Republicans fear babies of tomorrow
The demographics of the American voter are gradually changing.
By 2042 white male Southern Evangelicals, who represent the core of the Republican Party, will represent a much smaller percentage of the electorate.
By 2042 that majority of the U.S. population will no longer be white.
Thirty percent of Americans will be of Hispanic descent, African Americans 15 percent, and Asian Americans 9 percent.
So what does the GOP do to deal with this future?
Karl Rove and George Bush went after the Hispanic vote, seeking to create a strong base of Hispanics in the Republican Party.
That strategy failed due to Tom Tancredo and the first wave of attack on Hispanics. Tancredo was successful in demonizing all Hispanics, citizens or illegals, and, in doing so, projecting the Republican Party as anti-Hispanic.
Since that opening volley Arizona’s current governor, Jan Brewer has claimed most illegal Hispanic immigrants are criminals and drug dealers. They are not.
And now comes Lindsey Graham, Republican Senator from South Carolina, advancing the incredible idea of reversing the 14th amendment.
The plan of the Republicans now has evolved. Recognizing that their hope in attracting the Hispanic vote is increasingly unlikely to succeed, they have decided to have a more punitive approach.
Republicans now believe their best strategy is to keep the Hispanic population from ever voting by denying children of Hispanic descent born in the U.S. citizenship.
It is an interesting strategy, for it would not only deny the newborns citizenship and the vote, but all of their future generations would not be citizens.
These non-citizens would have no place to call home, with no citizenship anywhere on the planet. And while that might seem problematic to some, to Republicans it is justification for cancelling the 14th amendment to the constitution.
The strategy will not work. The requirement for changing the constitution is far too stringent, and the majority of Americans far too reasonable, to permit such a political goal to be accomplished.
In the short term, the mid-term elections of this fall, the Republican strategy of demonizing all Hispanics may work in some states, electing Republicans. But in the longer term the strategy will inevitably fail.
If the GOP continues to be the white people’s Tea Party they will find their long term electoral chances dim. Unable to win majorities of any minority, including Hispanics, African Americans, Asians or gays, the party will face shrinkage of voters as these demographic trends develop.
The GOP has also lost a majority of women voters and of college graduates. Altogether these trends will sink the Republican Party by the weight of its far Right recent tilt.
Barring a shift away from the current extremism of the Tea Party minority, Republicans will find their “Big Tent” too small to win any national elections.
And while Republicans are currently moving so far to the right of the political spectrum, their future actually lies in moving away from radical conservatism and towards the political middle ground that could attract the voters that now turn to the Democratic Party without contest.
The British Conservative Party has discovered this core change in political fortune and has made some policy adjustments to be a party moderate enough to appeal to a broader range of voters.
But for now at least Republicans will bask in their Big Tent that ends up being a big white tent where the brown babies are feared.
Jim Crawford is a contributing columnist for The Tribune and a former educator at Ohio University Southern.