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September 2, 2014

Latinos Roll The (R)s

“The laughter of our children will be our revenge.” —Bobby Sands

Off The Cliff And Into The Fire

President Obama plans to push for comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship, early in the new year. The LA Times reports that this will be the President’s legislative priority once we’ve resolved the fiscal [insert metaphor of choice here].

If you think the debate over taxing the top 2% has put the GOP in a bind and on the wrong side of public opinion, just wait until the party has to confront immigration reform.

Post-election navel gazing by Republicans has boiled down to content-free variations of “we have to do a better job reaching out” to communities of color. What remains to be seen and is the subject of impassioned intramural debate, however, is what exactly “reaching out” means to Republicans.

At best, it appears to mean “let’s shove Marco Rubio in front of the cameras so we can get some of those Latino votes that just clobbered us.”

At worst, there’s a curious notion of “outreach” which basically promotes racist stereotypes. You’ve heard the refrain: Latinos, and people of color more generally, voted heavily for Obama because they’re lazy moochers who want free stuff. Democrats, in this narrative, are basically the welfare pimps who are rewarded for their generosity with the votes of the dependent.

Nevermind that Latinos are less likely to avail themselves to “government handouts” than white Americans, according to a recent study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:

Whites accounted for 64 percent of the population in 2010 and received 69 percent of the entitlement benefits. In contrast, Hispanics made up 16 percent of the population but received 12 percent of the benefits, less than their proportionate share.

Nevermind that, according to US Census data, over the past dozen years Latinos have created twice as many businesses as the general public.

Why let facts get in the way of racist stereotypes, when the latter allow you to avoid introspection and pretend that you were done dirty in the election? Who wants to confront the fact that you’ve had your philosophy and policies roundly rejected by the electorate?

Republicans clearly wish to grab a chunk of the ascendant Latino vote without having to do anything substantive to earn it. Even those Republicans not peddling the blatant racism of Ann Coulter seem to believe a bit more polish on their PR “messaging” will do the trick.

A party cannot spend an entire primary season deriding human beings as “illegals,” citing Jan Brewer’s “papers please” Arizona law as a model for the nation, promote racist and inaccurate stereotypes about their supposed lack of work ethic, and then expect the targets of its contempt will eagerly cast ballots for them because Craig Romney shows up in Miami with a stack of campaign signs in Spanish the week before the election.

¡Hola! I know my dad spent the last year insulting you, but look at this face! Listen to me roll my R’s!

Immigration reform is but one of many issues forcing Republicans to choose between its remaining sanity and a Tea Party with its hair on fire, but it’s among the more electorally consequential. Stay tuned.

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One Response to “Latinos Roll The (R)s”
  1. Zyxomma says:

    Mine is a Latino neighborhood (far less than when I first lived there, in the early to mid 1970s). It’s why I speak Spanish well. The perception vs. the reality, as touted by politicians, is the most amazing disconnect.

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