Eric Cantor’s defeat, immigration reform, gerrymandering and Republican presidential hopes all got rolled up together last week in a classic demonstration of the Law of Unintended Consequences.
Cantor’s opponent, David Brat (I love that name), attacked him for being soft on immigrants. That struck fear in the hearts of other Republicans in Congress. That killed all hopes of passing reform this year.
That, in turn, spelled trouble for Republicans who want to win the White House in 2016. They not only lose the growing Hispanic vote, but also the growing South Asian vote. Plus, the GOP’s perceived hostility to immigrants and their children also alienates independent suburban women, polls show.
All of this, in a particularly ironic turn, stems from the Republicans’ great success at gerrymandering congressional districts. They drew themselves districts that have few Hispanics. The result: Republican members of Congress benefit from immigrant-bashing, while Republican candidates for President pay the price.