Latinos and the GOP

The radicalization of the Tea Party and its growing influence within the GOP are detrimental both to that political organization and to moderate, independent voters who are losing a political option. The Latino community is among them.

Every electorate benefits when Democrats and Republicans are actively competing for its support, when they work to become familiar with and respond to the group’s interests and concerns. All with the expectation of obtaining votes when it is time to go to the polls.

The profile of Hispanic voters fits this dynamic. This is a swing electorate in which the majority is not married to any party, unlike for example African Americans, where 90% usually support Democrats.

Moreover, the proportionality of the Latino vote helps Republican candidates win elections, like it happened with George W. Bush, and lose them, like with Mitt Romney.

That is why it is unfortunate that the efforts of the Republican National Committee to attract Latino voters are clashing with the reality of the House of Representatives and senators like Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who cannot look beyond the parochial inflexibility of the ideologue.

For example, inflammatory rhetoric on immigration issues and inflexibility on budget matters—what led to the government shutdown—drives away moderates and independents. They get excluded from the beginning with this discourse.

That is very good for Democrats but not necessarily for the Hispanic community, which sees its options limited. It is a poor dynamic for the Democratic Party to take Latino support for granted because Republicans exclude themselves by adopting the Tea Party’s extremist positions. The result is being between a rock and a hard place; between a party that usually ignores Latinos and another that wants to deport them.

The Tea Party’s political influence is a problem for Republicans, who cultivated it when it was useful to battle the White House. Now, it has gotten beyond their control. This presence does not enlarge the party’s tent—it makes it smaller, leaving many voters out, among them Latinos. This does not benefit the Republicans or Hispanics.