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Sunday, October 23, 2016

In June, as the U.S. Senate debated comprehensive immigration reform, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) voiced a commonly held theme among mainstream Republicans: After getting blown out among Hispanic and Latino voters in the 2012 elections, the GOP needed to get onboard with immigration reform, or face certain doom as America’s fastest growing minority continues to add more and more Democratic votes to the electorate.

“[I]f we don’t pass immigration reform, if we don’t get it off the table in a reasonable, practical way, it doesn’t matter who you run in 2016,” Graham told NBC’s David Gregory at the time. “We’re in a demographic death spiral as a party and the only way we can get back in good graces with the Hispanic community in my view is pass comprehensive immigration reform. If you don’t do that, it really doesn’t matter who we run in my view.”

At the time, I disputed Senator Graham’s claim that immigration reform could get the GOP “back in good graces with the Hispanic community,” arguing that it was just one of many issues on which Hispanic voters fundamentally disagree with the Republican Party:

According to a wide-ranging Pew Research study from April 2012, Hispanics are politically predisposed to the Democratic Party. The study found that 30 percent of Hispanics describe themselves as “liberal,” compared to just 21 percent of the general population. Only 32 percent describe themselves as “conservative,” compared to 34 percent of the population at large.

Furthermore, Hispanics clearly favor a Democratic vision of government. When asked whether they would prefer a bigger government providing more services or a smaller government providing fewer services, they chose big government by a staggering 75 to 19 percent margin. By contrast, the general population favors a smaller government by a 48 to 41 percent.

In short: Partnering with Democrats on comprehensive immigration reform certainly wouldn’t hurt the Republican Party among Hispanic voters, but it would fall far short of being the political game changer that Republicans like Graham hope. At the end of the day, there is just too much distance between the GOP’s priorities and those of the Hispanic community to imagine a major political shift.

Four months later, this divide is more clear than ever. Not only has the Republican Party failed to move the ball forward on immigration reform — allowing it to languish in the House as the latest victim of the fictional “Hastert Rule” — but it has continued to take positions on other issues that are certain to keep pushing Hispanic voters away from the GOP.

The Republican-driven government shutdown, for example, had a disproportionately negative impact on Hispanic and Latino families. According to Leticia Miranda, senior policy advisor for the National Council of La Raza, 37 percent of children in Head Start programs and 42 percent of Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program participants are Latino. Additionally, about 24 percent of the federal employees who faced furloughs during the crisis were Hispanic. A few positive gestures on immigration won’t erase the damage the Republican Party did to these families.

Moreover, the Affordable Care Act — which Republicans vainly hoped to kill by shutting down the government — is actually quite popular within the Hispanic community. In September, a Pew Research survey found that 61 percent of Hispanic-Americans support the health care law — well above the 42 percent approval rating that the law held in the poll among the general population. This makes sense, considering that Hispanics are the most underinsured demographic in the nation, and some 10 million Hispanics could gain coverage under the law. Don’t expect them to forget that the Republican Party shut down the government in an effort to stop that from happening.

These are just two of several issues — including education and gun reform — on which polls find Hispanics siding strongly with Democratic governing priorities over the GOP’s. Ultimately, even if Republicans do shift their position and sign on to a comprehensive immigration reform deal, they cannot expect to rapidly gain support among the Hispanic community. At least not unless they fundamentally change a platform that has been specifically tailored to attract voters with a completely different set of values.

Photo: Stephen D. Melkisethian via Flickr

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Copyright 2013 The National Memo
  • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

    Until the Republicans can finally get rid of the individuals who feel their job is to “shake things up” and not to “govern” then we will deal with a Republican Party who continually alienates everybody. After their moves on Food Stamps and Social Security/Medicare reorganization, they have added seniors and Military families to the list of lost supporters. Pretty soon their sole support will be one guy in Dubuque.

