GOP Forfeits Latino Vote Despite Obama's Awful Record on Immigration, Economy.

Via Hot Air comes a writeup of a new Fox News Latino poll showing that Latinos are running away from the GOP when it comes to the presidential race:

The national poll of likely Latino voters indicated that 73 percent of them approved of Obama’s performance in office, with over half those questioned looking favorably upon his handling of the healthcare debate and the economy, at 66 percent and 58 percent respectively.

Released on the eve of the Super Tuesday primaries in the race for the GOP nomination, the Fox News Latino poll shows former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with 35 percent of Latino voter support, to Texas Rep. Ron Paul's 13 percent, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich's 12 percent, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum's 9 percent. 

But the poll shows that the overwhelming choice among likely Latino voters is President Obama. In head-to-head match-ups none of the GOP candidates would garner more than 14 percent of the Latino vote come November, the poll said.

More here.

You can almost hear the Republican faithful grumbling the sorts of sentiments that are precisely the reason why Latinos are wary of the Party of Lincoln.

You know, stuff like "I want to say ‘go home’ to lots of people" (Newt Gingrich); "I would sign the Dream Act if it were focused on military service" (Mitt Romney); and “My grandfather made sacrifices. He lived in this country five years without his family…So when I hear people say, ‘well, people have lived here a long time, and they’ve played by the rules and we don’t want to separate families.’ Well, my grandfather separated from his family" (Rick Santorum).

Yeah, perpetuating inhumane policies due to personal grudges is really presidential. Go here for sources on those and other quotes by Republican presidential candidates.

So despite the fact that Barack Obama has been absolutely awful on immigration, he's seemingly got a lock on Latino votes.

And he's been awful in at least two ways.

First, he has presided over a crap economy and has done just about everything he could do to extend the recession by creating regime uncertainty when it comes the rules and regulations that will apply for a decade to come (Dodd-Frank, anyone, or health-care reform?). He's compounded that with horrible fiscal policy that is hell-bent of spending and borrowing until the country runs out of ink.

Second, he's actively deported tens of thousands of parents, has pushed a pro-union, anti-immigrant agenda, and more. If Latinos are right to worry about selective enforcement of immigration laws (and they are), Obama should be right up there with the Sheriff Joes and Jan Brewers of the world. 

But leave it to the GOP, especially the mega-minds currently vying to lead the party into November's election, to screw it all up. That Fox News poll mentioned above suggests that a Latino VP would help the Republicans some, but not all that much. There are a number of charismatic, high-profile veep possibilities out there in the Latino community (Sen. Marco Rubio, Govs. Susanna Martinez and Luis Fortuno [check out his Reason interview]) but it will take more than a token pick to change voters' minds (and not just Latino voters, either, but all who find America's immigration policy idiotic).

All the GOP has to do is channel possibly the only goddamn thing George W. Bush ever got right as president. Here's Bush in 2001, talking at Ellis Island, that mythical place that cause "real Americans" (that is, those of us whose parents and grandparents came directly from the slums of Europe rather than the barrios of Mexico and places further south):

"100 million Americans can draw a straight line from the life they know today, to a moment inside this hall," he said. "Immigration is not a problem to be solved, it is a sign of a confident and successful nation. Their arrival should be greeted not with suspicion and resentment, but with openness and courtesy."

More on that here.

And there's this too, from 2004:

"It makes sense to allow the good-hearted people who are coming here to do jobs that Americans won't do a legal way to do so. And providing that legal avenue, it takes the pressure off the border."

I don't particularly care if a Republican or a Democrat wins in November, but I'd like to live in a country that wasn't so fixated on the myth of an immigration crisis and actually opened its borders to everyone yearning to be free and rich and all that. If the GOP had a brain - and that's open for debate - they might just do well to follow Bush's footsteps in this instance. Bush pulled somewhere between 40 percent and 44 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2004 (the estimates vary but represent an increase of between six and 10 points over his 2000 total). In 2008, John McCain, routinely lambasted by conservatives as weak on immigration, got a whopping 31 percent of the same bloc. The Fox poll suggests that the best any of the current GOP contenders will do in 2012 is 14 percent.

