GOP’s Problem With Hispanics

Ruben Navarrette Jr., CNN, August 14, 2009

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According to the documents, [Karl] Rove was “agitated” because Republican lawmakers in New Mexico–namely, Sen. Pete Domenici and Rep. Heather Wilson–were complaining that Iglesias wasn’t investigating allegations of voter fraud and pursuing corruption indictments against Democratic officials. The GOP’s targets included New Mexico Attorney General Patricia Madrid who ran against Wilson unsuccessfully in 2006.

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{snip} New Mexico isn’t Iowa or Maine or North Dakota. In a state like New Mexico, with a significant Hispanic population, concerns about “voter fraud” are really a proxy for something else: anxiety over changing demographics fueled by illegal immigration.

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{snip} Rove figured out early on that Republicans needed Hispanic support to win elections and he helped shepherd George W. Bush’s impressive inroads into the Hispanic community. Bush got 35 percent of the Hispanic vote in the 2000 presidential election, and a staggering 44 percent in 2004. A lot of that was due to Rove.

Then here comes New Mexico and Rove is carrying water for a pair of knucklehead Republicans–Domenici and Wilson–who, it appears, would just as soon try to suppress the Hispanic vote as compete for it.

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The Republicans in New Mexico were clearly terrified about a surge in Hispanic voting power and how it could lead to countless defeats for the GOP in future elections. That’s because most Hispanics vote Democratic, and–thanks to shenanigans like this–you can see why.

[Editor’s Note: Ruben Navarrette Jr. is the author of A Darker Shade of Crimson: Odyssey of a Harvard Chicano.]

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