southern states. So Democrats struck back with laws declaring the ex-slaves to not be US citizens, and therefore ineligible to vote or enjoy other legal protections.
The US Congress, controlled by the Republicans, were outraged at this and passed a Civil Rights Act in 1866 to forbid these practices, including protections for birthright citizenship, ensuring the ex-slaves and their descendants would be citizens and preventing a second-class status from being conferred on Southern blacks. Concerned that the Supreme Court might overturn this, the Congress wrote it into the Constitution as the 14th Amendment.
So California Republicans – along with their right-wing allies around the country – want to undermine a core element of American Civil Rights in order to implement the Jim Crow policies that protect their power that the 14th Amendment was designed to prevent. The target this time is Latinos and not African Americans, but the overall intent is the same – make elections safe for the right.
And they wonder why they can’t get elected in California any longer.