washington, dc

The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Latinos Turning Off to GOP’s Two Faces

In his American Prospect article “GOP Candidates Alienate Latino Voters,” Paul Waldman reports that Democrats are benefiting substantially from the Republican leadership’s immigrant-bashing and nativist attitudes, now on vivid display in the GOP presidential horse-race. Waldman notes Romney’s recent sneering reference to New York as “poster child of sanctuary cities” under Guiliani, and adds,

There is no doubt that Romney and the rest of the Republican field will find an audience for anti-immigration rhetoric in the primaries. But by indulging this particular corner of the Republican id, they could be doing monumental, long-term damage to their party….when a party says again and again that you and people like you are the biggest problem facing the country, it’s hard to muster up enthusiasm for its candidates. If the GOP keeps this up, Latino Republicans could become like gay Republicans, a tiny, beleaguered group waging a daily battle against cognitive dissonance, scapegoated by their own party and mocked by their friends for associating with people who despise them.

But Waldman predicts that the Republicans’ nativist rhetoric will suddenly disappear once their presidential candidate is nominated, due to the strength of Hispanic demographic trends in battleground states:

There will be no more talk of building walls, of freeloading immigrants sucking our health system dry, of the vital importance of declaring English our national language. Questions on immigration will be answered with dodges and vagueness, the subject quickly changed to something safer.

But Waldman says it won’t work because “Latinos certainly know which party is against them.” Latinos favored Democratic congressional candidates by a 39 point margin in 2006, and if the GOP field keeps it up, Dems could do even better in ’08.

5 comments on “Latinos Turning Off to GOP’s Two Faces

  1. LJ on

    Because Democratic social engineering is race and gender based, rather than class based, the Democratic Party has surrendered the working class white male vote to the Republicans. The Immigration Reform billed failed because too many whites feel they have been socially engineered to death, and they know just whom to blame. The Party has to think more in class terms.

    Reply
  2. Thomas More on

    “try to imagine saying “the current debate in the Republican party is fundamentally neither anti-immigrant or nativist” with an absolutely straight face to someone whose opinion you respect without feeling an urge to either snort, chuckle or grin.”
    OK Joe! You win on that one!
    But I would suggest its much more than “a significant number” the vast majotity oppose this. Yes there are yahoo’s, but the vast majority are just American’s that oppose illegal immigration on legal, moral, economic, social grounds. Not because of race, not nativists nor any other tags from the tired ethnic lobby.
    I guess I’m trying to say at present I believe we are on the wrong side of this question and the leadership is possibly sinking our ship.

    Reply
  3. Joe Corso on

    It is true that there are a significant number of Americans who oppose illegal immigration but who are neither racist or against legal immigration. Speaking carefully to avoid needlessly antagonizing this group is a reasonable suggestion.
    On the other hand, the idea that the current debate in the Republican primaries is fundamentally not “anti-immigrant” nor “nativist” is, to put it mildly, somewhat more of a stretch. Use the laugh test – try to imagine saying “the current debate in the Republican party is fundamentally neither anti-immigrant or nativist” with an absolutely straight face to someone whose opinion you respect without feeling an urge to either snort, chuckle or grin.

    Reply
  4. Thomas More on

    “There is no doubt that Romney and the rest of the Republican field will find an audience for anti-immigration rhetoric in the primaries.”
    “Waldman predicts that the Republicans’ nativist rhetoric”
    Opposing illegal immigration does not make you anti-immigrant nor does opposing illegal immigration make you a racist.
    Calling people racists and using dishonest language to attack them will not serve us well.
    Most Hispanics that are US citizens oppose illegal immigration, most democrats and independents oppose it. Last count over 74% of all US citizens opposed it.
    Could it be that this type of racist pandering….advocating illegal immigration, encouraging breaking the law may cost us votes?
    Courting openly racist organizations like LaRaza, throwing around charges of racism, xenophobia, nativsm when someone opposes illegal immigration is a loser for the candidate, the party and America.

    Reply
  5. ChicanoDem on

    We can’t depend on Republican rasicm as our organizing tool. The folks over at the Coronado Project have it right in their latest memo when they say that getting the Latino vote for the long-term will take actual organizing and structures that are currently lacking in the democratic party.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.