The logic of elections is simple and
elegant: the one with the most votes wins.
Republicans are looking at the nation's
demography and see a yawning gap between the GOP and the growing Latino
The Pew Center has projected that roughly
75% of the growth of the Latino population in the United states over
the next couple of decades will come from native births - not immigration.
These are Americans who will vote -
and will vote in large numbers in key states that have a disproportionate
impact in presidential elections: California, Texas, Florida, New York
and Illinois are on that list.
So the Arizona Anti-Latino measure just signed into law by Republican
Governor Jan Brewer, with
the party-line support of her fellow Republicans, is already having
repercussions for the GOP nationally.
Civil rights groups, Latinos and Libertarians
in their opposition to a law
that will, effectively, legalize racial profiling and make it unsafe
for Americans of Latino descent to walk in the streets of Arizona without
fear of being stopped by the police on "reasonable suspicion"
of being undocumented - or the certainty that they are Latinos.
Predictably, this law is the golden crown
of the Republican
Party's repudiation of immigration reform and Latinos in particular.
Long term strategists in the GOP, however,
are looking at the evolving demographics of the country - and wondering
how do they continue to be an effective national party without some
level of Latino support.
Even George W. Bush's "Brain",
Karl Rove, spoke against the law, reports
the Orlando Sentinel:
Karl Rove, chief political
strategist for former President George W. Bush, today questioned a controversial
new Arizona law designed to cut down on illegal immigration by making
it a crime to not produce proof of citizenship when a law enforcement
officer demands it...
..."I think there is going
to be some constitutional problems with the bill," he said to
the standing-room-only crowd at the Colony Cottage Recreation Center.
"I wished they hadn't passed it, in a way."
So in the end, as it always does in a
functioning representative democracy, it comes to votes.
Both Democrats and Republicans need Latinos
in their coalitions. Simple as that.
And the Arizona law is not just a slap
in the face of Latinos - it is an attack
against our civil rights and American identity.
That this law is a 100% creation of the
Arizona GOP is not going unnoticed by Americans of Latino descent.
This will be remembered.
So now we hear the fast back pedaling
of national GOP leaders as they try to distance their party from the
political train wreck that is this Arizona law.
But their soft critiques of the fiasco
- always careful not to irritate their base that seems to be enthusiastically
supportive of the police state tactics enshrined into this law - may
not be enough to undo the brand damage to the national Republican Party.
Much as California Governor Pete Wilson's
Proposition 187, which sought to kick undocumented children out of schools,
permanently branded the state Republican Party as, fair or not, racist,
this Arizona law is doing the same for the GOP but at a national level.
Prop 187 happened in the pre-Internet
age. It was, to a certain extent, a local issue. The damage to the GOP
was contained to one state, albeit the largest state in the Union.
Today Latinos and civil libertarians
have used social media to spread the word about this authoritarian law-
and to organize effective opposition.
This prairie fire is spreading and if
left unchecked by the Republican Party it will create a permanent
constituency for the Democratic Party: Latinos.