RALEIGH, NC – In a stunning upset that virtually turned political punditry on its ear, Dave Brat, an economics professor at Randolph-Macon College, who has never held political office, defeated Eric Cantor, a Virginia Congressman who was also House Republican Majority Leader and touted as the next House Speaker, in that state’s primary last week.
In the ensuing days and throughout the weekend, political gurus and media analysts scrambled to make sense of what happened, and wondered whether Brat’s victory is a sign of conservative populism on the rise, or a fluke, considering that in South Carolina, Senator Lindsey Graham, a prime example of Republican establishmentarianism, easily fended off primary challenges from multiple Tea Party candidates.
Though a host of theories were proposed regarding Cantor’s loss, including that his national jetsetting made him popular in wider circles but cost him votes in his own district – and they are the only ones who get to cast a vote – because he simply failed to walk around and knock on doors, the overriding factor by most accounts is that Brat beat Cantor because of immigration.
ALIPAC TO THE RESCUE
William Gheen, President of the Americans for Legal Immigration Political Action Committee (ALIPAC), told TNH about his organization’s efforts to get Brat elected.
“We contacted over 20,000 homes in the district,” Gheen said, roughly a third of all voters and more than two and a half times the amount that was the margin of difference. “We used reverse psychology,” he explained. Instead of criticizing Cantor for taking a soft position on immigration, “we asked voters to ‘thank’ Eric Cantor for supporting amnesty for illegals, which would in turn give illegals access to voting rights, social services, and higher paying American jobs!” Gheen concedes that the robocalls are annoying, “but they had a strong impact on voters,” based on direct feedback, voters provided.
Gheen makes clear that ALIPAC is most definitely not anti-immigrant. In fact, he says, “approximately 25% of our volunteers and financial supporters are immigrants – legal immigrants. We chose the name Americans for Legal Immigration to make it clear we are pro-immigrant and we use every opportunity we can to share what legal immigrants tell us with the media, lawmakers, and public. Our legal immigrant supporters tell us they oppose amnesty for illegals and are enraged that pro amnesty reporters and groups constantly compare noble law-abiding legal immigrants with illegal aliens who pay murderous gangs thousands of dollars to smuggle them into America under cover of darkness.”
Unlike many politicians and members of the media, who use the word “immigrant” incorrectly – by definition, an “immigrant” has achieved a status attainable only through a specific process of gaining legal permanent residence – Gheen refers to persons in the United States who entered or remained unlawfully by their legally-accurate designation: illegal aliens. “The word ‘immigrant’ is a noble and respected term that illegal aliens do not deserve to use any more than drug dealers deserve to be called pharmacists.”
PRAISE FOR GREEKS
Gheen also does not attempt to portray the history of American immigration as equal from group to group. In fact, he makes a point of emphasizing how Greek immigrants, by and large, have been a consistent example of that “noble” distinction of immigrant to which he referred. “Greek immigration to America has been predominantly through legal means and in accordance with the laws of the time such immigration has occurred,” Gheen said. “In fact, Greek immigration to America is one of our success stories because many of America’s political, architectural, and cultural traditions are already descended from Greek and Roman culture, since America’s founding over 200 years ago. Greek immigrants have retained much of their rich heritage while at the same time embracing American ideals and culture.”
In fact, among the 100 or so Congressional candidates nationwide that ALIPAC expressly endorses for their immigration views is Greek-American House Member Gus Bilirakis (R), who represents Florida’s heavily-Greek-populated Tarpon Springs. The full list of candidates the organization has endorsed can be found on ALIPAC’s website: alipac.us.
NOT A MONOLITH
As both major political parties strive to cater to the ever-increasing Latino vote, Gheen makes clear that, while anti-American antipathy and outright racism toward non-Latinos is certainly not representative of the majority of the legal Latino population, there are “waves of illegal immigration coming across America’s southern border today, where many of the illegals, who represent a broad criminal culture, have a since of entitlement and do not recognize America’s borders, laws, or claims to the territories of the
Southwestern United States.”
Nonetheless, Gheen emphasizes that “our goal is to organize Americans of all races, backgrounds, and walks of life in support of the existing border and immigration laws of America in order to protect American and legal immigrant workers, taxpayers, and students. We oppose any form of amnesty for illegals that would permanently undermine American jobs, borders, laws, elections, etc.”
Gheen founded ALIPAC in 2004, on September 11, “in honor of the victims of 9/11,” who died at the hands of illegal aliens.
ON TO NOVEMBER
Having played an important role in the political upset of the year – if not the decade – Gheen says ALIPAC is far from done. “We now plan to deploy our new strategy [of reverse-psychology robocalling] in as many races as possible between now and November!”