How McCain can woo Conservatives AND keep Independents

While conservatives were holding the line they drew in the sand to keep the very liberal Rudy Giuliani from gaining the Republican nomination, John McCain did an end run around us. While I, like Mike Huckabee, believe in miracles, it appears we will be stuck with McCain, warts and all.

In short, as president, he will do a lot less damage to the country than Hillary or Obama and most conservatives like me will end up voting for him, but we are not happy about it.

That kind of lukewarm response is not likely to get him elected. In order to win, he needs the party faithful to give until it hurts and work until they drop in order to get out the vote.

Presently, Democrats enjoy a 5.6 percentage point advantage in party affiliation. However, neither party can win without the support of independents which make up roughly one-third of the electorate.

Conventional wisdom is that there is nothing that McCain can do to energize the base that won’t turn off independents. Nothing could be further than the truth.

While there are many issues that divide us, there is one issue McCain can embrace that will unite voters across the political spectrum, but that would require a major policy shift on his part – the issue of illegal immigration.

McCain’s victories in the early primaries aren’t because of his views on immigration. It is in spite of them – and a case of misleading rhetoric. Yes, McCain is now saying he’s “heard us” and will “secure the borders first,” but what comes second? Anyone who has been paying careful attention knows the answer to that question – amnesty. While his campaign has taken off, that is why it likely will not reach the desired destination.

Rarely in American politics has there been an issue that has the ability to energize and connect voters like this one issue. According to a Rasmussen poll done last summer 69 percent of voters favor an approach that focuses exclusively on securing the border and reducing illegal immigration. Support for the “enforcement only” approach comes from 84 percent of Republicans, 55 percent of Democrats and 69 percent of those prized independents.

While few favor going out and rounding up illegal aliens for deportation, most favor a orderly process. The same Rasmussen poll showed that 57 percent favor a proposal of “giving all illegal aliens up to three years to leave the United States.” If they wish to return, voters want them to get in line and wait their turn like everyone else. Support for that concept comes from 67 percent of Republicans, 49 percent of Democrats and 56 percent of independents.

Another Rasmussen poll found that:
• 79 percent favor a proposal requiring employers to fire workers who use false identification documents.
• 74 percent agree that if a person wants to rent an apartment, he or she should be required to show documents proving they are legally in the U.S.

Cracking down on illegal immigration is a winning issue even among Latinos – the group that McCain is so afraid of offending. A McLaughlin & Associates poll conducted in April found that:
• 82 percent of Latinos support requiring voters to show valid identification to prevent fraud.
• 73 percent agree with a tamper-proof identification card system to establish which applicants are legal immigrants.
• 67 percent think that repealing local sanctuary laws allowing illegal immigrants to avoid punishment is a good idea.
• 59 percent want to prohibit the issuing of drivers’ licenses to illegal immigrants by the state.
• 53 percent support altering our citizenship laws so that a child born in the U.S. does not automatically become a citizen, but must have a parent who is a citizen in order to do so.

More recent polls conducted in the early primary states show that voters have not changed their minds about this issue. Illegal immigration has been at or near the top of most lists of concerns.

McCain doesn’t have to crash and burn in the general election. Immigration is the one issue that can energize conservatives and attract independents and Democrats. There is nothing honorable about insuring rich people and corporations a steady supply of cheap labor at the expense of hard working taxpayers. All McCain has to do to win the election is be man enough to say that he was wrong about allowing those who have broken into this country to stay, permanently.

That isn’t likely to happen. McCain’s obstinance is well documented and is likely to cost him the very thing he desires most. In short, he is his own worst enemy.

22 thoughts on “How McCain can woo Conservatives AND keep Independents

  1. This the most thoughtful and correct article that I’ve seen on McCain and Illegal Immigration. If McCain changed his position on Illegal Immigration and Amnesty to what you recommend, he would win the presidential election.

    McCain is trying to delude us by saying that the borders will be certified secure by the governors of the border states.
    The hypocrisy of McCain becomes obvious when you read how he intends to certify that our border with Mexico is secure.

