Well This Seems Pretty Clear

11.08.12

Why the GOP's Struggle with Latinos?

Alex Massie has a good handle on why the GOP's struggle with Hispanic voters is about more than immigration:

[I]t is not just about immigration. It is about belonging. It is about respect. It is about being part of the American family. As Matt Yglesias observes - in a characteristically excellent post – the GOP doesn’t understand this. Remember the brouhaha over Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court? Conservative snake-oil salesmen rushed to portray her as an “affirmative action” pick who was, anyway, some kind of racist because she had the temerity to suggest that her own background might prove a useful qualification for a place on the court.

You don’t need to be an illegal immigrant to be annoyed by that. Sure, being hispanic may have helped Sotomayor in as much as Obama selected her rather than another just as equally-qualified judge but so what? Only idiots would choose to suggest or imply that the only way a hispanic woman could get to the Supreme Court would be if the barriers for nomination were lowered. Yet that is what many of the noisier elements of the conservative movement suggested. And they are surprised that latino voters were listening and remembered this? Sheesharama.

I'll grant him that much, but the next paragraph is much more telling:

More, much more, than this however is the fact that the GOP cannot pander its way to success with hispanic voters. It needs policies that work for hispanic voters and it needs to trust that hispanic voters will be smart and sufficiently self-interested to appreciate that GOP candidates offer a better way ahead. That means that while immigration is important it is not everything. The GOP needs to reconnect with ordinary, anxious Americans earning between $40,000 and $80,000 a year. If it does and if it can moderate the tone it uses when speaking about immigration and other latino-related issues then it can begin to do better.