Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is about to decide the fate of her state, that of her party, and her own political future. Brewer is contemplating whether or not she should sign the latest in political assaults against ethnic minorities in America. The bill sitting lightly on her desk and heavily on her mind is SB 1070. The bill would require that police officers ask for proof of citizenship should they suspect a person of being undocumented. In a single stroke of her pen Governor Brewer can set back her party even deeper into a demographic hole, transform her state into a national social pariah, and downgrade her political future to that of a speaker on the circuit forged by Tom Tancredo and Lou Dobbs. Is Brewer Tom Tancredo or is she Ronald Reagan? This week we shall find out.
Considering the efforts of some in the GOP to distance themselves from the anti-immigrant rhetoric that has found the party building the same reputation among Latino voters that it holds with African American voters, the political impact of Jan Brewer signing the 1070 cannot be overstated. Arizona's Latino GOPers have openly promised rebellion and primary chaos if the bill is signed. Latino Independents and Republicans have been a critical ingredient for the success of John McCain and other Republicans in Arizona during general election cycles.
The state will suffer from a national and international backlash should Brewer sign the bill. The US census will probably put the US Latino population at 50 million. Add other ethnic minorities into the mix and it will not be hard to stage a successful boycott of the state, by simply explaining to Americans that their family vacation can be quite uncomfortable, in a state that requires anybody that looks like they may be undocumented to carry their birth certificates with them at all times. Arizona must also worry that their biggest export customer is Mexico who as of late has been willing to stand up to American myopia.
Then Brewer has her personal political future to contemplate. The signing of the bill will be the end of any legitimate political career that she has imagined for herself. A bill signing Brewer will have to find herself content to travel the country from one Tea Party rally to another. Brewer may like traveling in buses but she has to know that the buses only stop outside the White House and this must be disconcerting to any politically ambitious Governor. Should Brewer doubt my words she can look up the political history of Governor Pete Wilson of California, who thought anti-immigrant sentiment was the path to political power and bitterly complained a couple of years ago that he could not even inspire return phone calls from GOP leadership who now blame him for losing hold of California.
Governor Brewer has much to consider and only a short time in which to consider it. All said, here of course ignores the real impact of this bill. The real impact is to create fear and distrust. The bill on Brewer's desk promotes divisions and emboldens those in our country that are fighting a losing battle against demographic change. Since demographics is destiny, the battle against America's future cannot ultimately be won by its foes. Brewer must decide what side of the predetermined demographic war she will choose for her party, what side of the future she will lead her state to, and which side of history she is on.
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Mario Solis-Marich is a radio talk show host who can be heard on AM 760 in Denver and world wide at www.GoToMario.com. You can find Mario on Facebook.