    McCain claims that he wants to secure our border with Mexico first and that security will be certified by the Governors of the border states. What a CON job!

    Imagine the security of our Mexican border being certified by:

    1) New Mexico Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson a liberal pro-open border, amnesty granting proponent who is a Hispanic

    2) California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a RINO, Kennedy-in-law, who is pro amnesty granting.

    3) Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Bush’s former Lt. Governor, who is under the influence of Pres. Bush, and we know where Bush stands, and finally

    4) Democratic Gov. Napolitano of Arizona who vetoed anti-illegal immigration laws in the past and now supports open-border Obama for president..

    After these RINO/DEM-LIB governors certify that the border is “secure”, then McCain’s old amnesty plan kicks in.

    With this cynical suggestion, McCain proves that he has no respect for the opinion of millions of Americans who opposed by 80% the original Kennedy-McCain Amnesty Bill.



  2. A vote for McCain would be an unrighteous one–one that should be avoided by those who want Godly men to lead us. It should even be avoided by those who just want “conservative” values. This voting for the lesser of two evils (or 4 if you count Obama, Hillary, McCain, or Huckabee) only confirms to the GOP powers that be that the “religioius right” will blindly vote for their guy no matter what. Voting out of fear instead of voting for what is right is not the liberty in which Christ has set us free.

    A vote cast for Candidate X who will act just like Candidate Y & Z is the true wasted vote. So I will be writing in Ron Paul or will vote Constitution Party. Voting for what is right is never a wasted vote.

    pax vobiscum,
    Aaron Kavli


  3. Thanks for giving your readers such clear information about what voters think about the illegal alien issue. I have to believe McCain, like most of Congress, has been bought off in some fashion regarding this issue. In my lifetime I have not witnesses a more clear cut contrast between the will of the people and the actions of our elected officials.

    People like George W. Bush, Ted Kennedy, and John McCain never have to deal directly with the problems associated with the illegals. It just seems pretty obvious that they do not desire to act according to the will of the majority; which leaves us to conclude they have intentions that are anything but honorable. Other people with money and power are controlling our elected officials, and I don’t think for a minute that these politicials really have any compassion for those who are breaking our laws as they cross our borders.


  4. Jane, I don’t know if you are right or not about John McCain being better for the country than either Obama or Hillary, but I don’t think there is any doubt that he will be a disaster for the Republican party. We cannot continue to send weak opponents into battle with the Democrats and expecting them to win, and in the event, slim that it is, that John McCain does defeat Obama, who it looks like will be the candidate, the damage he will do the Republoican party will take decades to undo.

    I believe in the principles of the Reagan wing of the Republican party, and there were only three candidates in this years race who also believed so. Tom Tancredo and Duncan Hunter were forced out due to either negative publicity or lack of publicity, and Ron Paul has managed to stay in the race only due to the financial backing of his huge following, in spite of the same problems faced by Tancredo and Hunter.

    If we, as supposedly conservative Republicans (and I don’t know for sure what that means, I prefer Constitutional Republicans) continue to sacrifice our principles just in order to elect someone who says he represents our party, we deserve to either lose the election or see our party destroyed.

    In the beginning of this campaign for president I would have said that the least likely to get the nod was John McCain, because of his liberal leaning and alignment with so many Democrats on so many issues, but if you read Ann Coulter’s column today you will see that, and I agree, she believes that it is because of McCain-Feingold that our chances of getting another Reagan have all but been eliminated, and it is the media now who decides who it is that will serve in this nation. I for one will not again vote for a candidate who is lacking in principle just because he has an R behind his name.


  5. Jane, well said. You’re spot on in terms of the only strategy that might allow McCain to win. [Given his status as Senator from a Border state, and miserable record on the issue of Immigration & his proposed Amnesty, how could his election year ‘conversion’ on this topic be taken seriously by anyone ?]

