The Republican Party can decide whether it lives or dies by whether or not it blocks the immigration compromise from passing this year. If they stop it from going through and a Democratic President pushes it through a Democratic Congress in 2009, the GOP will suffer as much among Hispanic voters as it did among black voters after Barry Goldwater crusaded against the Civil Rights Bill in his 1964 election campaign. Until Goldwater did that, blacks usually voted Republican. Kennedy won over about 60% of them when he called Correta Scott King while her husband was in jail. But LBJ got the 90% of the black vote that has since become his party’s expected share as a direct result of Goldwater’s campaign.
If the Republican Party passes this bill while a GOP president can still sign it and take partisan credit for it, they will have a very good chance of winning the Latino vote in the future. If not, they will be ground under the demographic changes in America just as the Labor Party was in the early years of the 20th century.