  • Dominick Vila

    Millions of legal Hispanics/Latinos are registering as Democrats, not necessarily because they share some of the policies supported by the Democratic party – especially the abortion issue – but because of the intransigence of so many Republicans and the overt hatred of Latinos that Tea Party activists show time and again. They are joining the overwhelming majority of African Americans, women, gays, students and the poor who, like them, have concluded that the Republican values they once admired have been replaced by extremism and refusal to compromise.
    The most ominous fact for the GOP is the number of white males that are registering as Independents because of the intransigence of their old party, their refusal to seek middle ground, and their inability to offer alternative solutions to the problems we face as a nation. I am convinced that what is happening to the GOP has more to do with their record and their proposals, or lack thereof, than because they prefer traditional Democratic policies.

    • highpckts

      My only concern is ( silly I admit) I just wish the immigrants would learn the language of this country! Do us the courtesy of at least trying!!

      • stcroixcarp

        Learning a language, especially English, is a long process for adults. Children learn much quicker. Many people who come to America, legally or otherwise, work very long hours at back breaking jobs. Can you imagine working a 10 hour shift milking cows and shoveling manure in a factory dairy farm? Then clean yourself up and go learn English. Women often are isolated in their homes taking care of children and have very little opportunity to learn or speak English. Learning English is not a courtesy issue.

        • nirodha

          Beginning back in the 1890s, increasing numbers of Italians began immigrating to America, especially the Northeast. Those first generation immigrants settled in enclaves in the big cities, and went to work initially doing the kinds of jobs they had in the old country. They may have had a tough time learning English, but here in Boston, they made damn sure that their kids went to school, learned English, and for the boys, got a trade. Within a generation, they were for the most part pretty fully integrated into Boston’s populace. And by dint of hard work and study, they became very successful. As a kid growing up, just as one example, I had a classmate named Perini. Her grandfather came from Italy, started out in construction, saved his money and started a company with his sons. Lou Perini eventually made enough money that he bought the Boston Braves. Our mayor, Tom Menino, is the first Italian-American mayor of Boston and has served for 20 years. There are many other examples like this. The point is that almost all of us are descended from immigrants, and we need to give the current crop the same opportunities that our forbears had. Have patience, and give them some time. And buona fortuna!

        • Andrew T. Armstrong

          Living in south east Texas there is a lot of Spanish around here. Some are here legal, some not. What i do hate is that the press puts them all in one basket. A person who talks Spanish as a native tongue is not necessarily Mexican. Spanish is the most spoken language in the world, followed by English. Has been that way for years. What is funny, is that even Mexico is having immigration problems from persons from central American countries.

          There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that makes English the language of the land. English has always been the defacto language of the USA. Every government form there is, is available in every language in the world. No other country does that.

          The truth is not every immigrant has the chance to learn English. But, there children do. It took me from my first word and K-12 in school to master English. Do you really expect some one to master English in a mere month or a year or two?

          • omgamike

            No, but IMO they should learn it before coming here. And I would definitely be in favor of English being the official language.

        • dpaano

          I have to agree somewhat with highpckts; and the biggest problem is that our grocery stores, our hardware stores, etc. have signs in both Spanish and English… can a Hispanic who is new to this country learn to assimilate if they continually see their own language? Watching English TV shows, I’ve heard from my Latino friends, is what helped them learn the language…NOT watching shows in Spanish. We need to be like the French and be a little more “pushy” for foreigners to learn the language of the country they are in. Just my personal opinion….

          • ThomasBonsell

            If your stores have signs in both English and Spanish, the Spanish-speaking immigrants (or even native-born Spanish speakers) will lean to associate English words and phrases with Spanish words and phrases.

            That seems to be an ideal method of getting them to learn some English. A language lesson in the dairy aisle.

            I knew a German immigrant in Denver who leaned to speak English by watching Sesame Street. If that would happen, then learning English at the market could also happen.

        • tax payer

          Taking care of the anchor babies they breed every eighteen months will keep them away from learning English in this country. If you make an effort you’ll succeed.