    That notwithstanding, I must respectfully disagree with your premise that we must all vote for McCain: we keep getting offered fools because we prove we’ll vote for them every time.

    And they get worse. Anyone note that GWB 8 years ago had to at least mouth shallow, but moderately believable Christian platitudes, but McCain is not even making a pretense of the same ?

    The GOP hierarchy knows that they need not actually provide Constitutionally minded candidates,which is to say, candidates who will truly honor their oath of office , as long as we continue to accept fake conservatives like McCain.

    In every crucial category, McCain is a Hillary & Obama wanna be.

    Visit and note how Hillary & he stake out virtually identical positions.

    So, I urge us to reject Pragmatism – the morphing of our ethics to ‘fit’ a situation – and embrace Principle, to reject fear based voting.

    As Christians and serious minded Conservatives, can we do any less ?

    Our vote is the ‘currency of our virtue’.

    To accept candidates that openly champion evil, in order to win an election, we dishonor those Principles we claim to hold.

    In so doing, aren’t we forgetting that the strongest condemnation by Christ was not of mere sinners, but of religious men who said they believed on thing, and then did another – hypocrites ?

    Moreover, our Founding Fathers had to stand against Britain – ruining many of them financially, in order to win Independance for the new nation. Their stand was the virtual anti-thesis of Pragmatism.

    So, standing upon Principle is a cardinal Christian & American virtue – we simply need to be encouraged to do so !

    Here’s the specifics of how we plan to stand on Principle:

    What we’re hoping here is that once Ron Paul secures his Texas house seat, that he will continue on to the GOP convention, and being that he’s only only of 3 candidates remaining, and the only true Constitutional conservative running, that his voice will be heard & finally gain the attention it deserves.

    Even if it’s just to strongly influence the nature of the debate, that might be enough. If the GOP steadfastly pushes McCain, a third party run might be in order.

    Jane, while I’m not a fan of Huck, just think if he decided to run on a third party ticket with Ron Paul – that would potentially draw such a huge coalition of evangelicals, independents & disaffected DEMs & GOPers as to win, in a three way race.

    Abraham Lincoln won in 1860 in a four man / party race with 38 % – it can happen.

    I, for one, think any number of factors could cause the media blackout to lift – and remaining steadfast will allow us to take advantage of this potentiality.

    I’ve spoken to national leaders of the Constitution Party, ( , and they’re preparing to draft Ron Paul, and leave it to him to accept or reject their suggestion.

    I wonder which columnist on will be the first to write a series of columns focusing on this distinct possibility ?

    Best to you, Jane & all here….David B.


  6. I just read Ann Coulter’s column – what an eye-openeer ! She focuses on the scary effects of McCain-Feingold’s Campaign Finance Reform bill.

    Just the fact that we have media annointed candidates, with few or no independent efforts gaining traction (save that of Ron Paul’s), helps prove it’s dulling effect on this election year.

    Take a look if you havent:

    “How to keep Reagan Out of Office”



  7. Jane, thank you for this clear and concise summary of John
    McCain and his mindset. David B.s suggestion that a third
    party ticket with Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee would certainly work for those who are disgusted with Clinton, Obama and McCain. The problem is, time is growing short and
    action needs to taken on a national level. Great ideas only
    produce good results when they are acted upon. I for one am ready! Paul, or Huckabee are not going anwhere by themselves, but together they just might produce a harmony that would excite Centrists and Conservatives, whether they are Democrats, Republicans or Independents. Somehow this idea needs to be promoted by someone with a national voice, someone like you, Jane. Or someone, anyone who could get this ball rolling and present it to concerned Americans.
    I will be watching for positive results!


  8. Your article is right-on. Very few of us really know who pulls the strings of McCain,
    but I believe he will take a turn to the right before Nov. —Nottrib Yar


  9. Ms. Chastain

    Good article! It is logical, rational and factual, therefore of no interest to most Democrats and apparently some moderate Republicans.

