THE BLOG

Why Kris Kobach's Career Should End

11/26/2012 05:47 pm ET | Updated Jan 26, 2013

When the names of those who need to be purged from the GOP to recover and progress past the epic electoral beating they took at the hands of a large voter coalition, Kris Kobach's is one of the first floated.

Kobach has taken action to suppress the vote in his state and is suing the federal government to block the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program: he encapsulates everything with what is increasingly coming to be thought of as the "old fashioned" GOP that every Republican is quickly distancing themselves from. This is the same wave of sentiment that led to Bobby Jindal to turn on Romney in the wake of his latest gaff. Kobach was in the same rhetorical boat as Romney that hurt the GOP down-ticket with Latinos. Like Romney, if the GOP doesn't silently get rid of him, Kobach will tarnish the Republican brand even more than he already has as he goes down flaming, defending his indefensible stances publicly while someone makes their career on stomping him into the ground.

When SB 1070 reached the Supreme Court, it became a political flash point representing a line drawn between two very different immigration/civil rights stances. SB 1070 was written by Kris Kobach and introduced by state Senator Russell Pearce, who was recalled because of his harsh anti-immigrant stances and known Nazi connections. When the ACLU was handed over Pearce's emails, they confirmed that SB 1070 was racially motivated against Latinos.

In addition to SB 1070, the DREAM Act and "self-deportation" were two other wedge issues for Latino voters. After the DREAM Act was filibustered in 2010, Obama offered Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to offer temporary immigration status to those who would qualify for the DREAM Act until a permanent solution could be made. Because the DREAM Act is aimed at the most sympathetic members of the Latino demographic, those who were brought into the country as children without status, it has over 90 percent support amongst Latino voters according to the Pew Research Center, is supported by the public in general and a state version, the Maryland DREAM Act, passed when put to a ballot. Not only is Kris Kobach against the DREAM Act, he's leading the lawsuit to block the DACA program.

Self-deportation was a strategy to deny every government service or right available to undocumented immigrants to try to chase them out of the country by making their lives in the United States unlivable. This became another immigration flash point, however, more due to rhetoric than substance; "self-deportation" was mostly a dozen state laws like SB 1070 designed to make undocumented immigrants miserable, such as making it a crime for an undocumented immigrant to look for a job, harsh penalties for businesses that hire undocumented immigrants, denying driver's licenses, etc. Once again, not only was Kris Kobach for "self-deportation," he was pushing Romney to take that stance before Romney came out for it.

In retrospect, Kris Kobach was a phenomenal failure as an immigration adviser to Mitt Romney: Mitt Romney took his biggest unexpected hits with Latinos and Asians, both very pro-immigrant groups that were completely turned off by the rhetoric on the Republican side about immigration.

In the wake of an election where Obama won 71% of the Latino vote that formed important margins in swing states like Colorado and New Mexico, Republicans can't afford to keep Kris Kobach, or anyone that supported his policies. If he stays, he will continue to attract press, much like Joe Arpaio, as a symbol of everything that is wrong with the Republican Party; the party is still taking on water, and he's a giant anchor.

Kobach may be able to get away with far-right immigration politics in Kansas, one of our most right-leaning states. If this previous election has taught us anything, however, it's that coalition politics will lead in future elections. Kris Kobach already has enough YouTube videos insulting to Latinos to kill two national political careers, and is a liability that his party would be well rid of.