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The GOP's Immigration Pipe Dream

By David King Published: June 30, 2013

I've heard it said that the Democrats are the corrupt party, and the Republicans are the dumb party.

I'd say the Obama administration has certainly proven the former, and the opinion of many GOPers that they must pass illegal immigration reform to win more of the Latino vote proves the latter.

If history serves as a guide, the only thing the Republicans will accomplish by going along with the Senate's immigration reform legislation is to create 11 million more voters, with the vast majority of those votes going to Democrats.

Here's a historic breakdown of the percentage of Latinos voting for the GOP:

1972 - 34%, 1976 - 24%, 1980 - 37%, 1984 - 37%, 1988 - 30%, 1992 - 26%, 1996 - 21%, 2000 - 35%, 2004 - 44%, 2008 - 31%, 2012 - 27%.

The Republicans didn't win the Latino vote once. Of particular interest is what happened after President Reagan's 1986 immigration reform granted amnesty to 3 million illegals. In 1984, prior to amnesty, the Republican Reagan got 37% of the Latino vote. In the next presidential election in 1988, the Republican George H. W. Bush dropped to 30% of the Latino vote. The GOP wouldn't receive more than 37% of the Latino vote for the next 20 years. So much for immigration reform being the ticket for the Republicans to win more Latino voters. It didn't happen before. Why would it happen this time ?

Now you know why Democrats from President Obama on down are all smiles, congratulating GOP Senators for their wonderful bipartisanship. The Democrats know their immigration reform legislation makes it a lot more difficult for Republicans to win national elections in the future. Apparently, many in the Dumb Party haven't figured that out yet.

That being said, it is obvious that Republicans have to attract more non-white voters to remain competitive in national elections. In 2012, only ONE in TEN non-white voters voted Republican. Much of that is due to the fact that black voters went almost exclusively for Obama, but the demographics cannot be ignored. Romney won the white vote by a large margin over Obama in 2012 and still lost the election. The percentage of white voters is decreasing.

How might the Republicans attract more Latino voters ?

By reaching out to Latino voters and focusing on the issues Latinos care about, which are 1) Education, 2) Jobs and the economy, 3) Health care, 4) Federal budget deficit. These are basically the same issues that everyone else cares about, but the GOP hasn't come close to seling it's vision to Latinos.

Immigration came in a distant fifth in importance to Latino voters, slightly ahead of taxes. It's clearly going to take a whole lot more than immigration reform for the GOP to capture a sizeable portion of the Latino vote...or the GOP can run Sen. Marco Rubio for President in 2016. Group identity seems to work, judging from Obama and the monolithic parade of white Presidents preceding him. People tend to vote for someone who they believe cares about them, and Latinos believe the GOP doesn't care. Unless that perception changes, the Republicans will have a rough go of things.

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