    Too bad McCain won’t follow your advice. It would allow some of us who are REALLY ticked off at McCain and Bush over last year’s amnesty bill to vote FOR him instead of merely voting against Obama/Hillary.

    If McCain wants conservatives to have ANY enthusiasm about supporting his campaign he’s got to do something like this. Otherwise our wallets are closed and some, (many?) may even stay home in November.

    Some of us consider we might be better off if we have gridlock with GOP members of congress fighting Obama/Hillary than if they are supporting McCain. Perhaps if the GOP loses…the party hacks (Wimpy, unprincipled RINOs!!!) will pay attention to the base in the future. The GOP’s “leadership” only value fiscal/limited government conservatives when they need our money and votes. Once in office…many seem to forget who got them to the dance.


  10. My response to a letter I got Tuesday from the GOP asking for money….

    Senator Ensign

    I am a CONSERVATIVE who has lost any and all faith in the GOP to follow the Constitution and the principles of limited, fiscally responsible government. The last time the GOP had all three branches…YOU BLEW IT by spending worse than drunken sailors on shore leave and increasing the size and impact of the federal government.

    I am tired of voting merely for the lesser of the two evils. Senator John McAmnesty certainly does NOT inspire me to support the GOP.

    The “so called” GOP leadership wants conservative support during the election cycle…and then flips us the middle finger while governing like unprincipled moderate Democrats. Prime examples: the Medicare Drug fiasco and the “Comprehensive Immigration Bill.”

    I will return to and financially support the GOP when the party:

    * Establishes a new “contract” as to how the party will govern if it wins the majority. Give us 3-5 promises that “if returned to the majority we will accomplish these things.”

    * Promises to balance the budget in the FIRST fiscal year they have control of the budget. Cut departments, programs, operations to make it happen.

    * Promises to control the borders and actively enforce our immigration laws as they are written today. PERIOD. Send no-match letters from the Social Security Administration requiring employers to either fix the error or fire individuals without valid Social Security numbers. Impeach any liberal judge who holds up the process! Deprive illegals of EVERY tax payer funded service, by requiring proof of citizenship/legal status to attend schools, get welfare and food stamps, Medicaid, etc.

    * Establishes a plan to reform entitlement spending to address the 53 Trillion dollar unfunded liability that will CRUSH our nation in the next 20 years if it is not forcefully and thoughtfully addressed now.

    * Promises to reform our tax system with either a VERY SIMPLE flat tax (See Senator Shelby’s plan) or a “Fair Tax” system.

    * Reforms our tax structure to make it hyper business friendly. Once the slogan of the U.S. was “The business of the United States is business.” Congress would do well to make that slogan a reality again by lowering the corporate tax to one of, if not THE lowest in the industrialized world, so jobs and capital flow back to the U.S.

    We’ve been lied to and betrayed by the GOP. Conservatives are not going to be a cheap date again.

    Give us a contract promising to govern like conservatives…and we may support you. If not… Good luck with President Obama and 60+ Democrat Senators.


  11. I believe that you should present on TV your ideas and statistics on how McCain could win over conservatives and moderates on a Sean Hannity type program.

    It will have a ripple effect and may eventually convince the McCain people that your suggestions are the way to go.




  12. Hi Jane

    I agree 100% with you…..McCain has never said he would deport the illegals that are here but that he would control the border. He is gonna try to give all of them amnesty.

    As an independent (GOP is too far left) I don’t think I can vote for McCain even though I am from Arizona. Never have liked him.


  13. re “How can McCain woo Conservatives AND keep Independents

    Ms. Chastain,
    Are you at all concerned that Senator Clinton will lose a primary with 35 to 40% of the vote and still receive many more total votes than Senator McCain and Gov. Huckabee combined? I think we should prepare ourselves for an Obama victory in November.


