The GOP’s future speaks Spanish
The GOP’s future speaks Spanish
Jan 05, 2013 12:48 AM EST
The Washington PostPublished: January 4
The new year has begun with an avalanche of Republican retrospectives: What went wrong? What must the GOP do?
In attempting to navigate my own thoughts, I keep bumping into advice my father gave me a long time ago: “Learn Spanish. You will need it to survive in the world you will inherit.”
For those living in Florida then, the trends were becoming obvious. They were literally in our neighborhood, where in 1960 a recently arrived Cuban family had moved in a few doors down. Having just escaped Castro’s Cuba with only a few coins sewn into the hems of the mother’s and daughters’ dresses, this family of six spoke little English.
We became close friends and, eventually, as much out of fascination and affection as pragmatism, I did learn their language — and they mine.
My father’s advice was prescient, if somewhat exaggerated. I haven’t needed Spanish to survive, though being bilingual has helped. A lot. As I often tell college audiences, I was hired for my first job not because I had a journalism degree (I didn’t) but because I spoke Spanish.
What was clear to my father even then is that our hemisphere could not long be segregated by language. Nor, apparently, can we be kept apart by borders, no matter how many fences we build or drones we deploy.
Meanwhile, and not incidentally, our new, 113th U.S. Congress has welcomed 31 Hispanic members. Three are in the Senate — GOP superstar Marco Rubio of Florida and Republican Ted Cruz of Texas, as well as Democrat Robert Menendez of New Jersey. All are Cuban American.
Of the 28 Latinos in the House of Representatives, all but five are Democrats.
Why so few Republicans? Therein lurks the relevant question for the GOP and perhaps the most important answer to the puzzle: Learn Spanish.
I offer my father’s imperative not literally but as metaphor. When even some of the Latino candidates don’t speak their forebears’ tongue, one needn’t feign fluency. Though endearing at times, nothing sounds more ridiculous — or inauthentic — than a politician pandering with a faux accent or foreign phrase. (Think Barack Obama droppin’ his g’s in the South, or Hillary Clinton’s rendering of James Cleveland’s freedom hymn at the 42nd anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” in Selma, Ala.)
Metaphorically, learning Spanish means learning people. Knowing them as human beings, not as statistics on a game board. Recognizing their humanity and finding new ways to talk about immigration that don’t alienate entire swaths of the population.
Jindal (R), an Indian American, should know. The unlikeliest of good ol’ boy governors, he has managed to transcend race and ethnicity in his home state to become incoming chair of the Republican Governors Association. Anti-Latino rhetoric is especially unwelcome in post-Katrina New Orleans, where most will admit that the growing Latino population rebuilt the city.. Instead, dinner conversation during a recent visit with local leaders centered around the state’s evolving cuisine, which is becoming a Cajun-Latino hybrid.
Upon waves of immigrants are new palates born.
And, potentially, storm-tossed political parties.
The GOP was always a natural home for Latinos, who tend to be conservative and Catholic, though decreasingly so. Fewer than 60 percent of second-generation Latinos are Catholic, according to the Pew Research Center.
Even so, the Republican narrative of hard work, entrepreneurship and personal responsibility would seem to appeal to recent immigrants who are attracted by those very opportunities. Why aren’t Hispanics hearing the GOP call? Because this aspirational language is drowned out by the rhetoric of rejection.
You don’t need a dictionary to translate the following: In June, Obama, who won 71 percent of the Hispanic vote, announced reprieves from deportation for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who were in the United States illegally, while Mitt Romney promised to end the reprieves if elected.
Whatever the legitimate arguments on either side, one shows heart and the other doesn’t. Recognizing this deficit of spirit, rising non-white Republican stars are beginning to form a constellation of “opportunity conservatism,” to borrow Cruz’s term. The ideas aren’t lacking, they say, but the messaging has been disastrous.
Whether these new ways of communication ultimately can change the complexion of the GOP remains to be seen, but the future is clear enough: Lose the Hispanic vote, and you lose. And the message to Republicans, if they want to survive, should be obvious.
The mantra has been intoned by John Boehner, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Newt Gingrich, Grover Norquist and many other party eminences, and there is a certain logic to saying that the voters, by giving Republicans the House, were asking for divided government.
But the claim to represent the voters’ will doesn’t add up.