          • your teacher had many years with you and your language is still appalling pops.

      • tax payer

        They don’t even learn the Language of their own country, so you are asking too much of them.

        • Dominick Vila

          Many illegal immigrants are illiterate and only have a rudimentary knowledge of their own language.

          • tax payer

            Once they get here they feel it’s our Obligation to teach their children everything they were never taugh in their own country and the School Districts uses our tax money to educate their Dreamers. That’s the main reason there are Bi-lingual Classes in this country and we know those classes ( Aren’t For Our ) English Speaking Children

          • Dominick Vila

            Foreign language is a mandatory part of the curriculum in most industrialized nations. Instead of worrying about the probability of children of illegal immigrants, including those born in the USA, getting an education, we ought to pay more attention to what OUR children need to be able to compete and to overcome the challenges we face.

          • tax payer

            So true, but the way it looks our children will be second in line after Congress seals the coffin by voting for ( Immigration Reform ) so others will have a chance to get the jobs meant for American children. Right now, people are trying hard to find good paying jobs and we know it’s who you know, if you get that perfect job in this country especially working for ( tax payers ) the Federal Government. Vietnam Veterans had a hard time trying to get into Kelly Field in our city because most people being hired there were children of the employees working there during the summers, so I was sort of happy, when they closed down that Base.

          • not true. pops it must have been 300 years since your children went to the farm school, things have changed since then. I know this is a scary new world to you and your kind, to help you transition I suggest you venture out of the world of your trailer park once and a while and see America.

        • well you haven’t done too well with your language either pops- you have the grammar of a small north Korean child.

      • Dominick Vila

        Most of them do, regardless of where they came from, but that doesn’t happen overnight. Interestingly, most of the Americans I worked with during my long sojourn overseas did not even attempt to learn the language spoken in the countries where we lived in. Most lived in communities that catered to Americans and only mingled with fellow Americans. Obviously, there are benefits to speaking more than one language, and those benefits go well beyond being courteous to the majority of the populace in the host country. One of the reasons we are losing market share on the world stage is because governments and private enterprise worldwide are much more comfortable interacting and doing business with people who speak their language than without who insist on their customers speaking their language. Since we are no longer the only game in town, the impact to our ability to expand and even maintain our market share is very much in question.

        • nirodha

          My wife and I are thinking of moving to Italy part-time after having visited there on a number of occasions. I can speak basic Italian, but in order to live there, need to speak, read and write with considerably more fluency. So, I’m taking Italian lessons, because I’m not xenophobic enough to expect the Italians to speak English just because I’m an American. As an aside, I find it fascinating to learn another language, because of the subtle nuances and distinctions lacking in English.

          • Dominick Vila

            Congratulations on your decision to move part time to Italy and your efforts to learn a foreign language. I am fluent in Spanish, and at one point I could make myself understood in Italian and Portuguese. Speaking foreign languages allow us to learn more about other cultures, help us interact with other people, and it is often an asset when we try to do business abroad.

      • BeansFerSupper

        Silly, silly, highpckts…now the liberals will tell you that this would be offensive to Hispanic peoples, in addition to the fact if they indeed do learn the English language, chances are they’d figure out democrats are not to be trusted, with anything. Slave masters wish to keep the chattel ignorant, thus you’ll have to press a certain number for English.

    • tax payer

      Afro-Americans went out to vote because of Obama, but once he leaves there won’t be any Obama running for President, so back to reality for them.

      • Sand_Cat

        Well, aren’t you a nasty little bigot? But then, everyone here already knew that.

        • tax payer

          I am proud to say ( Yes ) I am a Bigot, so is that against the Law or against your own Law?

      • BeansFerSupper

        Obama being the first half black affirmative action president, liberals will consider it racist if we were not to allow him a chance at a third term. Too bad for Hillary, thrown under the bus, again.

        • tax payer

          Don’t be too sure because he does what he wants, so we have to keep a close eye on him since remember he did allow the children of the illegals to stay and did it without letting us know until it was done, and accepted by him.