  14. So, even after supporting every single amnesty bill, you would believe
    McCain if he simply came out and said “I’m against all this illegal
    Thats like saying Hillary would win if she just came out and claimed she was
    against Nazi health care.
    Besides, the problem with McCain isn’t just immigration, it is a COMPLETE AND TOTAL DISREGARD for the Constitution. McCain Feingold means the media will pick our presidents from now on. (see AnnCoulters column for an explanation) He doesn’t think Congress has to declare wars, he thinks “Education” is a power granted to the Feds. He has no problem with illegal searches, police state, nanny state, big Government… Let a Real Conservative Small Government Republican like Ron Paul, oh, but McCain Feingold gave the media the power to pick our Government. McCain should be shot as a traitor – an enemy to the Republic. I am a true small Government lover of the COnstitution conservative, and I’ll vote for Obama before I’ll vote for McIdiot.


  15. Regardless our affiliation be it Republican, Conservative, Independent or non-enroled we must now accept the reality of McCain. This does not mean we loose our voice however.

    I too, as a Catholic, have many many issues with McCain and dread the thought of voting for him, but vote for him I must.

    To maintain my dignity and epress my displeasure with the party operatives I will execue a write-in ballot.

    This will help ensure McCain gets elected but the party’s will NOT benefit from the vote. This approach will ensure what reamins of the party’s will hear the deafining roar of the people.

    Do vote for the candidate of your choice, but do it via a write-in ballot.


  16. Hi Jane

    I enjoyed your column but I have to take exception to you obvious belief Mc Cain would actually do anything
    he considers against his personal philosophy. As an Independent voter with strong conservative beliefs
    I can assure you the only way John could even get me to consider him is to commit himself and his
    administration to going after the employers of illegal’s. Arizona is a fine example of illegal immigrants
    voluntarily returning to Mexico when they lost their jobs.

    By-the-way this would also address the obsession of MSM with “the economy stupid” mantra. By
    illegal’s voluntarily emigrating back to their country of origin, we could actually EMPLOY AMERICAN
    CITIENS with all the attendant benefits.

    Otherwise, I am afraid we will just have to suffer whatever consequences await.


  17. Dear Ms. Chastain,
    I have a lot of respect for your opinion, I find myself agreeing with you on most issues as we both believe in the Constitution, but today, I have to differ with you.
    I think you are exactly right on the border issue, and I hope that it could bring aboard republicans and independents who believe border security is a literal “no brainer”, but doing that would not be enough to bring me to vote for him.
    I lost all my respect for Senator McCain as a “public servant” when he sponsored that un-Constitutional “McCain-Feingold Campaign Reform Act”, and while that act stands, I cannot vote for anyone who had a part in it. It has been one of the most brazen, egregious assaults on our first amendment rights made, since I was politically aware.
    Were McCain honest enough to claim his democratic credentials, he wouldn’t even be on the horizon, far less the presumptive republican party contender. I simply cannot vote in for president, one of two people who has perpetrated one of the greatest power grabs in our recent history. There was a time when one could honestly state that the republican party was the party of the adults, while the democratic party was the party of the adolescents, but both parties have completely compromised their principles and neither can be an honorable recipient of my vote.
    I want to vote for someone for a change, and I can’t do that if Senator McCain is a candidate unless he is the democratic candidate, as would be fitting, given his proclivities. This nation need a dramatic change in the way we do politics, and the “McCain-Feingold act” is only the latest, most egregious attack on our natural rights, not the only one. As long as this act stands, we have been deprived of substantial and important rights as sovereign citizens, and it seems ridiculous to me to even consider voting for one of the architects of suppression of political speach when it is of the most use and value.
    I understand about compromise, I’ve had to do a lot of it as a Marine, as a father, as a husband, and as a member of my community, but I draw the line at compromising on my principles. I will not vote for any politician who has worked to impose un-Constitutional laws that directly impact political speach leading up to and during an election. Of all the things the first amendment was written to protect, political speach was first, last and always, so unless Senator McCain recognizes his signal failure, makes a statement that gives credence to the idea that he really understands that his work was not only wrong, but a violation of his oath of office, I will not vote for him.
    I have watched this man through the eyes of a career Marine, and he has never shown fortitude in supporting the principles of a “federated republic”, but has in fact, used his credentials to remove such support at every opportunity. He is not even semi-republican, but entirely socialist in his outlook, and has no real place in the politics of this Nation. At least a lizard queen victory would be a president that believes in what she is saying.
    We have let some well qualified candidates get tossed out by party apparatchiks such as Alan Keyes, Duncan Hunter, Tom Tancredo, all of whom believe in the actual words of the Constitution, and we have retained instead, all the politicians who can speak out of the same side of their mouth that the Clintons do. Absent a republican on the presidential ticket in November, I will be writing in my choice for president. I will not vote for Senator McCain as that would be rewarding a seated Senator for one of the most egregious violations of principle I have observed since the Nixon years.
    John McClain
    GySgt, USMC, ret.
    Vanceboro, NC


