California Assemblyman Joe Baca is successfulrnin having his proposed legislationrnenacted, all California students 18 yearsrnor older will be registered to vote as partrnof their U.S. government and civicsrncourses.rnThis insidious plan on the part of thernMexican government and its Americanrnallies to indoctrinate Mexican expatriatesrnin undying loyalty to the countryrnfrom which they so willingly fled is unconscionablernas well as of dubious constitutionality:rnthe Mexican governmentrnhas admitted its political motives behindrnthe adult and teen education programs,rnciting concern about the number ofrnMexican immigrants in the UnitedrnStates still voting at home and influencingrnevents there.rnPolitical motives also lie behind thernrecent demands of Latino and otherrnethnic students for “cultural studies”rndepartments. The hunger strike and violentrnprotest (which caused $30,000 inrndamage) for a Chicano studies departmentrnat UCLA and the demonstrationrnfor an Asian-American studies departmentrnat the University of California-rnIrvine earlier this year illustrated thatrnstudent interest in ethnic studies is notrnpurely intellectual. “It’s no longer just anrnacademic question. It has become arnsymbol,” said California Senator Art Torres,rnwho threatened to block state fundingrnto UCLA if the demands of Latinornstudents were not met. As Latinos onrncampus waved Mexican flags and bannersrnreading “500 Years of Resistance,”rntrue Americans had to ask: A symbol ofrnwhat?rnI close with an excerpt from a letterrnwritten by historian Lord Macaulay tornH.S. Randall (biographer of Thomas Jefferson)rnin 1857: “As I said before, whenrna society has entered this downwardrnprogress, either liberty or civilizationrnmust perish. Either some Caesar orrnNapoleon will seize the reigns of governmentrnwith a strong hand or your Republicrnwill be as fearlessly plundered andrnlaid waste by the barbarians in the 20thrncentury as the Roman Empire was in thernfifth, with the difference that the hunsrnand vandals who ravaged the RomanrnEmpire came from without, and yourrnhuns and vandals will have been engenderedrnwithin your own country by vourrnown institutions.”rnRuth Coffey is president of S.l.N.rn(Stop Immigration Nowj in Long Beach,rnCahfornia.rnThe Facts andrnFiction of ElectionrnReformsrnby Steven Schwalmrn1W0 of the Clinton campaign’s centralrnpromises aimed at reducing thernfederal budget deficit and “reinventing”rngovernment. Unfortunately, PresidentrnClinton’s recently unveiled campaign financernreform plan will do neither. Thernmost dramatic step the President couldrntake toward accomplishing his goalsrnwould be to resist congressmen’s desiresrnon the topic closest to their hearts: electionrnlaws.rnThe President’s plans to lower the PoliticalrnAction Committee (PAC) contributionrnlimit of $5,000 to match the individualrnlimit of $1,000, to prohibitrn”bundling” of contributions, and to banrnlobbyists from giving or soliciting campaignrnfunds have all been abandoned inrnthe face of opposition from the HousernDemocratic leadership. What remainsrnclosely resembles the I louse and Senaternbills H.R. 3 and S. 3, respectively. Thesernbills, similar to last year’s campaign financernreform bill, offer tax dollars tornease incumbents’ fundraising choresrnwhile making it more difficult for crediblernchallengers to mount winning campaigns.rnThese bills will cost hundreds ofrnmillions of federal dollars annually andrnfurther entrench the status quo in Washington.rnCongressmen have a direct stake inrnelection laws. Election reforms shouldrnmake elections more competitive; instead,rnpast “reforms” have increased thernalready formidable advantage enjoyedrnby congressional incumbents. Both ofrnthe new election reform bills would continuernthis trend. Candidate Clinton proclaimed,rn”You have to be for changingrnbusiness as usual in Washington.” Thern”motor-voter” bill and Congress’s campaignrnfinance reform package both servernonly to retrench the old guard.rnCongress intends to pass a campaignrnfinance reform package similar to thernbill (also known as S.3) vetoed by PresidentrnBush last year. The public financingrnand spending limits in these billsrnwould reinstate the complete provisionsrnof the original S.3044, upon which ourrnpresent campaign finance system isrnbased. That bill contained mandatoryrnspending limits, limits on independentrnspending by national parties, and contributionrnlimits. The Senate version of thernbill included public financing of congressionalrncampaigns as well.rnThe Senate’s public financing provisionsrnwere dropped from S.3044 in thernHouse-Senate conference committee,rnand the bill’s mandatory spending limitsrnwere ultimately invalidated by thernSupreme Court in Buckley v. Valeo. Still,rnwhat remained of the bill was enough tornsecure incumbents comfortably in electedrnoffice. While the 1974 law outlawedrncorporate donations and severely limitedrnindividual contributions, it gave PoliticalrnAction Committees—then used primarilyrnby labor unions—a fivefold advantagernover individual contributors. WhilernPACs could give $5,000 per candidate,rnwith no overall limit, individuals couldrngive only $1,000 per candidate and nornmore than $25,000 total.rnThe predictable result was an explosionrnin the number and influence ofrnspecial-interest PACs. In 1974,608 PACsrnspent under $20 million on congressionalrnraces. By 1988, there were 4,172 PACsrnpumping $150 million into House andrnSenate races. The overwhelming majorityrnof this money goes to incumbents.rnA Eederal Election Commission (FEC)rnstudy found that, despite (or perhaps inrnresponse to) the general public’s distasternfor politicians in 1992, PAC giving wasrnup 14 percent. In House races incumbentsrnreceived 97 percent of this PACrnmoney; in the Senate incumbents receivedrn92 percent. As one memo circulatedrnat a company that relics on governmentrncontracts explained: “Access tornthese people is theoretically not bought,rnbut if you want to see them in a timelyrnmanner, it is expected for us to make arncontribution.”rnThe 1974 “reforms” worked likernmagic. In 1974, less than 88 percent ofrnHouse incumbents won reelection. Byrn1988, that figure had risen to a nearperfectrn98.5 percent. The margins alsornwidened. Incumbents unopposed orrnwinning by margins of over 20 pointsrnjumped from 69 percent to 86 percentrnduring that period.rnThe new reforms pick up right wherernthe old ones left off. Congress and thernClinton administration have presentedrnplans that still favor special interest money,rnbut they include as well both thernpublic financing and spending limitsrnthat did not survive the first round of reforms.rnIn the jujitsu of congressional reform,rnfailure of a portion of the earlierrnDECEMBER 1993/47rnrnrn