“If and when Congress votes on a new immigration bill — whatever the “triggers,” timetables or other provisos — the real issue to be decided will be the same as it has been from the beginning. That issue is whether the Republican Party, dazed from a daily pounding by the Washington press corps, will agree to commit political suicide by enfranchising 11 plus million illegal aliens on U.S. soil, the vast majority of whom will soon be casting Democratic ballots.”

So wrote the great M. Stanton Evans, who passed away on Tuesday. Having been at the forefront of the movement to draft Ronald Reagan and defeat the Evil Empire, Evans had recently turned to the next greatest danger for America: immigration.

As I’m sure you’ve read by now, Evans helped kick off the American Conservative Union’s first-ever CPAC in January 1974 and invited Gov. Ronald Reagan to speak. (This was back when CPAC mattered.)

That conference occurred in the middle of the Watergate scandal. If you think things look bad now, right-wingers, imagine how it looked back then. Conservatives were already livid over President Nixon’s wage and price controls, and then got hit with stories about members of the Nixon administration breaking into Democrat headquarters and burglarizing the psychiatrist’s office of Pentagon Papers-leaker Daniel Ellsberg.

Stan confessed to the CPAC conferees that he never liked Nixon until Watergate. He apologized to Nixon speechwriter, Pat Buchanan, saying he wouldn’t have been so tough on the administration if he’d know about “all that great stuff you guys were doing.”

A few years later, the conservative movement suffered another blow when Reagan ran for president a second time in 1976 and lost the primary to Gerald Ford, who then lost the presidential election to Jimmy Carter. Conservatives were in despair and champing at the bit to start a third party.

After the twice-defeated Reagan spoke to cheering throngs at CPAC in 1977, Evans, who opposed the third-party option, told him, “Governor, we got your message, and I think you got ours.” Reagan ran for president a third time, won the presidency and saved the country.

(One thing you must always remember, right-wingers: Never run the same guy for president three times. Look how that turned out!)

Someone needs to put together a book of Stan’s quips because — as with Joe Sobran’s jokes — I am sure that a lot of us are using them still, without realizing their provenance. For decades, Stan was tapped to MC every conservative event in Washington because of his dry wit. He wrote beautifully, but avoided humor in his writing, something I attribute to the Yale education. In person, he was effortlessly hilarious, all the time, right up to his dying day — or at least up until two weeks ago when I last talked to him.

Stan pushed Reagan to run for president — back when many of the people now claiming credit for Reagan were running off to start a third party or supporting a Bush — and he had a major influence on Reagan’s economic policies in the White House through his writings for Human Events.

Reagan had developed a lot of his views reading Human Events and didn’t stop reading it when he became president. After Human Events’ Allan Ryskind bashed some Reagan economic policy on the front page, White House Deputy Chief of Staff Mike Deaver called Allan from Air Force One, furious that Reagan had read the piece and demanding that Allan come to the White House.

Allan brought Stan as his wingman. They met in the Roosevelt Room with Office of Management and Budget Director David Stockman, as well as White House officials Jim Baker and Dick Darman, Attorney General Ed Meese and others, most of them mad as hell that Reagan read this piss-ant publication and had called the meeting.

Stan laid into Stockman, insisting that the books had been “cooked.” Reagan walked in and out, enjoying Stockman’s dressing-down and siding with Stan and Allan. Before they left, Reagan told them, “Fellas, I’ve been reading you more but enjoying it less.”

That’s pretty cool. Yet and still, I believe Stan’s most lasting legacy will be his defense of Sen. Joe McCarthy.

Telling the truth about McCarthy was a lifetime hobby of Stan’s. It had become an obsession about the time I was working at Human Events and having lunch every week with Stan, Allan and Human Events editor Tom Winter. We’d get Stan’s wry observations about current events, but also hear about his latest discovery of this or that never-before-seen document revealing the Democrats’ fraternizing with Stalin’s agents.

Stan gave me a few teaser documents for my book Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism, which liberals denounced on the grounds that I wore short skirts and also that it was insufficiently “scholarly.”

A couple years later, they got “scholarly” — and no short skirts — with Stan’s 600-plus-page opus, Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America’s Enemies.

Liberals can keep putting out their silly little movies about the BNOFUM (Black Night of Fascism Under McCarthy), but it’s over. The truth is out, for all to see. Documents proving McCarthy’s case, as well as the left’s campaign of lies about him, will always be just an Amazon click away.

I can’t remember Stan being on the wrong side of any issue — including when he was screaming from the rooftops that Republicans’ work was not done just because they had managed to block Hillarycare.

The GOP argument that “America has the best health care in the world!” may have sufficed to stop Hillarycare, but it was not going stop national health care forever. Fix it, he said. Make it market-based. Allow competition. Otherwise, some other Democrat would come along and dump socialized medicine on the country.

He was right about that, and he’s right about immigration being the most dangerous threat to America’s survival since the Cold War. Immigration, Stan wrote a few years ago, “is strictly about the votes, and nothing but the votes. All the rest is sham and smokescreen. Obama and his party want their 70 percent of these 11-plus million illegals and will stop at nothing to get it.”

Two weeks ago, he told me not to give up. And neither should you, America.