Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Monday, February 18, 2019

A new book of numbers by a Republican pollster doesn’t sugarcoat the challenges ahead for his party. Far from influencing politics at the margins, author Whit Ayres says current demographic trends are “changing results” in presidential elections and must be confronted.

Yet Ayres’ diagnoses and prescriptions raise a recurrent question for Republicans trying to map a way forward: In their emphasis on an inclusive tone and their confidence that Hispanics share their values, and in the absence of fundamental policy evolution, are they missing the point?

Ayres wrote his book 2016 and Beyond: How Republicans Can Elect a President in the New America for all White House aspirants in his party. He is advising freshman Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who is expected to enter the 2016 race this month in Miami and comes pre-promoted by Ayres as “the most transformational” of the large, emerging GOP field.

Rubio is so talented as a politician, Ayres told me and other reporters at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor, that he recalls onetime basketball superstar Michael Jordan. “He could do things with a basketball that were not teachable and were just instinctively amazing,” Ayres said. “Marco Rubio is the Michael Jordan of American politics.”

He’s not just gifted, “he’s substantive,” Ayres said, pointing to Rubio speeches on how to energize the economy for the middle class, make higher education more affordable, and reform the tax code “to create greater opportunity.”

On top of all that, Rubio is young, Hispanic, and Spanish-speaking. He’s 43, and his parents were born in Cuba.

If Rubio has a chance to be transformational, it will be due to his generation, ethnicity, and skills. When it comes to substance, he has inarguably done a lot of thinking about today’s domestic and international problems. Yet many of his prescriptions are more traditional than transformative: He’s a hawk on foreign policy, highly critical of how the Obama administration is handling Iran, Cuba, and the Middle East. His tax plan relies on the conservative standby of huge cuts for the wealthy and the bipartisan penchant for running up deficits. Like the rest of his party, he is a vehement foe of the Affordable Care Act.

His big step outside the box was his key role in crafting a bipartisan immigration bill that passed the Senate 68-32 two years ago. But the GOP turned against its reforms, such as a lengthy path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. Rubio now stresses border security and calls himself “realistic.”

Given his background and abilities, Rubio is an ideal purveyor of the Reaganesque message that Ayres rightly insists his party should adopt. The template is Ronald Reagan’s 1989 farewell address about a city teeming with people of all kinds, engaged in commerce and activity. And if the city had to have walls, the walls had gates, and the gates were open to all those with the will and the heart to get here,” as Ayres paraphrased it at the breakfast. “It’s that sort of inclusive message that built the last major Republican majority in this country, and it can do so again.”

Making that a reality, however, depends very much on appealing to Hispanics and young people, who have increasingly spurned GOP presidential candidates. The backlash over Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act underscores the youth disconnect. “This is where we’re headed as a country. A political candidate who is perceived as anti-gay at the presidential level will never connect with people under 30 years old,” Ayres said bluntly.

He was equally pointed about immigration. “If your position is that you want to deport 11 million Hispanics, then you’re going to find it very difficult to persuade Hispanic voters that ‘we want you in the Republican coalition,'” he said. That was pretty much Mitt Romney’s approach in 2012, and it netted him 27 percent of the Hispanic vote. As the white share of the electorate continues to shrink, Ayres and other GOP strategists say the 2016 nominee will need mid-40s support from Hispanics to win.

This is no slam dunk. Like many Republican strategists, Ayres contends that Hispanics are in tune with “the panoply” of core GOP values — “individual liberty, free enterprise, strong families, strong national defense, greater opportunity for all” — but election results and other indicators suggest the case is not so cut and dried. There’s also the question of whether any Republican can sustain an inclusive, tolerant message during a primary process influenced heavily in its first critical weeks and months by the party’s most conservative loyalists.

A nominee who managed to maintain such a Reaganesque tone throughout would be in relatively good shape for a general election. But that would still leave the problem of Reaganesque policies tailored to very different times.

Follow Jill Lawrence on Twitter @JillDLawrence. To find out more about Jill Lawrence and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2015 CREATORS.COM

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

  • Share this on Google+0
  • Share this on Linkedin0
  • Share this on Reddit0
  • Print this page
  • 26

23 responses to “Will Hispanics Ever Love Republicans Back?”

  1. gmccpa says:

    Yes..Rubio is technically Hispanic. But he is of Cuban descent. So, the main issue – immigration – connecting him to the rest of the Hispanic community is somewhat lacking. And when push came to shove…after crafting an immigration bill….he caved to the GOP/Teabaggers and essentially reneged. I don’t know how, or why, anyone thinks this could have endeared him to Hispanics, in general. I’m not Hispanic…but if I were, I’m pretty sure I would consider him a cowardly traitor.

    • FireBaron says:

      Also, until Cubans are treated the same as other Hispanics in our immigration policies, the rest of the Hispanic Community will not really embrace a Cuban-American candidate. After all, any Cuban who can set foot on US soil, regardless of the methods – legal or illegal – used to gain admission, still is granted full legal immigrant status. Explain this to someone from Mexico, Guatemala or El Salvador!

      • TheSkalawag929 says:

        “Explain this to someone from Mexico, Guatemala or El Salvador!”
        MONEY!!! They aren’t contributing enough to the republican coffers to get their attention.

    • johninPCFL says:

      “So, the main issue – immigration – connecting him to the rest of the Hispanic community is somewhat lacking. ”

      It’s totally lacking. Rubio’s parents were “dry foot” Americans about 5 minutes after arriving. They have as much in common with Central American Latinos as they do with Orangs (very remote common ancestry.)

