Palin’s Immigration Dishonesty

After the Senate passed the immigration reform bill, everyone’s favorite quitter, Sarah Palin, took to her Facebook page to spout some nonsense on the issue, packing several false claims and a whole bunch of irrationality into a single meme:


I’m amused by the picture of Sarah sitting in a room with a bunch of anonymous people who may have absolutely nothing to do with the issue at all, but hey, a couple of them look vaguely foreign so that’s good enough. But let’s take the text apart bit by bit.

“You’ve just abandoned the Reagan Democrats with this amnesty bill.”

Interesting. If passing an immigration bill that includes a path to citizenship is abandoning the Reagan Democrats, guess who else abandoned them? Reagan himself in 1986. And of course, she includes no evidence to support the idea that “Reagan Democrats” don’t support that path to citizenship, as Reagan did. In fact, Republicans support it by about a 2-1 margin themselves and Democrats and independents at even higher rates. But those are “facts” and they only matter to the “reality-based community.”

It was the loss of working class voters in swing states that cost us the 2012 election, not the Hispanic vote.

As Glenn Kessler pointed out, all of the exit poll data from 2012 refutes this argument:

What about her notion that the loss of “working class voters” in swing states cost the GOP the election? That is a bit more fuzzy, in part because it depends on the definition of “working class” — Clement says there are a dozen different ways to define the term — but Palin’s reasoning is also debatable.

The most basic way to define a working-class voter is someone who lacks a college degree. In 2012, Obama won 51 percent of the national popular vote among non-college voters, 50 percent among college voters. The gap, in fact, has been fairly narrow over the last eight elections, with Democrats doing better among non-college voters than college graduates four times, Republicans four times.

But note that Palin referred to “Reagan Democrats.” This generally refers to white working-class Northern voters. Again, there are different ways to slice this. The National Journal has a handy interactive which allows you to examine the results of the elections between 1980 and 2008, slicing and dicing various categories.

You can see that Republicans already had an edge among white non-college voters — but not among white Democratic non-college voters. Even Reagan lost those voters by a margin of 68 to 27 percent, and the gap only increased in later elections. In fact, many of statistics showing how poorly Democrats do among white voters change substantially when Southern voters are removed; Democrats are competitive with Republicans in winning white voters, especially working-class voters, in New England, the Midwest and the West Coast.

Palin specifically mentioned the loss of Reagan Democrats in swing states. Let’s take a look at Ohio, the ultimate swing state, which Obama won 51 to 48 percent. Using an interactive that shows the difference between 2008 and 2012, you can see that Romney improved over John McCain’s share of white voters, by 5 percentage points, and among people with incomes of less than $30,000 a year; Obama slightly improved among voters with no college degree.

So why did Romney lose even after apparently improving his share of white working class voters? The reason is that white voters made up a smaller percentage of the overall vote in Ohio, falling four percentage points to 79 percent, while the African American vote increased four percentage points, to 15 percent…

Overall, in fact, Obama lost ground among white working-class voters, garnering 36 percent in 2012, compared to 40 percent in 2008, according to a recent article in the New Republic by Teixeira and Andrew Levison.

Again, facts — and therefore completely ignored by Palin.

You disrespect Hispanics with your assumption that they desire ignoring the rule of law.

Now this is a fascinating bit of rhetoric. Notice how she tries to turn the tables here and say, “No, YOU are the one being racist.” But again, those pesky facts get in the way. No one is “assuming” that Hispanic voters support a path to citizenship for those who are here illegally. The exit polls in 2008 showed a massive 77% support for that policy among Hispanic voters. More recent polls show that support above 80%. In fact, it is Palin who is doing the assuming, and therefore the disrespecting, by pretending that she knows how Hispanic voters really feel and — magically — they feel the same way she does, when we routinely ask them what they think on the subject and it is the exact opposite of her position.

Ignorance, irrationality and presumptuousness — or as Sarah Palin calls it, “thinking.”

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  • cottonnero

    Wait, are those IHOP employees? Pat Buchanan said that Bill Clinton got his foreign policy experience at IHOP – did Palin miss the joke?

  • senor

    That middle word in the headline is superfluous.

  • slc1

    I’m sure that the blogs resident Bolshevik will be along to rant against the immigration bills currently being consider in Congress.

  • You can’t blame Sarah for this one. From the correct punctuation, to the complete sentences, it is obvious that she did not write this. And considering she functionally illiterate, I don’t think she knew what she was signing.

  • Artor

    Also, how is it flouting the rule of law to pass a new law? Only in the echoing void of Palin’s mind could such a thing be considered.

  • I don’t know about the people in aprons, but at least one person in that photo was a secessionist who wanted path out of citizenship.

  • Look, Ed, the GOP has two choices:

    1. Reach out to minorities, necessarily changing the party to accomodate their needs if that outreach stands any chance of success.

    2. Double down on angry white men.

    Which would you choose if you were either an angry white male or a Cynical Manipulator of them?

  • Trebuchet

    Wait, are those IHOP employees?

    Could be, hard to say. They don’t look particularly happy to be there. Sarah and Todd appear to be being interviewed by the person in front of them. Perhaps they’re looking for a job! There also appears to be an arm growing out of Todd’s ear. It’s a Photoshop Disaster!

    Completely and utterly off-topic: I just spent about 10 minutes trying to figure out what blog had been dropped, causing the order near the bottom of the main page to get shuffled. I was looking at it wrong, it turns out “Sincerely Natalie Reed” had reappeared. That blog’s been officially closed since the middle of March. Is she coming back?

  • jaxkayaker

    And what happened to Assassin Actual?

  • And I’m sure as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska and as a half term governor of Alaska, illegal immigration was an issue she had first hand knowledge of dealing with…NOT!

  • Michael Heath

    The term Reagan Democrats originally referenced white working class northerners who were also unionized, especially auto-workers and particularly in Macomb County, Michigan. There are several other Michigan counties which have large groups as well. They’re similar to the group in Pennslyvania a ’08 campaign Barack Obama referred to as bitter.

    I know quite a few Reagan Democrats. I’m confident this demographic is susceptible to the conservatives’ standard-issue demagoguery on immigration, race, and gun rights. However, this schtick didn’t work as well for Mitt Romney as it did with Ronald Reagan and John McCain. I presume because Romney’s closely associated himself with the type of business executives who’re directly responsible for the decline in U.S. manufacturing jobs and the loss of opportunities for the working class to secure a living wage. Therefore Mr. Romney came across as an obvious poser – which he is.

    Sarah Palin, an ally of Ted Nugent’s, probably doesn’t forget this group given Nugent’s constant pandering to them. Nugent’s predominate focus is marketing his line of hunting equipment to them.

  • slc1: Can you stop posting about what you predict Don Williams or Michael Heath or David Heddle will say? It’s straight-up trolling. Respond to things people actually say. Don’t try to bait them.

  • Trebuchet

    And what happened to Assassin Actual?

    Went on hiatus in the middle of last year and never came back. That blog and several other defunct/inactive/moved ones was removed from the main page several weeks ago after I complained on Pharyngula. Natalie Reed was one of those but now she’s reappeared.

    slc1: Can you stop posting about what you predict Don Williams or Michael Heath or David Heddle will say? It’s straight-up trolling. Respond to things people actually say. Don’t try to bait them.

    Hear, Hear!

  • Those IHOP employees look like they just found out the quitter from Wassilla is a poor tipper.

  • slc1

    Re Ace of Sevens & Trebuchet

    Actually, I don’t recall predicting what Michael Heath might say.

  • Matrim

    I don’t think her flag pin is big enough…