GOP continues to anger Hispanics

 

Amid the scandal-mania, it has gone somewhat under the radar that the Florida state director of Hispanic outreach for the Republican National Committee, Pablo Pantoja, recently resigned his position and left the GOP. Indeed, Pantoja changed his party affiliation to Democrat.

His reasoning is straightforward: For all the focus on outreach to Latinos, Pantoja wrote, there is a “culture of intolerance surrounding the Republican Party.” In an e-mail that has been posted online, he cited the recent media reports on the writings of a former scholar at the Heritage Foundation, Jason Richwine, who had theorized that “No one knows whether Hispanics will ever reach IQ parity with whites, but the prediction that new Hispanic immigrants will have low-IQ children and grandchildren is difficult to argue against.”

Although Heritage distanced itself from those assertions, Pantoja wrote, “other immigration-related research is still padded with the same racist and eugenics-based innuendo.”

It’s not hard to find examples of prominent Republicans using racially loaded terms such as “anchor babies” and “illegals.” The GOP presidential primaries were soaked with derogatory rhetoric toward immigrants, and one candidate — Texas Gov. Rick Perry — began sliding toward defeat after he expressed sympathy for the children of unauthorized immigrants.

Pantoja’s departure from the Republican Party illustrates not only the dynamic of the past four years — when Latino voters responded to negative Republican rhetoric by moving toward the Democratic camp — but also the potential dynamic of the next decade. As my Post colleague Greg Sargent noted this week, conservative Republicans in the Senate are preparing to introduce a variety of “poison pill” amendments to the immigration bill designed to make the package unpalatable to supporters. For their part, House Republicans have yet to offer support to a comprehensive bill.

The combination of right-wing rhetoric and pronouncements from figures like Richwine have created the perception of racialized opposition to immigration reform in which attempts to kill the legislation stem from bigotry. If the bill fails, it could further damage GOP relations with Hispanic voters, possibly for another generation. For Republican supporters of immigration reform, there is no option but passage.

The good news is that immigration reform is still possible, as key Republicans such as Sen. Marco Rubio, Fla., remain behind the proposal. But they need to break through right-wing opposition.

Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect, where he writes a blog.

Special to The Washington Post

Read more From Our Inbox stories from the Miami Herald

  • Too much paranoia about kids alone in parks

    A couple of weeks ago, the Debra Harrell story made national headlines. Harrell was arrested in North Augusta, S.C., and charged with a felony for letting her 9-year-old daughter play at a park while Harrell worked a shift at a local McDonald’s. Now, it has happened again, in Port St. Lucie, Fla., where a mother was charged with child neglect after letting her son go to a park by himself.

  • Our blind spot about guns

    If we had the same auto-fatality rate today that we had in 1921, by my calculations we would have 715,000 Americans dying annually in vehicle accidents.

  • ’Too big to fail’ equals ‘too eager to borrow’

    Four years ago this month, President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Act into law, promising that the 848-page financial law would “put a stop to taxpayer bailouts once and for all,” he said. But recently, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren told a Detroit crowd that “the biggest banks are even bigger than they were when they got too big to fail in 2008.”

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category