Monday, March 28, 2011

Well, Duh!

WaPo's Chris Cillizza makes a pretty good case that the GOP has a rocky road ahead of them when it comes to the new demographics.

The numbers are eye-opening. Hispanics now account for more than 16 percent of the total population, making them the largest minority group in the country. More than half of all population growth in the United States over the past decade came from Hispanics. Perhaps most amazing is that nearly a quarter — 23 percent — of all children age 17 or younger are Latino.

That’s a major problem for Republicans, given that in the 2008 presidential election, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) — far from the GOP’s most ardent advocate of stricter immigration laws — won just 31 percent of the Hispanic vote, according to exit polls.

As Republican candidates at all levels continue to pander to their basest base on the issue, pushing for draconian laws at the federal and state levels which absolutely preclude any kind of "amnesty" for immigrants already here, the problems will only get worse. Just ask California's Republicans: last November they lost every single statewide office and one of the main reasons was they could not gain any traction with Latino voters.

Mike Murphy, a senior Republican strategist who worked on former eBay chief executive Meg Whitman’s unsuccessful campaign for California governor in 2010, argues that the reason his side has struggled to make inroads with Hispanics is “mostly driven by the fact that too many Republicans have attempted to use illegal immigration as a wedge issue.” ...

Murphy describes it as a “base-driven strategy that has injected red-hot rhetoric into our party’s message on immigration,” adding: “Primary politics have made the situation even worse.” (Murphy suggests that GOP opposition to some sort of path toward legalization is a “non-starter” for Hispanic voters.)

The state's Democrats, however, didn't take anything for granted, especially with the well-heeled candidacies of Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina staring them in the face. The Dems, with the help of unions, went block by block urging Latinos eligible to vote to turn out to avoid the harsh promises made by Republicans. It worked.

As the 2012 presidential primary system starts heating up (even without any clearly declared candidates), I suspect that the GOP still won't get the message. The Tea Party and the Fundagelicals will continue to call the tune. I would imagine that's what President Obama is counting on.

Unfortunately, that also means that we won't get any meaningful immigration reform legislation this year.

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