Hardheaded GOP Might ‘Willie Lynch’ Black and Latino Voters
6 months ago
With the white vote wanning, beware Republican tactics
If you caught a few minutes of Republican reaction to President Barack Obama’s reelection on cable news last week, you probably heard a few talking heads bellyaching about the GOP’s need to racially diversify its coalition.
Exit polling data made it crystal clear that the conservative base – largely old, white and male – can no longer deliver sweeping victories in presidential elections. With 94 percent of the black vote and 70 percent of the Latino vote going to the president, one might assume Republicans are ready to reconsider a fleeting truce on the social and immigration policies alienating these voting blocs.
It’s entirely likely that hardheaded GOP leaders will not heed the lessons of this election – and it would be foolish for President Obama and the Democrats to believe otherwise, given recent history.
Republicans tried – and largely failed -- to suppress the Obama vote in 2012. They tried to destroy President Obama, by rendering him nearly impotent on much of his first-term agenda. But they’ve avoided seriously courting the black and Latino voting blocs away from him. And if backed into a corner, they’ll take the “Willie Lynch approach” of divide and conquer to expand their coalition.
Blacks want to see a substantial decrease in their disproportionately high unemployment rate. Latinos want lawmakers to get serious about increasing legal immigration and creating pathways to citizenship for undocumented residents. If Republicans began championing meaningful immigration reform, they’d easily shave off the Democrats’ growing support among Latinos. And let's face it, the GOP has given up on African Americans, in their belief that blacks will always vote Democratic or, in the case of Obama, with their race.
[ALSO READ: Suppress This: GOP Attacks Drove Blacks to Polls]
There were perhaps no stronger post-election remarks from a prominent Republican than those from Grover Norquist, the anti-tax activist responsible for much of the Republican obstructionism on tax reform.
“Ten years from now, you want to be splitting the Hispanic vote by something close to 50-50,” he told Bloomberg News. “That’s completely doable if the threat of deportation was removed.”
Norquist and others have put serious thought into courting Latinos, who trend more conservative on family and social issues than African Americans. There is a Republican road map for gaining Latino support.