  2. Dominick Vila says:

    While it is true that most Hispanics-Latinos share many spiritual and moral values with the right, from religion to family values, to fiscal conservatism; it is also true that it is going to take a very long time for Hispanics and Latinos to forget the constant attacks, insults, and threats they have endured at the hands of the white supremacists who, even though they are a relatively small segment of the GOP, exercise tremendous influence in Republican policy making and actions. It will be a long time before ethnic minorities learn to trust the GOP. Unfortunately, many of them are ambivalent to politics, and cannot be counted upon as a major force when it comes to voting.

    • TheSkalawag929 says:

      It has been said that if republicans did what was necessary to attract more people to their party they would be Democrats.

    • johninPCFL says:

      One would hope that the basic disconnect between true fiscal conservatism and the “borrow and spend” Reagan tactics (no need to budget the military) would also cause some concern.

      • Dominick Vila says:

        Honestly, I doubt the Republican party will ever correct the disconnect that exists between their rhetorical emphasis on fiscal conservatism, and their record of fiscal irresponsibility.

  3. howa4x says:

    The fact that Rubio is a Latino will not change the republican hostility toward other Latino’s. Who is the one group that is most disenfranchised by the economy and the answer is the Latino community. If Rubio can’t articulate and economic pathway of the dire straits they are in he will not get support. If you have trouble feeding your family and paying rent or getting access to medical care, ,and your source of income is being a low wage laborer, do you think they want to hear about tax cuts for the wealthy? The fact that Rubio has taken issue with Obama’s executive order which only changes the deportation schedule placing dreamers at the back of the line and putting gang members 1st, will not help him get Latino votes. His hostility to Obama care or the ACA only hurts him with people who have become 1st time insured and many are Latinos. It doesn’t matter if the religious views of the Latino community are conservative, it is the economic issues that will bring this vote to a particular candidate, and Republicans have nothing to offer except to work of the wages of an indentured servant. Rubio has a long way to go past name recognition.

  4. Whatmeworry says:

    There is a big difference between legal Hispanic voters ad the 4 million illegals ho voted in 2012

    • BillP says:

      You need to learn how to spell or type better “ho” or “ad” Plus your comment is total bs. Back your ridiculous claim with some proof evidence.

      • I’m not a moron or nuttin

        • BillP says:

          I guess you are just a typical right wing troll, write unintelligent comments and make ludicrous claims. Keep doing them I can always use a good laugh at your ignorance.

      • Whatmeworry says:

        That’s easy Google WashPost the article was part of series about Spanish voters

        • BillP says:

          Your Washington Post article is based on a study from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study which claims “Its large number of observations provide sufficient samples of the non-immigrant sub-population, with 339 non-citizen respondents in 2008 and 489 in 2010. For the 2008 CCES, we also attempted to match respondents to voter files so that we could verify whether they actually voted. How many non-citizens participate in U.S. elections? More than 14 percent of non-citizens in both the 2008 and 2010 samples indicated that they were registered to vote. Furthermore, some of these non-citizens voted. Our best “GUESS”, based upon extrapolations from the portion of the sample with a verified vote, is that 6.4 percent of non-citizens voted in 2008 and 2.2 percent of non-citizens voted in 2010. Even if there “GUESSES” are correct the number of non-citizens voters is nowhere near your exaggerated 4 million amount and theses are estimates, that doesn’t verify how many non-citizens actually voted. You need to do better research.

          Check out a ink to Media Matters or Fact Checker websites when you Google Washington Post on illegal aliens voting. There are number studies they list that debunk your claims.

          • Whatmeworry says:

            Media Matters?? The Soros based non profit??
            The data from the washpost survey was a poll of Hispanics in which 35% said they were registered to vote. Out of a population of 12 million illegals the numerical answer is 4,000,000. There is O way of ascertaining how they voted other than they claimed absentee ballot

          • I support labor unions and gay marriage

          • BillP says:

            What about your referenced article, it doesn’t come near to supporting your wild claim of 4 million illegal voters!. Of course you won’t check out any link or article that disproves your unfounded biased claim. Below is taken directly from your linked article.
            “Cooperative Congressional Election Study which claims “Its large number of observations provide sufficient samples of the non-immigrant sub-population, with 339 non-citizen respondents in 2008 and 489 in 2010. For the 2008 CCES, we also attempted to match respondents to voter files so that we could verify whether they actually voted. How many non-citizens participate in U.S. elections? More than 14 percent of non-citizens in both the 2008 and 2010 samples indicated that they were registered to vote. Furthermore, some of these non-citizens voted. Our best “GUESS”, based upon extrapolations from the portion of the sample with a verified vote, is that 6.4 percent of non-citizens voted in 2008 and 2.2 percent of non-citizens voted in 2010. Even if there “GUESSES” are correct the number of non-citizens voters is nowhere near your exaggerated 4 million amount and theses are estimates, that doesn’t verify how many non-citizens actually voted. You need to do better research.”

          • dpaano says:

            BillP: These people don’t do research….they just get their info from right-leaning media (who also don’t do their research).

        • Daniel Max Ketter says:

          Weren’t you a fellow steward with the United Auto Workers? Can I contact you offline for some private business?

    • There is a no difference between legal Hispanic voters adn the 4 million illegals howie voted in 2012

  5. Joker Davis says:

    To be honest, it took me awhile to realize that Obama is the real problem.

  6. dpaano says:

    I find it interesting that even Hispanics running for the presidency don’t like their own people!!! For example, Cruz and Rubio……how do they expect to get elected if they don’t even care about Hispanics???

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.