  18. John McCain will never focus on illegal immigration, nor will he keep his
    promise to build the fence and implement employer sanctions if elected. This
    is all just electioneering on his part in an attempt to get the conservative
    base back on board. I grew up in a union household but consider myself a populist/conservative. I have voted Republican in most election since Reagan vs Carter. but voted democratic prior to Ronald Reagan’s campaign for president.

    I would not vote for John McCain under any circumstances, the man is an abomination and has all but destroyed freedom of political speech in this country. It is ironic that a
    person can utter the most disgusting epitaphs and engage in the most anti
    American diatribes but cannot voice a political opinion 60 days prior to an

    No, I will not vote for John McCain under any circumstance. The Republican
    establishment has given us another in a series of miserable and disastrous candidates.
    They began with Gerald Ford, then gave us Bush I, Bob Dole, Bush II,
    and finally John Mccain. Can anyone tell me what difference
    there is between these guys and Bill Clinton or Barack Obama? I thought not, they are all one and the same, unimaginative little men with no vision, who will do the bidding of their international corporate masters no matter how much it damages the country and its people. Even Newt Gingrich, a staunch Republican, referred to Bob Dole as the tax collector for the welfare state.


  19. In reply to Tom the Catholics comment “but vote for him I must”, Yes, Tom, you must vote for McCain because all the hoyty toyty media rulers and party leaders are telling you to. Just like all the leaders convinced the crowd to vote for Barabas. You will vote for McCain instead of Ron Paul. Go with the mob Tom. Thats always the safe thing to do.
    Take Ron Paul to the cross.


  20. I just checked back, to read the added comments – I’m trying to guage the general reaction of Principled conservatives ( tends to draw them….) to the candidacy of John McCain.

    Jane, it seems like your comments are not very sanguine about the chances of McCain to ‘shore up’ and mollify us grassroots conservatives. To say the least !

    John McClain above gives a strong case that McCain is entirely Socialist, not even semi-republican.

    Boy, isn’t that a change from what we were offered last time ’round ! An unvarnished Globalist / Socialist, not even the merest fig leaf of pretending to be a serious conservative or Christian this time.

    I guess our uncritical acceptance of GWB, sent the message that we Christians & Conservatives had gone totally asleep.

    Take a look at a very legitimate alternative, the Constitution Party. Check out their platform, and see if these standards don’t mirror much of what you hold dear:



  21. David B
    Ron Paul has NEVER voted for anything that could possibly be against the original intent of the Constitution. The Constitution party is a joke if they don’t endorse Ron Paul. They apparently talk the talk, but only Ron Paul walks the walk.


  22. JOhn:

    Got it, sir. Did you read my earlier comments above ? 5th letter down….

    To reiterate, both the Constiution Party and the Libertarian Party are planning to draft Ron Paul, if he will accept either Parties proposal.

    Ergo, they ARE endorsing him, the only question is will it be reciprocal ? Time will tell.

    In Dr. Paul’s mind – guessing here – it probably has a lot to do with winning his Texas house seat & the GOP convention & surrouding events this summer…..



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