Conservatives Worry Latinos Aren't Worth Pandering To

If Latinos won't reward Republicans, why should Republicans do anything to help Latinos? 

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If Latinos won't reward Republicans, why should Republicans do anything to help Latinos? While Republicans have been pretty open about pursuing immigration reform as a tactic to fix their electoral problem of not getting non-white votes, there are some skeptics to that strategy. "It is worth remembering that Republicans led the fight for civil rights for black Americans, and voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act in greater proportions than their Democratic counterparts," Breitbart News' Joel Pollak writes. "Yet Republicans barely capture any of the black vote today." Latinos would be similarly ungrateful, he predicts: "Hispanics voted for Obama, and the enactment of immigration reform would be seen as a result of that vote, not the result of Republican cooperation." Ann Coulter and Donald Trump both made this argument at the Conservative Political Action Conference last week. "If amnesty goes through, America becomes California and no Republican will ever win another national election," Coulter said. It was a "suicidal" policy, she said. Why help these immigrants if they're just going to vote for Democrats?

It sounds awfully cynical. But we can't really blame them. Leading Republicans have been advancing the argument that the party is too white to win the White House for months. "This is the first election where demographics were more important than performance," said Sen. Lindsey Graham right after the election. The Republican National Committee is applying the exact same cynical calculation, it just thinks it'll get different results. In its analysis of what went wrong in 2012, the RNC laid our these cold hard demographic facts:

By 2050, the Hispanic share of the U.S. population could be as high as 29 percent, up from17 percent now. The African American proportion of the population is projected to rise slightly to 14.7 percent, while the Asian share is projected to increase to approximately 9 percent from its current 5.1 percent. Non-Hispanic whites, 63 percent of the current population, will decreaseto half or slightly less than half of the population by 2050.

How to capture that vote? The RNC says:

In essence, Hispanic voters tell us our Party’s position on immigration has become a litmus test, measuring whether we are meeting them with a welcome mat or a closed door.

The RNC thinks it should pass immigration reform not because it's the best thing for the most people, or even because more immigration helps the economy. It simply thinks immigration = votes.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.