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The Latino Vote, or Things the Republicans Just Aren't Getting

03/05/2013 05:22 pm 17:22:37 | Updated May 05, 2013

"Latinos," says Dan Cox, Director of Research of the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI)," are not a single-issue constituency." This is certainly true, as is the claim that whatever issues the Republicans advocated in 2012, Latino Americans did not find them particularly appealing.

Reckoned to be about 17 percent of the nation's population, this group gave seven-tenths of its vote to Barack Obama on Election Day last November. This has caused, understandably, considerable consternation for the current GOP. Yet Mr. Cox's analysis suggests that no immediate panacea is in sight. Unless...

According to PRRI's research, Republican positions on immigration reform (no, "self-deportation" was not a winner), economic inequality (it just might be that many Latinos took umbrage, as did so many other Americans, with being consigned to some mooching 47 percent), and the expansion of government (to paraphrase Obama, it's not about big government or small government, but what type of government best serves the people of the United States) are singularly distasteful to these Americans. Any Republican turnaround will need to address these liabilities with dispatch.

Cox's observations on Catholic Latinos and Evangelical Latinos ought also disconcert red-state strategists majorly. Whereas the former used to swing Democratic and the latter Republican, in this past election both gave the majority of their support to the party of Obama.

George W. Bush in 2004 did not have these difficulties with Latino voters. Whether this was due to his compassionate conservatism or his far more loving and far less lashing conception of his evangelical faith remains to be examined by social scientists.