Forging An American Solution, by Gov. Jeb Bush and Clint Bolick
(Click for Amazon book review)
BOOK REVIEW by OnTheIssues.org:
"Immigration Wars" is Jeb Bush's opening salvo in the battle for the 2016 presidential nomination.
It addresses what Jeb sees as a key issue for the 2016 race, and a key issue for the Republican Party.
If the Republicans get immigration right, they stand to gain a substantial electoral benefit;
this book attempts to position Jeb to be the primary beneficiary of that electoral benefit.
"Getting immigration right" means accomplishing the following (all of which Jeb addresses):
That last one is where the electoral benefit comes from.
The illegal immigration issue, although it affects immigrants from all countries, is most important to the Hispanic community.
That community compromises 16.7% of the current US population, and in 2012 voted 71% for Obama for president.
- Addressing the 12 million illegal immigrants presently in the US so that the number gets reduced over time;
- Addressing the needs of businesses for cheap labor, which is the driving force for illegal immigration;
- Addressing those issues in a manner which is affordable under the current tight budget; and
- Doing all of the above in a manner that Hispanics consider fair and acceptable.
The electoral benefit comes from shifting enough of those Hispanic votes to win states which would otherwise vote for the Democratic nominee in 2016.
The five states most likely to swing on the immigration issue are NM, AZ, NV, FL, and CO.
Mitt Romneywon only Arizona out of those five swing states in 2012. Romney winning those other four swing states in 2012, totaling 49 electoral votes, would have closed the electoral gap substantially (Romney would have won the presidency with a shift of 64 electoral votes). For the GOP nominee to win those four swing states in 2016...:
To win those states requires that the 2016 nominee get 35% to 65% of the Hispanic vote instead of the 19% that Romney got.
Those figures indicate why this issue is critical to the 2016 presidential election, and why Jeb has written this book.
|State||Electoral Votes||Percent Hispanic Population||2012 votes for Obama||2012 votes for Romney||Hispanics needed for 2016|
|New Mexico ||5||46.3%||415,000 (53%)||336,000 (43%)||79,000 (61%)|
|Nevada ||6||26.5%||531,000 (52%)||464,000 (46%)||68,000 (65%)|
|Florida ||29||22.5%||4,238,000 (50%)||4,163,000 (49%)||74,300 (35%)|
|Colorado ||9||20.7%||1,323,000 (52%)||1,185,000 (46%)||138,000 (66%)|
Jeb Bush is uniquely well-positioned to benefit from a voting shift to Republican line in 2016.
He is married to a Mexican woman, Columba, and their three children are who George Bush Sr. referred to as "the little brown ones."
Jeb is fluent at Spanish and spent several years teaching English in Mexico (where he met his wife).
The only other serious presidential contender positioned to benefit as much is Senator Marco Rubio -- who has also proposed major immigration reform -- this book is, in effect, Jeb's answer to Rubio's proposal.
That begs the question, "Wouldn't the Republican Party be wise to nominate Marco Rubio instead of Jeb Bush?"
Well, maybe so on the immigration issue, but there are other issues as well.
Let's summarize those issues into acceptability to the major factions of the Republican Party, and score some of the possible major candidates according to each faction.
We'll score the recent GOP nominees for comparison, too:
Jeb is acceptable to all factions of the Republican Party; no other major 2016 candidate is.
Rubio is unacceptable to the neoconservatives (the faction led by Dick Cheney and Karl Rove, who mostly like Jeb because he is George's brother; Jeb's actual foreign policy stances are largely unknown).
Some pundits predict that the neocons will become irrelevant by 2016, but it is more likely that they will be a major source of fundraising, as they have been in past elections, and that Jeb will win the "money primary" accordingly.
Unlike the other 2016 contenders, Jeb can unite the Republican Party; all of the others will force the GOP to choose one faction over another.
Gov. Nikki Haley (R, SC) also is acceptable to all factions, and we include her for that reason; but she has not yet achieved national name recognition like the others in the list.
| || Mainstream GOP||Tea Party||Christian Right||Neocons||Libertarians|
|Jeb Bush || A+|| B+|| A|| A|| B|
|Marco Rubio|| B|| A|| B|| C|| B|
|Chris Christie || A-|| B|| C|| C|| B|
|Nikki Haley|| B|| A+|| A|| B|| B-|
|Rand Paul || C|| A|| C|| D|| A+|
|Mitt Romney|| A|| C|| C|| B|| C|
|Paul Ryan|| B|| A|| B|| B|| C|
|John McCain|| A|| C|| C|| A|| C|
|Sarah Palin|| C|| A|| A+|| A|| C|
|G.W. Bush|| A|| B|| A|| A+|| D|
Reaction to this book was mixed, at least from the perspective of the pundits.
Many pundits pointed out that Jeb formerly stated that a pathway to citizenship was important; in this book he says it would encourage more illegal immigration, and prefers a pathway to legal residency status instead.
