Immigration, One Reason Why Romney Lost
The election is over and the analysts are trying to explain the results. Of course, there are many reasons why Barack Obama won and Mitt Romney lost. Yet one thing is clear. The Democrats did an excellent job of defining the candidates. They defined Mitt Romney as Old America and Barack Obama as New America. They defined Romney as a successful, wealthy, white businessman, as if these are attributes to be ashamed of. Of course, Obama is successful, too, yet he is less wealthy and less white. Best of all from their perspective, Obama never ran a business. Instead, Obama made his money by telling his story in books. We have somehow reached a point in America where becoming rich by writing books is okay, but making money through business is not. Furthermore, you might think that as a Mormon, Romney was the quintessential outsider in this race. Yet Democrats managed to convince voters that Romney was the ultimate insider. You could almost imagine a President Romney cutting secret deals in smoked-filled rooms that enriched his friends. Ironically, Obama is the one who smokes.
In a recent article, Steve Forbes lists Five Reasons Why Romney Lost. He specifically names Romney’s failure to define his own message. Nothing illustrates this better than the issue of immigration.
Other than Native Americans, every citizen of this country is either an immigrant or the descendant of an immigrant. I am an immigrant myself and, of course, I strongly favor immigration. I also know a lot of Republicans, yet for the life of me, I can’t name one who is opposed to immigration. Republicans favor immigration because they know that immigration is the lifeblood of the economy. So how is it that they got labeled as the anti-immigrant party? It is because they allowed Democrats to define their message. While Republicans favor legal immigration, they are strongly opposed to illegal immigration. You might think this is common sense. Yet, Democrats managed to turn the issue around. You may have noticed that Democrats never use the word “illegal” when describing people who came here or stayed here in violation of the law. Instead, they call these people “undocumented.” That makes it sound like it is not their fault. It makes it sound like some government official simply forgot to give these poor people the right papers.
Republicans oppose illegal immigration for a number of reasons. National security is the most obvious one. Ever since 9/11, national security has become more important than ever. For national security reasons, we must be able to screen and track immigrants. We must make sure we are not allowing terrorists to get in. Yet, there is another critical reason as well. Illegal immigration is simply unfair to the millions of people around the world who are trying to come to this country through the proper channels. People from Africa, Asia, and Europe can’t simply cross a border in the middle of the night. These people often travel long distances just to get to the nearest American embassy in order to properly apply for the right to immigrate to this country. These people sometimes wait years before that right is granted, if it is ever granted. Granting asylum to the millions of illegal immigrants who are already here is a slap in the face to the millions of aspiring Americans all over the world. What’s worse, it sends the wrong message: “If you really want to come to America, figure out some way to sneak across the border.”
Immigration is a critical issue and it must be resolved. The election results demonstrate that Americans won’t tolerate a solution as simple as deporting everyone who is here illegally. There has to be another way. This will be one of the greatest challenges in President Obama’s second term. He must find a way to work with Republicans to find an acceptable solution.