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News Monday, May 11 2015

Somewhere, Whit Ayres Is Scratching His Head

May 11, 2015

Here’s the premise, laid-down by Republican pollster Whit Ayres: the GOP presidential nominee will need to take at least 45% of the Latino vote to win the White House in 2016.

That’s a tall order, considering Mitt Romney won just 27% of this voting bloc in 2012 and John McCain did just slightly better in 2008, winning 31%. So naturally the Republican Party has studied why they’ve done poorly with Hispanics in presidential elections, most recently in a postmortem after the 2012 election.

“We must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform. If we do not, our Party’s appeal will continue to shrink to its core constituencies only,” wrote the authors of the report from the RNC. “If Hispanic Americans hear that the GOP doesn’t want them in the United States, they won’t pay attention to our next sentence. It doesn’t matter what we say about education, jobs or the economy.

In retrospect, the way these recommendations have been ignored is almost laughable. Comprehensive immigration reform was held hostage by the Tea Party in the House; executive actions taken by the president to protect DREAMers and keep families together were dramatically decried as overreach; and the tone of the Republican Party on issues important to the Latino community is set by the likes of cantaloupe-conspiracy-theorist Steve King.

Even worse for the GOP is how their leading 2016 presidential candidates are completely ignoring the need to make in-roads with the Latino community on immigration reform:

Tampa Bay Times on Marco Rubio: “Over the years we’ve noticed how his tone shifts depending on whether he’s on, say, Fox News, or speaking to the lamestream media. Rubio will use more aggressive words with conservative media or audiences than he would in a more general setting…It’s a small example of a big issue that continues to present challenges for Rubio. When Hillary Clinton went all-in on immigration the other day, Rubio remained silent even though her assertion that no Republican supports a path to citizenship was off the mark.

National Review on Scott Walker: “Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, the all-but-declared Republican presidential candidate currently leading the polls in Iowa, sounds more like Alabama senator Jeff Sessions when he discusses immigration issues these days … No committee chair in the Senate draws a harder line on immigration, legal or illegal, than Sessions.”

So let’s face it, the Republicans are starting in a hole and they just keep digging. Somewhere, Whit Ayres must be scratching his head and preparing for his party’s defeat in 2016.

Published: May 11, 2015

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