September 7, 2007


The GOP and Latino evangelicals: Candidates' immigration views could alienate a natural group of supporters (William McKenzie, 9/04/07, Dallas Morning News)

The defeat has [the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez] wondering whether "the GOP is the party of Jeff Sessions, Tom Tancredo and James Sensenbrenner or the party of George W. Bush and John McCain?" In other words, those like Mr. Tancredo who strongly opposed immigration reform or those like Mr. Bush who strongly favored it.

Right now, Mr. Rodriguez thinks, "xenophobia has triumphed over an appreciation for diversity. They completely abandoned us."

Wow. And, remember, this is a guy who likes Republicans.

He is not alone, either. Mr. Rodriguez says the leaders of all 50 state chapters of his organization believe Latino evangelicals will not turn out for Republicans. "We were divided on global warming, but not on immigration," he says. He thinks Latino evangelicals will likely stay home instead of voting Republican.

Curious about this, I tested out his ideas among other Latino evangelicals. The Rev. Lynn Godsey of Ennis, who's not part of Mr. Rodriguez's coalition, said he agrees that immigration really could hurt Republicans. He's active among Latino Protestants in North Texas, and he claims that John McCain is the only Republican hopeful who looks good to Latino evangelicals in the region.

A third evangelical pastor I contacted shared that view. The Rev. Mark Gonzalez of Dallas says a core of Latino evangelicals will vote Republican. But others will vote Democratic or stay home, he predicted. (Mr. Green's early surveys for the 2008 race confirm what the pastors are saying.)

I usually like to suggest how candidates or officials can head off a coming disaster. This one's hard because most of the GOP presidential contenders are running away from the Bush-McCain line on immigration. That means they are only digging a deeper grave with a natural Republican constituency.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 7, 2007 1:26 PM

Some of these articles (third of this type this week) smack of a coordinated PR campaign. That said, that is no reason to believe they aren't accurate.

The fact is that to court this growing constituency, they will lose a larger (yet shrinking) constituency (OJ's yahoos)

The Savages and Ingrahams have ginned up this issue to a point that there is no good way out. The rhetoric has been so hot that any attempt at creating a bill is worse than letting the issue sit.

Posted by: Bruno at September 7, 2007 4:40 PM

Bruno -
I seem to remember from my Competitive Marketing class in college that a sure sign of coming failure is when your business plan is increasing your market share in a shrinking market. That seems to be what we're doing by alienating Hispanics. I really thought it would be the nutroots that ran the Dems over the cliff, but instead our wahoo-right has found a way to grasp defeat from the jaws of victory.

Posted by: Patrick H at September 7, 2007 5:20 PM


Please avoid any comparisons between politics and business marketing. There is such a thing as managing a business for cash flow, as opposed to marketing for growth. Managing a business for cash flow tends to be somewhat more lucrative, even if it may not seem permanent.

The Democrats did this for a long time with the WWII-and-older generation (Bill Clinton easily beat his GOP opponents with that generation), and the Republicans are poised to do the same with the Baby Boomers. Combine that with the continual focus on "the base" (of both parties), and any loss the GOP faces in '08 will not be that debilitating.

The growth in Hispanic population will not make its effects on the ballot box known for at least another 20 years.

Posted by: Brad S at September 7, 2007 6:50 PM

Sadly, just like the GOP lost the blacks (the most naturally conservative group in the US).

Posted by: Benny at September 7, 2007 7:17 PM

Brad S -- Why do you believe non-Hispanic evangelicals or Catholics would feel any differently than their brothers and sisters with brown skin and Spanish accents?

As the last election proved, when evangelicals stay home, the GOP loses.

And what possible reasoning are you using to believe selfish, aging, mostly childless baby boomers will suddenly start voting Republican? Sounds ridiculous to me.

Posted by: Randall Voth at September 8, 2007 6:56 AM

I'm a selfish, aging, childless boomer and i vote Republican. So do most of my friends, who are mostly selfish, aging, mostly childless baby boomers.

Posted by: randy at September 8, 2007 9:22 AM