The conventional wisdom in Washington, even among many in the Republican Party, is that the GOP is putting the future of the party at risk by not passing immigration reform and thus alienating Latino voters.
The concern was raised very publicly in the Republican National Committees’ report on the 2012 elections, released last year. In that report, well respected Republicans — Haley Barbour, Sally Bradshaw, Ari Fleischer, Zori Fonalledas and Glenn McCall –warned that the GOP would not be competitive in future elections without Latino support.
Another argument in favor of immigration reform comes from other power brokers in the GOP, including the Cato Institute, the Manhattan Institute and many business leaders who say the current system is a drag on the economy. They believe reform will stimulate growth and create jobs.
“According to the Pew Hispanic Center, in 2050, whites will be 47 percent of the country while Hispanics will grow to 29 percent and Asians to 9 percent,” the report said. “If we want ethnic minority voters to support Republicans, we have to engage them and show our sincerity.”
For many Republicans, this sincerity could be expressed through immigration reform. Yet the far right of the GOP refuses to compromise, with Sarah Palin saying at CPAC, “The last thing conservatives should do is help the president pass his number-one goal, and that’s amnesty.”
Michael McDonald, who heads the United States Elections Project and researches voting trends, raised new concerns about the Latino vote. Last week. McDonald analyzed Census records and determined that the size of the Latino vote will grow by 2 percentage points from 2012 to 2016 in Florida, Nevada and Colorado, all swing states. It will also go up two points in Arizona, Texas and New Mexico, and go up one point in North Carolina, Virginia and Georgia.
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