The final results from the November election were completed Friday, and they show that Democratic candidates for the House outpolled Republicans nationwide by nearly 1.4 million votes and more than a full percentage point — a greater margin than the preliminary figures showed in November. And that’s just the beginning of it: A new analysis finds that even if Democratic congressional candidates won the popular vote by seven percentage points nationwide, they still would not have gained control of the House.
The analysis, by Ian Millhiser at the liberal Center for American Progress using data compiled by the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, finds that even if Democrats were to win the popular vote by a whopping nine percentage points — a political advantage that can’t possibly be maintained year after year — they would have a tenuous eight-seat majority.
In a very real sense, the Republican House majority is impervious to the will of the electorate. Thanks in part to deft redistricting based on the 2010 Census, House Republicans may be protected from the vicissitudes of the voters for the next decade. For Obama and the Democrats, this is an ominous development: The House Republican majority is durable, and it isn’t necessarily sensitive to political pressure and public opinion.
According to the Jan. 4 final tally by Cook’s David Wasserman after all states certified their votes, Democratic House candidates won 59,645,387 votes in November to the Republicans’ 58,283,036, a difference of 1,362,351. On a percentage basis, Democrats won, 49.15 percent to 48.03 percent.
This in itself is an extraordinary result: Only three or four other times in the past century has a party lost the popular vote but won control of the House. But computer-aided gerrymandering is helping to make such undemocratic results the norm — to the decided advantage of Republicans, who controlled state governments in 21 states after the 2010 Census, almost double the 11 for Democrats.
To be sure, Democrats tend to be just as flagrant as Republicans when they have the chance to gerrymander. And the Republican advantage isn’t entirely because of redistricting; Democrats have lopsided majorities in urban clusters, so the overall popular vote overstates their competitiveness in other districts. An analysis by FairVote found that nonpartisan redistricting would only partially close the gap, which comes also from the disappearance of ticket-splitting voters who elected centrist Democrats.
But the 2012 House results show the redrawing of districts to optimize Republican representation clearly had an impact. Consider three states won by Obama in 2012 where Republicans dominated the redistricting: In Pennsylvania, Democrats won just five of 18 House seats; in Virginia, Democrats won three of 11; and in Ohio, Democrats won four of 16.
Using Wasserman’s tally, Millhiser ranked districts by the Republican margin of victory and calculated that for Democrats to have won the 218 seats needed for a House majority they would have had to have added 6.13 percentage points to their popular-vote victory margin of 1.12 points.
To put the Republican advantage in perspective, Democrats could win the House only if they do significantly better than Republicans did in their landslide year of 2010 (when they had a 6.6-point advantage). That’s not impossible — Democrats did it in 2006 and 2008 — but it’s difficult. Republicans don’t have a permanent House majority, but they will go into the next several elections with an automatic head start. For many, the biggest political threat comes not from Democrats but from conservative primary challengers.
In theory, the Supreme Court could decide before then that this rigged system denies Americans fair and effective representation. But this won’t happen anytime soon. For now, Democrats need to recognize that the Republican House majority will respond only sluggishly to the usual levers of democracy.
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Senator Ted Cruz: What Republicans should stand for
Como solicitado le envío la lista de Congresistas de la delegación de Florida
que aun no han co-ausipiciado H.R. 2000. Tambien envío un link a un website que
tiene los números de teléfono y links a los websites de cada oficina donde
podrán someter el pedido de que los congresistas se conviertan en
co-auspiciadores de la medida.
Jeff Miller – R
Steve Southerland – R
Ted Yoho – R
Ander Crenshaw – R
Ron DeSantis – R
Bill Posey – R
Daniel Webster – R
Rich Nugent – R
Gus Bilirakis – R
C.W. Bill Young – R
Dennis A. Ross – R
Vern Buchanan – R
Tom Rooney – R
Patrick Murphy – D
Try Radel – R
Todos en esta lista son Republicanos menos el Congresista Murphy, quien es el
único Democrata que todavía no ha co-auspiciado.
Para asistirlos hemos preparado una serie de attachments con los resultados del
plebiscito y otros documentos, como la porción de la plataforma del Partido
Republicano 2012 donde habla sobre la estadidad para Puerto Rico, y una
resolución reciente de los Young Republicans donde apoyan la estadidad para
Por favor utilicen su juicio al determinar cuales documentos enviarle a cada
No sugiero que envíen todos los attachments a todas las oficinas, pues puede ser
demasiada información para procesar.
Nota: Agradezco la ayuda que nos ha dado el amigo George Laws para preparar esta
Para trabajar por la Estadidad: