It’s no secret that Republicans really don’t do well with appealing to minorities. For much of this nation’s history, that was never really a problem. But with the Latino population growing and the continued push to get more African-Americans to vote, it’s becoming readily apparent to some Republicans that they can no longer simply rely on the white vote to get by in presidential elections.
The problem is, how can Republicans appeal to minorities when a large chunk of their base is driven by racism?
Many Republicans are so terrified to even try to tackle immigration that they basically just ignore it altogether. Almost two years ago the Senate passed a bipartisan bill aimed at reforming our immigration policies, but House Speaker John Boehner flat-out refused to let the House vote on it out of fear that it might actually pass.
He was also afraid that if he allowed the bill to come up for it a vote it would put on public display just how many House Republicans (and where they’re from) voted against a common sense approach to immigration reform supported by the vast majority of Americans.
Naturally, Republicans often like to use the word “amnesty” to get conservatives really worked up; meanwhile, the immigration policies President Obama supports are basically just a path to citizenship, not amnesty. I think too often they’re confusing this president with conservative icon Ronald Reagan who did pass an amnesty bill in 1986.
Well, probable 2016 GOP presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) recently came out and said that the GOP has done a poor job at appealing to “non-whites,” and that if he were president he wouldn’t sign any immigration bill that didn’t offer a pathway to citizenship.
Clearly it seems Graham realizes that the “crazy Bible” section of the party is locked down with candidates like Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee, so he’s attempting to appeal to Latino voters to win his party’s nomination.
It’s not going to work, but I guess it’s worth a shot.
To be fair, Graham has been one of the few Republicans who’s advocated for more common sense policies when it comes to immigration – which is a bit surprising considering how ridiculous he’s proven he can be on some issues.
But what Graham’s comments do is highlight the fact that Republicans are caught between a rock and a racist place. They realize they’re eventually going to have to bring in more of the minority vote (especially when it comes to Latinos) very soon, otherwise they’re never going to win the White House again. But at the same time, by embracing common sense approaches to immigration reform (which is a big issue for many Latino voters), they risk alienating a huge part of the Republican base that’s largely built upon racism and strong anti-immigrant beliefs.
Though to be honest, Republicans aren’t really doing much of anything about immigration – nor will they. Sure, they like to talk a lot about “securing the border,” but they’re not really pushing through any sort of immigration bill because the last thing the GOP wants to do is officially go on public record voting for something that will expose just how bigoted and anti-immigrant their party really is – especially heading into the 2016 elections.
But when it’s all said and done, each of these Republican candidates has a choice to make:
- Embrace common sense immigration reform while hoping to appeal to Latino voters, probably alienating much of their “base” that’s built on a strong anti-immigrant sentiment. -or-
- Continue to embrace that anti-immigrant bigotry and continue to alienate the vast majority of Latino voters.
History shows us that when it comes to the Republican party, when the chips are down, they almost always choose bigotry over equality.
Watch Graham’s comments below via USA Today:
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