Certainly, carping about the handful of illegals getting in-state tuition at state colleges and bloviating about the desire to round up tanner-than-me farm laborers is no way to move forward into a glorious future of moon colonies and all that. As someone who moved from a post-Prop. 187 California (in which Republican Gov. Pete Wilson hitched his re-election to rancid Mexiphobia and destroyed the statewide GOP in the process) to George Bush's Texas in the mid-1990s, I can tell you that Dubya's approach works better if you're interested in a calmer social atmosphere and a functioning economy. That not being aggressively anti-immigrant (read: Latino) is merely the neon-red maraschino cherry on top of Chi-Chi's fried ice cream dessert.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Thomas||

    Why would anyone expect Hispanics to support the Racist Party?

    "White Elephants only please, or else" is pretty much their motto.

  • wareagle||

    right...so instead they should go to the Plantation Party because membership has worked out so well for blacks. Jackasses of all colors is not exactly a recipe for success.

  • ||

    Maybe Romney is smart enough to pick a running mate like Luis Fortuño instead of an asshole like Santorum. I have my doubts, however.

  • ||

    Stop the freebies, and there is no immigration problem. America is again the Land of Opportunity and not the Land of Dependents.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Given that immigrants are less of a burden on those freebies than natives, there is no immigration problem anyway.

  • EMp||

    This patently not true.

  • EMp||

    *is*

  • ||

    They also pay less in taxes.

  • Realist||

    Cite, Cyto!

  • Max||

    You don't care if a Democrat or a Republican wins, but you still tout that racist sack of shit Ron Paul, even though you found his racist newsletters "jaw dropping"?

  • ||

    Tiresome.

  • shrike||

    All the GOP has to do is channel possibly the only goddamn thing George W. Bush ever got right as president.

    Wow, I am kinder to Bush the Least moreso than Gillespie since I add the appointment of Bernanke to that short list. Its like someone convinced him to add the Great Depression expert to the Fed just in time for the GD II.

  • Commentariat GOP Shill||

    Ben Bernanke is overseeing oncoming inflation (into the double digits) and rising unemployment rates. By what metric is he a "success" at the Fed?

  • shrike||

    No one believes that except for goldbugs. The markets say prices are falling, Treasury yields are stable for at least 10 years, and capacity is plentiful.

    Coal took a big hit yesterday. It is now only 46% of 2008 highs and its not like demand is falling at electricity plants.

  • Commentariat GOP Shill||

    That's total garbage. The "markets" say that unless you look at the food market and the gasoline market. CPI under-weights Food and over-weights housing.

  • #||

    Coal has dropped because Natural Gas has fallen further. Demand for coal electricity is falling as more is done by gas. This shift alone ironically has made US carbon emissions fall more than European.

  • ||

    Shrike gets his "nothing to worry about" talking points by looking at relatively short-term measures.

    Those of us who think there is, in fact, something to worry about tend to look at longer-term measures.

    How anyone can say that the "goldbugs" are wrong, after looking at a chart of the uninterrupted 12 year bull market in gold is a mystery to me. Naturally, shrike focusses on the recent pullback from historic highs.

    Pointing to Treasuries as an indication of anything is fallacy, since the Fed has been overtly and covertly manipulating that market for at least three years. The ten year Treasuries he points to are the most recent target of an overt campaign to suppress rates (Operation Twist).

  • Commentariat GOP Shill||

    We support open immigration. This proves that we're Shills for the Republican Establishment. It's practically the Free Republic around here.

  • shrike||

    Oh, and this problem is too deep to fix with a Rubio band-aid.

  • sarcasmic||

    Go Rick! Suck that chocolate "ice cream"! Suck it!

  • ||

  • sarcasmic||

    LMFAOROTFF!

  • Karl||

    with over half those questioned looking favorably upon his handling of the healthcare debate and the economy, at 66 percent and 58 percent respectively

    Maybe immigration policy/rhetoric really isn't the problem here...
    -K

  • ||

    Or maybe Latins care more about welfare and big government than they do about immigration? You are right, Obama has fucked them royally. But maybe they just don't care.

  • ||

    A lot of it is tone and delivery. Much of the public face of the GOP doesn't do a very good job distinguishing Latin American immigrants and illegal immigrants from Latin America when talking about the subject, and the more fiery the rhetoric, the more the distinction collapses into nothing.

