Republicans don’t care about anyone but rich folks and white folks?? Surprise, surprise…
On Monday, a basic question about what the GOP should do to get Latinos to appeal to their party literally turned into a vicious discussion about building a wall along the Mexico-U.S. border, how the DREAM Act is a horrible piece of legislation, and the typical Republican talking points about how bad illegal immigration is for the country.
Remember, the question had nothing to do with confronting illegal immigration. It was a softball question that any amateur politician could have answered in their sleep. About the only one who looked like a sane human being was Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who defended his efforts to provide state tuition to the children of illegal immigrants, a position that was met with resistance from the other candidates and the tea party audience.
Whether it was a foaming-at-the-mouth Rick Santorum or a pouncing Bachmann, what every candidate on that stage should have said is that Latinos should be attracted to the GOP for the same reason as white voters. The common issues of a good education, low crime, a chance to live the American Dream cut across every age, race, gender and ethnicity.
But when the GOP hears Latinos, it’s as if something clicks that says, “Oh, yeah! Illegal immigrants!”
There is no doubt that the ignoring of the original question showed the true intentions of the Republicans on the stage, and you would have thought that Democrats would have seized on the moment, hitting Hispanic radio and TV over the next few days, and driving home the point of a Republican Party that is hostile to Latinos.
According to Matt Barreto, a professor at the University of Washington, and a partner with a market research company Latino Decisions:
“In order to win the presidency in 2012, the Republican challenger is going to need to carry 40% or more of the Latino vote nationally. However most candidates in the Republican field seem to be doing everything they can to run away from Latino voters as they court the conservative Tea Party crowd,” Barreto told me. “As they currently stand, the Republican field has absolutely no strategy to connect, outreach, or appeal to Latino voters, which polling numbers back up.
“In the August 2011 impreMedia/Latino Decisions tracking poll, 45% of Latinos said Republicans don’t care about the Latino community; 27% said Republicans were outright hostile to Latinos; and just 18% said Republicans were doing a good job connecting with Latino voters. Likewise, there doesn’t seem to be any movement in favor of voting Republican among Latinos in 2012.
“Back in November 2010, Latino Decisions reported that 19% of Latino voters said they would vote Republican in 2012, and in our August 2011 tracking poll, exactly 19% say they will vote Republican in 2012,” Barreto said.
Sounds like Latino issues and immigration is the elephant in the room (no pun intended) that Republicans better start to acknowledge if they plan to take out the POTUS in 2012.