A good article by Benji Darlin suggests that the GOP is experiencing a backlash and revision when it comes to wooing the Latino vote. After Romney lost last year, almost every Republican politician and pundit suggested that the GOP needed to woo Latinos if it was going to remain a viable party.
After the past few weeks, and with an immigration bill looming, that narrative has changed:
The new argument sees immigration reform at best as a divisive distraction from the GOP’s real problem of countering “white flight” from the polls. At worst, they view it as an electoral apocalypse, a seventh seal behind which lies an unbroken line of future Democratic presidents.
As the Senate’s bipartisan immigration bill moves to the House, whose members are overwhelmingly planted in safe GOP districts, the stakes couldn’t be higher for comprehensive reform. Whether it passes will be determined in large part by which of the two narratives can win over the conservative mainstream.
At the moment, the anti-immigration argument appears to be gaining converts fast. On election night, Fox News anchor Brit Hume called the “demographic” threat posed by Latino voters“absolutely real” and suggested Mitt Romney’s “hardline position on immigration” may be to blame for election losses. On Monday, Hume declared that argument “baloney.” The Hispanic vote, he said, “is not nearly as important, still, as the white vote.”
Sean Hannity, a reliable bellwether on the right, has been on a similar journey since the fall. He announced the day after President Obama’s re-election that he had “evolved” on immigration reform and now supported a “path to citizenship” in order to improve relations with Hispanic voters. Hannity has now flipped hard against the Senate’s bill.
You also have those like Rush Limbaugh, arguing that all the Republicans need to do is become MORE conservative, and they will increase their "white vote", ensuring future election victories.
One can imagine if these pundits are wrong. If they are wrong, the Republican party is sent spiraling downward. They'll never get Latinos again.
If the GOP consciously concedes the Hispanic vote to the degree they have conceded the African-American vote (a move they seem committed to replicating), sooner or later (and admittedly, it could take years), the math won’t add up.
Writing-off a constituency isn’t good for anybody, including the written-off constituency. But what bothers me most about the notion that more Hispanics will automatically equate to more Democrats is what it implies. Assuming Hispanics are somehow “unwinnable” means either that, 1). conservative ideas aren’t compelling enough to compete in the market place of ideas, 2). conservative policies are actually only beneficial to whites, or 3.) Hispanics either don’t get it – or are simply predisposed to be liberal (and no amount of cajoling or persuasion can change that.)
These theories range from protectionist and defeatist — to infuriating and insulting.