    "Taller fences, wider gates" would be a compelling argument if they didn't consistently leave off the second part.

  • ||

    They are playing to their base.

  • ||

    You shouldn't have to play that much to your base. That's why they are your base.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Then the base are assholes.

  • ^_^||

    Libertarians, of course, are never assholes.

  • Maxxx||

    Why does everyone assume that the biggest concern for Latino voters is unlimited Latino immigration?

  • ||

    This.

    You don't see me out on the street protesting immigration restrictions on letting Irish people in.

  • Ryan||

    Because that's what they heard from the ole MSM

  • Herman Cain||

    'Lectric fence with a moat!

  • cavalier973||

    and gators!

  • ||

    This article assumes that the GOP would both pick up more Latin votes if they were pro open borders and not lose more white working class votes. I don't think it is clear at all that either is true.

    What reason is there to believe the Hispanic vote will shift even if the GOP became pro open borders? I don't see much of one let alone a reason to think it would shift in huge numbers necessary to make up for the GOP loss its base.

    Maybe instead of this being a story of GOP stupidity, it is the story of Hispanic voters losing leverage in both parties by becoming a unified voting block that one side sees as hopeless and the other feels free to take for granted.

  • Cytotoxic||

    I don't see any reason whity workers would stop voting GOP for this reason. Bush got that big Hispanic chunk without that problem.

  • protefeed||

    What reason is there to believe the Hispanic vote will shift even if the GOP became pro open borders?

    Did you miss the part of the article where Bush jr. got 40%+ of the Latino vote by not being a complete asshole about immigration?

    The GOP is dooming itself with its hostile attitude towards Latinos, who are becoming an ever greater proportion of the electorate.

  • Realist||

    "The GOP is dooming itself with its hostile attitude towards Latinos, who are becoming an ever greater proportion of the electorate."
    Illegally.

  • EMp||

    ^ This ^ Right here ^ is the BIG reason that *AHEM* 'immigration' has become so contentious. Roughly 50% of the people who call themselves democrats as well as about 70% (or more...) of those who commonly vote republican want illegal immigration halted. The change in living standards, and the changes in culture with this huge of a wave of illegal aliens is what is infuriating the country. Right now, it's a bit on the back-burner due to the horrible economy - but when it(the economy..) really starts picking up - most Americans do not want another wave crossing the borders. It's a palpable concern and justified, IMO....

  • Realist||

    "This article assumes that the GOP would both pick up more Latin votes if they were pro open borders and not lose more white working class votes."
    John you are right. I don't get why Libertarians think open borders is a good idea. What this country needs is more intelligent people not more useless assholes that crawl across the border. Legal immigration is fine....illegal is not. No country on the planet has open borders.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    So despite the fact that Barack Obama has been absolutely awful on immigration, he's seemingly got a lock on Latino votes.

    I have no reason to believe that Hispanics are especially policy conscious any more than any other voter bloc, quite frankly. Respondents may simply be expressing affinity for the Democrat because that's what is understood they should do.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    Good lord, that has to be the most disturbing photo of Santorum I've ever seen. And that truly is saying something.

  • wareagle||

    here's what the GOP misses - in many ways, the Latino family of today is like the nuclear family of the 1950s: young with children, perhaps a grandparent or two in the same house, with high aspirations for the future.

    The appeal is simple - we understand why you came here, for the same reason our/my parents did, opportunity. We believe the path lies with the least restrictive type of govt, something many of you and/or your parents and grandparents understand only too well. Our opponents would have you believe that you can only succeed with govt help. We believe the best path is lined with the fewest obstacles possible in order to maximize opportunity. No party can guarantee great results or even equal results, but our way holds that the only limit to what you can achieve is your own ambition.

    Of course, this presumes the presence of a party that actually believes this stuff.

  • protefeed||

    Of course, this presumes the presence of a party that actually believes this stuff.

    There is such a party. Its initials are LP.

    Why any black or Latino would vote R or D baffles me.

  • ||

    I think the LP or whatever third party could relevantly replace it needs to do better at targeting outreach towards minorities, gays, etc. Those who have been oppressed by government the most are somehow the least lobbied by the anti-government party.

