Jul. 12, 2013
Launching this month, DefenseOne.com, a new Atlantic Media brand covering trends and ideas that will define the future of U.S. national security.
IN THE NEWS: Napolitano resigns from DHS … Lawmakers hopeful on immigration … Some in Egypt backing Morsi on democratic principle … Reid weighing ‘nuclear option’ … Women in Washington … Snowden seeking asylum in Russia … Malibu and Nantucket‘s disappearing beaches … How Obama copied other presidents
Is Immigration the Only Answer for the GOP?
Are Republicans doomed without passing comprehensive immigration reform? That’s been the underlying assumption in much of the media coverage over the last month. As the thinking goes, rejection of the Gang of Eight‘s legislation will permanently consign Republicans to the measly 27 percent of Hispanic voters that Mitt Romney received in the 2012 election.
Republicans face a serious challenge diversifying their coalition. But the narrow focus on immigration as a silver bullet understates their problems and neglects the possibility that other factors contributed to the GOP’s problem. President Obama didn’t touch immigration throughout most of his first term, only belatedly addressing the issue during a tight campaign. Yet he still won Latinos in a landslide.
Romney’s crack on “self-deportation” surely cost him minority support, but his economic messaging and privileged background didn’t help either. Indeed, Romney performed even worse among Asian-Americans than Hispanics—a sign that the GOP problems go well beyond immigration.
If Republicans focused on proposals for economic opportunity—education reform and worker retraining programs, to name two—it could yield greater dividends across racial lines than simply passing an immigration bill.
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