          • we did? is there a mouse in your pocket? I guess the gerbil in your rear needed company.

        • bjbstarr11

          You know that President Obama cannot run a third term, so I do not know why you are talking crazy. If Hillary does run and win, she can do any worst the the men that were in office. Remember again, this is why GOP lost the 2012 election for being out of touch with everyday americans.

          • tax payer

            Will there be a Monico for her?

      • bjbstarr11

        Stop the hate. If you are bigot, you will answer for that. We had enough of the bush years and thank GOD that is over. If the GOP had a sensible candidate I would consider voting for that person. But we know how much they care for poor people.

        • tax payer

          Poor people only care ( who is going to provide for their next meal ) and that person is you, and the tax payers. The Republicans believe we are ( for us and only us ) and the Democrats are ( for the poor, and only the poor ). Plain and simple, so I don’t think that’s a form of being a Bigot even though everyone knows I am one such person. Who is God? A Imagination of those that think by Praying that will solve everything Negative in this World.

          • bjbstarr11

            Who actually cares what Tax Payer thinks. Some people have lost jobs and need help temporary. I hope you never need any assistance. And you do not have to believe in GOD, that is your problem. I do and this is my choice. As I said before stop the hate and get a life.

          • tax payer

            Let’s see. Oh, yes you care since you took the time to give me some feedback. I hope you are right that I will never need any assistance, but I don’t think I would feel bad since I did pay taxes as I worked for 45 years. Those that have been on Unemployment Benefits for almost 99 weeks will lose them in a month or so. Temporary wasn’t suppose to be for 99 weeks. I am glad you believe there is a God and I will never fight for you to lose that right as some Atheists have made sure there is no prayer in school, and I am against them for doing that to the children. I am an Atheist, but not like the other Atheists that don’t care to allow people to pray.

          • bjbstarr11

            Have a wonderful night and day tomorrow. We can agree to disagree without being nasty.

          • your also something else.

          • tax payer

            Your and you’re are two different words, so try using the right one, so you won’t look stupid to everyone.

          • pops calm down ill get the depends.

          • your really stupid.

          • tax payer

            You’re really stupid daddybadgrammar since you don’t know the difference between ( your and you’re ). With a Pension of almost $4,000.00 ( tax free ) a month I really don’t care what you call me.

          • yes you should be proud of your reverse mortgage pops- anyhow I just want you to know your politics are those of a small child.

      • what’s the reality? that they can vote and you have fallen and cant get up?

  • Angela Gonzalez

    Keep in mind republic party that all those millions of wet backs,

    have one, two or three American citizens of their own, that either are
    voting already or will eventually vote, so if you know how to multiply,
    ….you party may be in danger of extinguish.

    • tax payer

      They’ll vote only, if they have to vote to keep the Food Stamp Program alive, if the Federal Government decides to let the people vote ( yes or no ) to continue the Program. It would be extinguish as ( Angela Gonzalez ) states of the Republicans.

      • nirodha

        Thanks for your help, TP, in assisting the hispanic folks in Tejas to decide to vote for the democrats. We appreciate it!

        • BeansFerSupper

          This is how third world countries are created.

          • bjbstarr11

            I am glad the hispanic population is growing and will be the majority soon. Keep growing and move crazy people like you out.

          • tax payer

            They found out people get Food Stamps for being Hispanics.

          • or in your case for being old.

        • tax payer

          They don’t bother to vote, so we are saved from them. They didn’t even vote in their Mexico.

  • tax payer

    There used to be a song that went Dream, dream, so the DREAMERS may want to sing it too.

    • yea your wife sings that all day.

      • tax payer

        She’s ( well off ) thanks to me and my money.

        • haha now that’s a big joke not like the little one between your flabby thighs.

          • tax payer

            The way I see it ( it seems ) you like men with big thighs and something else.

          • it would “seem” that way to the obsessed diseased mind.