The Republican Party is having a conversation about how to reach more than old white people as voters. "What Republicans need to learn is how do we speak to all Americans," House Speaker John Boehner told ABC's Diane Sawyer. "You know, not just the people who look like us and act like us, but how do we speak to all Americans." This seems like a pretty obvious thing to learn how to do, and you might wonder why Republicans didn't kick off this discussion at least back in January 2011, when they won a majority in the House and the long presidential primary was about to start. That would have given them almost two years to say nice things to Latinos. But the problem is not just who's not in the Republican coalition, but who is. For a taste of that constituency, it helps to check out a fascinating thread on Free Republic, "Romney wins white vote by same margin as Reagan did in 1980 landslide."
The Freepers are grappling with what kind of concessions Republicans would have to make to appeal to non-white groups. They do not find these concessions appealing. ("If it involves compromising on principle, I'd rather lose.") Now, it's not entirely fair to use Free Republic as a representation of all Republican voters. So let's just note similar feelings from RedState's Erick Erickson, who writes that Mitt Romney didn't have a insurmountable demographic problem, but a get-out-the-vote problem. "The GOP more likely than not has another few election cycles before the demographics with hispanics become insurmountable and, in the meantime, can find ways to reach out to them and talk to them that do not include amnesty," Erickson writes. Rush Limbaugh said Wednesday that the GOP doesn't "get credit" for having black and Latino Republicans like Condoleezza Rice and Marco Rubio: "But what are we supposed to do now? In order to get the Hispanic or Latino vote, does that mean open the borders and embrace the illegals?"
But to truly see the id of the Republican Party—not the talking heads that depend on advertiser support for their livelihoods—let's look at Free Republic. Just like demoralized liberals in 2004, the Freepers are not thrilled about what the future will bring.
"A candidate who talked about using the voting booth as a tool for revenge would have been ran out of office in 1980. Today, he gets re-elected. Because that growing demographic believes they are entitled to revenge against what ever group they are told have oppressed them."
Some think that compromise is inevitable:
"Republicans will have to find a way to attract the Latinos who have some conservative values and also black Christians."
"I think you may be right, but it will be a very tough nut for most on this board to swallow. Latinos will not come along until they can get green cards for their family members. And I do think a serious outreach needs to be made to black preachers (not the Jeremiah Wright kind, the actual Bible-believing kind). They have been on the cutting edge of this societal decay for many decades, and should be our best allies in trying to combat it."
But others think it's impossible -- the gap is too wide. Those minorities just want free stuff:
"They don't have the SAME conservative values. Not going to make a blanket statement for all Latinos or family-first type blacks, but there is a huge 'me-first' or entitlement mentality among a huge number. You can’t assume that because there is a value on having children and family in general that they are conservative politically. To some, one thing has nothing to do with the other."
Worse, the youth want free stuff too—even the white youth:
"Most people would be shocked if they knew the thinking of something like 75 or 80% of what kids who graduated in the last 15 years think.
They think it’s a kinda cool to be gay and happily mingle with them. In every TV show they watch, the gay is the smartest, hippest, funniest character. They are solidly for abortion. They will openly say they think socialism is totally fine. They actually are for socialism. They have a deep smoldering hatred for anything traditionally 'American'."
You might think these people are far outside the Republican mainstream. But look at how Romney won the Republican primary. Before Rick Perry tripped over his tongue, Romney and his backers were spending millions to hammer Perry for being soft on immigration. In an October debate, Perry and Romney referred to undocumented immigrants as "illegals" 10 times. Romney said he'd veto the Dream Act, and that he'd like those "illegals" to "self-deport." Self-deportation refers to the strategy of states like Alabama, which have enacted laws to make immigrants lives so miserable they go home. It's even illegal for charities to help people they suspect are illegal immigrants. Did Romney take these positions on a whim? No! He took them because he wanted to win. And his strategists believed the way to appeal to the 90-percent-white Republican Party was to sound like a Freeper.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.