In his book tour following this book's publication, Jeb stated that a pathway to citizenship should be available but with conditions; and that the book outlines a proposal without citizenship as a model for conservative legislation. The pundits called that sequence a double flip-flop.
But voters don't think like pundits -- all they care about is that Jeb has a clear position.
In particular, Hispanic voters care that the candidate advocates for a pathway to legalization, even with conditions, and even if full citizenship is disallowed -- which is what Jeb has outlined.
What the pundits call "flip-flopping," the voting public will likely view as "a full understanding of a complex issue."
To summarize what Jeb proposes in this book (which he does in chapter 1, entitled "A Proposal for Immigration Reform," and then details the policy and politics of that proposal for the rest of the book):
- Fundamental Reform: Comprehensive interrelated approach because system as a whole is broken, and to achieve bipartisan consensus.
- A Demand-Driven Immigration System: Replace overriding preference for family reunification with work-based immigration.
- An Increased Role for the States: Share federal authority over immigration policy [such as] social services and providing benefits.
- Dealing With Current Illegal Immigrants: We propose a path to permanent legal resident status for those who plead guilty to having entered our country illegally as adults and who have committed no additional crimes of significance.
- Border Security: Broader immigration reform is an essential component of border security; we can't do one without the other.
- Toward a More Vibrant Future: Getting immigration policy right will allow us to reclaim the prosperity that in recent years has eluded our grasp.
In summary, this book is an important early contribution to the 2016 race, and declares, loud and clear, that Jeb is preparing to run.
-- Jesse Gordon, jesse@OnTheIssues.org, March 2013
| OnTheIssues.org excerpts: (click on issues for details)
Jeb Bush: Champion enterprise zones and business deregulation.
Jeb Bush: Illegal drugs moving over US-Mexico border has intensified.
Jeb Bush: Deploy military on both sides of the US-Mexican border.
Democratic Party: OpEd: anti-school choice policy alienates Hispanics.
Jeb Bush: Civics & government for high school graduation.
Jeb Bush: More STEM grads, to maintain global technology leadership.
Jeb Bush: Full immersion for English learners.
Jeb Bush: 800,000 FL parents selected schools, not district zoning.
Jeb Bush: Teacher bonuses for students passing AP courses.
Jeb Bush: Education savings accounts: Fund students instead of schools.
Rahm Emanuel: OpEd: Faced down teacher's unions to push needed reforms.
Families & Children|
Jeb Bush: Conservatives and Hispanics share family values.
Republican Party: OpEd: Make common cause with pro-family Hispanics.
Antonin Scalia: AZ feels besieged by immigrants & feds unwilling to fix it.
Barack Obama: Deferred-action: Let under-age illegals remain lawfully.
Barack Obama: Since 2008, deported a record number of illegal immigrants.
Jeb Bush: There is no realistic pathway to citizenship for most people.
Jeb Bush: Limit family reunification: no siblings nor parents.
Jeb Bush: Treat illegals with compassion but also rule of law.
Jeb Bush: Path to legal resident status: pay fines & no criminals.
Jeb Bush: Secure border as component of reform, not as prerequisite.
Jeb Bush: To become citizen, pass exam in English and civic history.
Jeb Bush: Illegals can't "wait in line"; there is no line to wait in.
Jeb Bush: Objections to more multiracial America are misplaced.
Jeb Bush: 6-part proposal for comprehensive immigration reform.
John McCain: 2005: guest worker program & path to citizenship.
Jon Kyl: 2007: guest worker program & amnesty for illegals.
Marco Rubio: Immigration is a human issue AND a law & order issue.
Mike Bloomberg: Reforming broken system is most important step for economy.
Mitt Romney: OpEd: Far right immigration policy lost Hispanic vote.
Republican Party: OpEd: GOP ignores fact of increasing ethnic minorities.
Ronald Reagan: 1986 IRCA: amnesty in exchange for tough border & penalties.
Ronald Reagan: Latinos are Republicans; they just don't know it yet.
Ted Kennedy: 2005 & 2007: guest worker program & path to citizenship.
Tom Ridge: 2003: US-VISIT relying on biometric fingerprinting.
Jeb Bush: Employ American Workers Act led to lost ideas & lost jobs.
Principles & Values|
Jeb Bush: America is different because identity derives from ideals.
Jeb Bush: Romney lost because of changing demographics.
Jeb Bush: Reach out to Hispanics based on tone, policy, and religion.
Mel Martinez: Great political risk to GOP becoming the party of exclusion.
Republican Party: OpEd: GOP has proven tone-deaf in courting Hispanic voters.
Jeb Bush: Biometrics for tourist visas; but make it easy as possible.
Jeb Bush: US tech revolution needs more foreign-born scientists.
Welfare & Poverty|
Milton Friedman: You can't have both free immigration and a welfare state.
The above quotations are from Immigration Wars
Forging An American Solution, by Gov. Jeb Bush and Clint Bolick.