According to New York Times, the GOP political establishment fears that opposing immigration reform will considerably stiffen the anti-Republican sentiment among a Hispanic electorate that has nearly quintupled since 1990.
“If we don’t pass immigration reform this year, we will not take the White House back in 2016, 2020, or 2024,” wrote John Ferry, a former top aide to former House Speaker Dennis Hastert. While Mr. Ferry’s predictions may be exaggerated, GOP should take the threat seriously. Over the last five decades, Democrats have been a more inclusive party than the GOP, by actively courting racial and ethnic minorities. And this is reflected in elections: their presidential candidates have won a majority of black and Hispanic voters every election since the exit polls began.
In contrast, the Republican performance with the same electorate has declined sharply. Taking a harsh position during the last two presidential elections with calls for militarized border security, self-deportation, and opposition to virtually any immigration reform led to a notable drop in favorable rating to 18% among Hispanics.
There are only a few of House Republicans running in a heavily Latino districts who may be impacted by this decline. Most of Republican candidates represent districts with lower concentration of Hispanic voters, so this doesn’t mean much for them. Their seats are safe; however presidential GOP candidates have lost the popular vote in five of the last six elections. With the Hispanic electorate expected to double in size by 2030, most Republican leaders understand that supporting immigration reform and being a more inclusive, moderate party is key in order to stay relevant at the national level.
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