  • Loki||

    Those who have been oppressed pandered to the most by government the most are somehow the least lobbied by the anti-government party.

    FIFY. And also expleined the seeming conundrum.

    Both parties just pander to the various blocs of latino, black, gay, etc. Neither one really plans on doing jack shit for them.

  • Realist||

    How about they do jack shit for themselves???? HUH???

  • ||

    Depends on how you market it. The war on drugs has destroyed generations of black people, not to mention the poverty resulting from slavery and legal inequality. Latinos are held back from starting their own businesses and bringing their families here legally, and many have been pushed from their own lands as an unintended consequence of our war on drugs. How can Mexico and the rest of Central America develop with our policies down there? I think there's a compelling inroads there that hasn't been exploited or has been disrupted by issues like the Ron Paul Newsletters that give the impression that libertarians are an exclusive bunch of angry white men.

  • Sheaman||

    Why assume people immigrate for better jobs. It is more logical to assume people immigrate to get free stuff as this is human nature.

    Shout "Free food" at your workplace and get knocked down by the stampede for the goodies. Uncle Sam shouts to the world "Free crap for bums". Bums are as likely to come as willing workers.

  • Maxxx||

    Raaaaccisssssst

    Every libertarian knows that immigrants are heroic objectivists that eschew welfare and only want hard work.

    And no amount of contrary evidence will mislead them.

  • Realist||

    Sheaman, right on.

  • cavalier973||

    The GOP most definitely does not have a brain; they are voting in droves for the guy who inspired the hated Obamacare.

  • Maxxx||

    And that same guy (willard) has basically said that he wants to fix Obamacare, not repeal it.

    And yet the GOP lemmings keep telling each other that Willard really wants to repeal it but the libruls prevent him from saying so.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Since when the fuck is the various Latino cultures which span a massive geographical area one voting bloc?

    Here's a hint: Argentinians don't give a shit about Cubans who fucking hate Puerto Ricans who look down upon their island brethren Dominicans who couldn't care less about Guatemalans who strive mightily to be called anything other than Nicaraguan who has nothing to do with Uraguayans who laugh and point fingers at their land locked neighbor Paraguayans. And none of them give the tiniest shit about Mexicans and their immigration woes.

    In short, there is no "Latino" vote.

  • ||

    While I agree that there are differences in national origin among Hispanics, I don't think there's much evidence that translates into anything exploitable for Republicans other than with regard to Cubans. (And even the trend over the past several elections has been for Cubans to vote increasingly Democratic as the original anti-Communist refugees die off and and get replaced by native born Americans.)

  • ||

    In this case, they basically mean Mexicans, who want to come over here and freeload.

    They're never, ever going to vote Republican. Why would they want to cut off the free government stuff?

    Why Reason wants them to come here and enable the perpetual welfare state is beyond me. Once there is a tipping point, the US will end up basically like Mexico was for almost a 100 years, a one party state.

  • ||

    That's why open borders is a bad policy. There are hispanics from all over South and Central America that want in so they can work, and they should be let in.

    But letting Mexicans walk over the border to get free healthcare and welfare is not good.

  • Ray||

    What's so awful about Prop. 187? It's purely a spending CUT. There's no real libertarian case against it I've ever heard (besides the assertion that checking the immigration status of welfare recipients would cost more than actually providing them welfare, although I'd like to see actual statistics for that). Essentially, the absurd liberaltarian position is that "diversity"/cheap labor for whatever donor is such a positive good that it should receive massive taxpayer subsidization. Exactly how much welfare must illegal immigrants receive from the taxpayer before we've achieved "libertarianism," Nick?

    And don't get me wrong, I'm a totally free-trade, unlimited immigration, completely open borders, abolish-the-government-entirely type of guy. My significant other (who agrees with me) is a Hispanic immigrant. So you can't quite pull the "ur just a racist protectionist!" card with me.

  • Realist||

    Why does this country need more immigrants? Eliminate unemployment payments and welfare and this country will have plenty of workers to do everything that needs to be done.

  • EMp||

    I think you're correct there....

  • Ryan||

    Yeah, latinos suck, but not as much as old people.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement