In 2014, First Congressional District GOP candidate Jim Hagedorn gained national attention for his loutish opinions about Republican women leaders, American Indians, gay men and others, after Mother Jones published Tim Murphy's article, House Candidate Called Female Senators "Undeserving Bimbos in Tennis Shoes."
Hagedorn is muting his rhetoric this year as he runs his third campaign, but not his sentiment. There's a special moment in Jason Sorensen's article in the Fairmont Sentinel, Hagedorn challenging Walz, when the Blue Earth Republican responds to a voter's plea for moderation in immigration policy:
Another person stated that while he has been a Republican voter for most of his life, he is considering becoming an independent, because the Republican Party might be appealing to racist ideologies.
"If we're afraid of immigrants, the party is doomed," the man said. "One of the things I think we need to look at is that the American Dream is supposed to be a part of the Republican platform. We have to stop illegal immigration, but we need to reach out and be the party that says this is the land of opportunity, and we're going to give you opportunities to start families and businesses, and produce."
"I have to say that I take a very strong stand against illegal immigration," Hagedorn responded. "And I think we have to go back to the rule of law in those areas. It's not because we hate anybody or are afraid of anybody, but not everyone coming into the United States, legally or illegally has wanted to assimilate and become a part of the American dream."
It's not just undocumented immigrants Hagedorn takes issue with, but also those folks who enter the country and don't "want" to assimilate.
Bluestem suspects that Hagedorn's version of "assimilate" is much different than what actually happened as Europeans came to Minnesota. Some families in this stretch of the prairie continued to speak Norwegian in their homes and eating lutefisk (practices that were put to use by the US Army in WWII).
Indeed, The Atlantic looked at the question in Should Immigration Require Assimilation?, discovering that more recent immigrants have taken up "Americanism" just like earlier generations:
A close evaluation of Hispanic acculturation data suggests there was scant reason to worry that their growing presence in the country would dilute America’s national identity or lead to cultural separatism. The 2000 Fairfax County survey of Salvadoran immigrants like Call found that while 83 percent had arrived in the United States with no English at all, most of their children by the time of the survey spoke English well enough to translate for them. In a 2007 article, four political scientists examined available data for Hispanic immigrants and found that they “acquire English and lose Spanish rapidly beginning with the second generation” and that their educational attainment and political attitudes suggest “a traditional pattern of political assimilation.” A scholar at the RAND Corporation, after comparing the trajectories of various ethnic groups in America, found that “education advances made by Latinos are actually greater than those achieved by either Europeans or Asian migrants,” meaning that as a group their educational attainment rose steadily from generation to generation. Hispanics were joining the American mainstream, just as previous immigrants had.
That might not fit in so well with Hagedorn's politics of insult, but there it is.
Hagedorn is seeking to unseat Mankato Democrat Tim Walz, who was first elected in 2006. Walz is rumored to be considering running for Minnesota governor in 2018; incumbent Mark Dayton will not be seeking re-election.
Photo: New Americans take the oath of citizenship, COD Newsroom / Flickr via the Atlantic.
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