So what happens if immigration reform fails?
The HuffPost’s Jon Ward has a worst-case scenario for Republicans:
hard to see better dream Dem outcome than: immigration goes down in flames, R’s get blame, Rubio derailed, D’s win house, pass bill
— Jon Ward (@jonward11) April 22, 2013
This truly is a worst-case scenario, but not entirely implausible.
Ward’s initial offerings (Republicans would get blamed — and Rubio’s presidential aspirations would be derailed) are, I think, more likely outcomes than the rest (Democrats win the House — and then pass the bill, anyway!).
Regardless, if this is a time for choosing — and one gets the sense that it is — then I’m more concerned about long-term consequences than short-term setbacks. It is much more likely (and problematic) for the GOP to damage its image for a generation, than to lose some House races in 2014.
If the bill fails, it probably also matters how it goes down. Does it fade away (less likely), or does it go down in a blaze of glory? Is it perceived that Republicans are solely to blame (highly probable), or can the blame be spread around (as with the failed gun control bill)?
These are not arguments for passing bad legislation, but I suspect opponents of immigration reform underestimate the potential consequences.
But one shouldn’t have to invent a worst-case scenario, in order to see the dangers ahead.
When there are already 11 million illegals in the nation receiving de facto amnesty — and when Republicans are losing 70 percent of the Hispanic vote in a presidential election — the status quo is untenable.