MSNBC's Chris Hayes vs. Tim Carney On Immigration


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC: Joining me now is Tim Carney, senior political columnist at the "Washington Examiner," visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

All right, Tim, you and I have gone back and forth on this a little bit. Tell me where you are in terms of just as a descriptive matter of where this debate is inside Republican and conservative circles, because I am seeing it play out and I feel like the Trende article has been really influential.

TIM CARNEY, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: There's this underwear gnomes arguments coming from Barack Obama, right? Help Barack Obama get an immigration bill that includes amnesty so he can have a big signing ceremony.

That's step one. Step two is a question mark. And step three is Republicans win the Hispanic vote. I'm not sure how that argument plays out, and very few Republicans are convinced by that. A lot of Republicans just sort of assert that.

What we really is the industry, the K. Street, the Chamber of Commerce pushing for something that will bring in more workers and that will help business. But this cuts against the idea of trying to get the missing white voters. Because the missing white voters aren't the Southerners that you spent the opening talking about -- the missing white voters are people in Pennsylvania, in Ohio, all the way down to Nevada, who are working class whites, who feel left out by both Democrats and Republicans.

HAYES: So this is a fascinating analogy. First, take them in steps. I completely agree. Here's what I would say about the Marco Rubio thing -- I agree that the idea that passing comprehensive immigration reform, with Republican votes, Marco Rubio at the signing ceremony, that's going to turn the ship around in an instant with Latino voters. I agree that that is magical thinking.

What I do think is this, having the House Republican caucus kill this bill when the hopes of 11 million people are on the line will be absolutely deathly destructive for a long period of time with that bloc of voters. Don't you think that?

CARNEY: Yes. And this is one reason that Rubio bringing it up was, I think, stabbing his own party in the back because you give this great opening for the people to attack Republicans as being racist, as hating Hispanics. Republicans ought to be trying to get more Hispanic and more black voters in. Not just to win more votes, but because a good party will have lots of different voices and lots of different perspectives contributing to it.

The way to do it is not to hand the president some victory on immigration. So, that's my view there. But I do agree that the missing white vote is a relevant factor because you look at how the Republicans turned away these working class whites because that's who it was.

HAYES: Let's talk about that for a second because the missing -- when I hear let's go after the missing white voter, I start to think, oh, Lord, what would it look like if the party says, man, we really have to cultivate a sense of white motivation and white grievance and get to the poll.

What -- but you, Trende actually makes an argument, it might not be as horrible as you think when you hear that.

CARNEY: No, in fact, right before this, I was listing Chris Matthews misstate it. It was not that there were these hardcore conservatives who stayed home because Romney was a liberal. Sure, Romney was a liberal.

But more importantly, Romney was this country club millionaire who talked about how 47 percent of the country couldn't possibly vote Republican. So, you have the people who spent the last four years under Obama not doing well. Wages, median wages are stagnating. Unemployment is down. Meanwhile, corporate profits are at a record high.

HAYES: Right.

CARNEY: Biggest banks are even bigger. So you've got the working class voters who are staying home who aren't going to vote Republican. Working class voters who are black and who are Hispanic, they have a home in the Democratic Party, just because naturally that`s the way the parties line up.

Working class voters who are white, they don't have a home in the Democratic Party if they're not already liberals and they look at Romney and didn't have a vote there.

So the way to go after the working class voters, I think, is a free market populism. It's saying Obama-nomics like a lot of Bush-nomics was enriching the well-connected.

HAYES: Right. So --

CARNEY: Government is growing. Government growth is enriching the well connected.

HAYES: So, this is interesting. This is the third path out of this wilderness would be a class war of populism. There`s the Ross Perot example that Trende cites.

And the thing I think you and I agree on is breaking free of the kind of donor class of the GOP to get there is going to be very difficult.

Tim Carney from "The Washington Examiner" who does battle against that donor class every day in those pages -- thank you so much.

CARNEY: Thank you, Chris.

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