Republicans across the country are up in arms with the recent re-election of Barack Obama. Scratching their heads, developing theories as to why we lost. Some, I know, are questioning the Party’s strategy, especially with the news of the Obama – Hispanic vote landslide.
I remember having discussions with Republican leadership, and elected officials who would tell me, “Duke, our research shows us that although immigration is a hot-button issue, it’s all gonna come down to the economy and jobs.” “Really?” I’d respond, “because everywhere I go, I talk to Hispanics and they’re all concerned with how the Republican Party will address the immigration issues we face.”
At times, it felt like I was talking to a wall. It didn’t matter what I said, the consultants had decided to avoid immigration and stick with the game plan.
As we now have realized, that game-plan didn’t work. We didn’t draw Hispanics and we didn’t win a large percentage of Independents.
So now, a few days after the election, I decided to visit the RNC website and take a look at the “Hispanic” page. It had been several months since I visited the site, and I was curious to see what had been done. Last time I checked, the RNC was using a Ning website to host their Hispanic page, but now, it was included in the national RNC website, a definite improvement.
The first thing I noticed was the Hispanic page only had 1 Facebook “like,” 0 tweets, and 0 Google+ shares. Basically, it was an inactive, unshared page.
The next thing that jumped at me was the Issues page still had one glaring omission. I had written a blog about this a year ago, where the RNC talked about every issue except one. Immigration.
And there you have it. We Republicans have decided to avoid the issue of Immigration, and now we’re wondering why 71% of Hispanics voted for Obama? It’s because he spoke to their issues and we didn’t. It’s not rocket science…we beat ourselves.
The question now is, are we ready to address this, or is it business as usual?
I’ve received several emails from people who are self-proclaimed “hard-liners,” who understand it’s time to change the direction on immigration. They were the ones who wanted to deport all illegals and build a wall. But now, they realize that is not the answer. They understand we must alter our path if we expect to draw Hispanics.
Yet, as we speak of immigration, we must ensure we settle minds of the far-right and assure them there will be no Amnesty, where we immediately convert illegal / undocumented residents into American citizens. That is not the solution.
Instead, we must see immigration as a security issue. We need to know who’s here, and since we’re not going to deport everyone, we must conclude to document those living among us. They must be willing to come out of the shadows and participate in the phase-in program, where they provide birth certificates, get photo id’s, go through a background check, and submit to a health exam; all of which they pay for.
After they go through this program, we should issue them a 2 year visa, that they can extend if they stay out of trouble and pay their taxes. But at least this way, they can be productive residents and not live in fear. They can pay taxes and purchase property…legally, without forged documents.
Many of us have these thoughts, but the problem is the leadership in the Republican Party has not been willing to accept this reality. Now we have another 4 years of Obama, the ultimate consequence of failing to connect with Hispanics.
We all know what happens when we avoid dealing with an issue…it ends up getting worse, and Obama’s re-election should be our glaring reminder.