The GOP’s Immigration Problem

Here’s another example of the major problems the Republican Party has in trying to reach out to new constituencies while simultaneously holding on to old ones. In addition to gay rights, they have a similar problem on immigration, where they can’t appeal to Hispanic voters and to the right wing at the same time:

For the Republicans in Washington who hoped a new bipartisan push for immigration reform would give their party a fresh start, a new face, and a second chance with Latino voters, 2013 is instead reviving some of their worst memories.

The legislation currently winding through the Senate with the help of party superstar Sen. Marco Rubio is still very much in play, and could well become the first law in a generation to address the country’s immigration morass. But as conservative criticism of the reform effort grows louder, many Republican operatives, donors, and consultants are bracing for an outcome that would be even worse, politically, than the demise of the bill: a fierce, national, right-wing backlash that drowns out the GOP’s friendlier voices, dominates Telemundo and Univision, and dashes any hopes the party had of making inroads to the Hispanic electorate by 2016.

“We are really balanced here on a little precipice, and if this, pardon the pun, goes south, we could be in very serious trouble,” said Republican media strategist Paul Wilson, citing the increasingly intense attacks on the immigration bill coming from the right. “If [the legislation] stalls or is killed off by conservatives, we could take the Hispanic community and turn them into the African-American community, where we get 4% on a good day… We could be a lost party for generations.”

I think this is part of the reason why conservatives are being so completely ridiculous over the last few years, with their wildly exaggerated and paranoid rhetoric against Obama. What else do they have? When you can’t make a serious appeal on policy grounds, demagoguery is about all you have left.

9 comments on this post.
  1. doublereed:

    I don’t know what they are thinking. This will just turn the right against Rubio, not appeal to hispanics.

    But then, when you’re the party of homophobia, racism, and misogyny, it’s difficult to break out of that.

  2. Modusoperandi:

    They can make a “serious appeal on policy grounds” but their policies, for some reason, don’t appeal to most people. And the GOP doesn’t demagogue. It’s Obama who once called Wall Street bankers “fatcats”, remember.
    In any event THERE’S A SECRET CHICOM ARMY JUST ACROSS THE BORDER, TRAINING IN AL QAEDA CAMPS IN MEXICO, ARMED WITH OBAMAS FAST & FURIOUS GUNS!

  3. freemage:

    “…if this, pardon the pun, goes south”.

    Heh. Heheheheh. I’m sure he was saying it was a pun about Mexico being to the south of us, but it also can be read as a wonderful description of what’s wrong with the Republican Party–they’ve reached the endgame of the Southern Strategy and are CHOKING on it.

    Schadenfreude is so, so sweet….

  4. Synfandel:

    The party of wealthy, white, over-45, Christian males can still win in 2016. They just need a full court press on gerrymandering and voter suppression.

  5. Didaktylos:

    To take a leaf out of Berthold Brecht’s book, if the People won’t support the Party, the Party will abolish them and create another …

  6. laurentweppe:

    When you can’t make a serious appeal on policy grounds, demagoguery is about all you have left.

    The funniest thing is that Clint Eastwood’s “Speech of the Chair” may go down in history as the deepest and most serious criticism against Obama produced by a republican.

  7. busterggi:

    In short – Repubs can’t appeal to anyone other than theocratic white supremacists – congrats Pat Buchannan and the rest who designed the Southern Strategy.

  8. Ben P:

    I don’t know what they are thinking. This will just turn the right against Rubio, not appeal to hispanics.

    But then, when you’re the party of homophobia, racism, and misogyny, it’s difficult to break out of that.

    I don’t think you can forget that Hispanics, by in large, are both more religious and in some populations, particularly cubans, poll with more typical economic conservative attitudes than the nation as a whole.

    So there’s not necessarily an objective reason why a certain kind of republicans couldn’t win hispanics over, and Democrats would be wise not to forget that.

    That said, as long as the republican “tent” includes people like Tom Tancredo, Hispanics are fare too turned off by the “send all the brown people back to the home countries” to actually consider what the GOP is saying.

  9. gwangung:

    Hm….I think it’s more complicated than this. There are at least two factors that Republicans neglect.

    First, while a lot of the cultural values may point Republican, many of them also point Democratic, such as support for schools (MUCH greater and more tangible on the Democratic side than the Republican side).

    Second, for a lot of recent immigrants, they were emigrating from countries that were dominated by a wealthy elite,enforced by the existing government, that made it hard for small businesses to survive. Almost all of the stated Republican policies look like they aim to turn the US into a carbon copy of what they left. What the Republicans advocate are pretty much non-starters ECONOMICALLY for Hispanics.

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