I don’t completely buy the demographic Armageddon

I keep seeing articles like the one below. They may be the words of a Republican, but they’re often posted by progressive leaning sites for a reason: if not wishful thinking it’s certainly the hopeful variety. The gist of it is everyone is predicting the end of the GOP if they don’t get it together on Latinos. They key word there is if, by which I mean it’s a near certainty they will, sooner or later.

TPM — Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., on Sunday told conservatives who are trying to block the measure that they will doom the party and all but guarantee a Democrat will remain in the White House after 2016’s election. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., went a step further and predicted “there’ll never be a road to the White House for the Republican Party” if immigration overhaul fails to pass.

It’s true this presents some problems for conservatives, especially for 2016. They are heavily invested in the Southern Strategy and, more recently, have enthusiastically demonized Latinos along with African-Americans and the poor.

But let’s keep a few things in mind: politicians in general are craven, shameless opportunists and they’ve very charming about it. People in general and Republicans in particular have a mighty bad short-term memory, just a few years ago they were cheering on a lot of policies Obama has adopted, they had no difficulty at all flip-flopping nimbly and hating on him and them. The conservative base has proven itself rather agile in this respect as well. A few years form now, with enough marketing and religious mumbo-jumbo, I could see Republicans confidently grandstanding in Congress that Spanish be an official language alongside English without missing a beat.

The GOP is great at playing subsets of poor and middle-class people off against one another, anyone who thinks they can’t do that with Latinos is dreaming. Last but certainly not least, they have the money to buy off influential individuals and put them to work singing their praises. Make the check big enough and you’ll find ER trauma surgeons willing to swear under oath that anaphylactic shock is an evil left-wing myth.

Right now the majority of Latinos vote progressive, but that’s mostly because of the unchained racist wing in the GOP, not because of anything democrats have actually done. When and if it becomes politically expedient to downplay the racist angle and pursue Latinos, the Republican Party  might prove plenty capable of peeling off enough new voters to make a difference.


  1. loreo says

    The Irish became white people in this country. The same forces are working to make Latin@s white people as well.

  2. says

    There’s already a broad ethno-cultural split between European-descent-only American Hispanics who have always regarded themselves as white and mestizo-descended American Hispanics who identify as people of colour. It would be very easy for politicians to wedge these two groups.

  3. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    @ ^ tigtog : Shh .. don’t give them any nasty ideas. They come up with more than enough of those on their own.

  4. says

    Latinos will be fully integrated into American culture they’re able to be shitty to the next wave of immigrants.

    I call it the Pat Buchanan rule.

  5. atheist says

    @d.c.wilson – June 17, 2013 at 8:06 pm (UTC -6)

    I call it the Pat Buchanan rule.

    Good one!

  6. atheist says

    Also, I see @loreo and @tigtog have already drawn the broad outlines to a strategy that could possibly enable the Republicans to pull in Latinos while still remaining very racist. So like the others I agree with Mr. Andrew’s view that while Latinos may be a problem for the Republicans, they aren’t a doomsday situation. They’re just the latest wave.

  7. bad Jim says

    I strongly disagree. Racism is the heart and soul of the party at this point. Look what’s going on with the immigration bill: the Republicans are even more opposed than they were when Bush was president, and Marco Rubio isn’t sure he can actually support policies he originated. Recall that what torpedoed Rick Perry’s candidacy last year was a modicum of decency concerning immigrant children.

    Sure, the Republicans could change, but it won’t be any time soon.

  8. jasmyn says

    We don’t have an official language at the federal level, but I guess that wouldn’t stop a republican from saying something like that.

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