Remember how in the wake of their defeat in the 2012 presidential election many Republicans said that the party needed to re-brand and expand beyond its reactionary, aging white voter base? Even Bobby Jindal who has now fully embraced stupidity in his ridiculous presidential campaign foray had said that the GOP had to stop being "the party of stupid." Fast forward to today and one sees that absolutely nothing has changed in the GOP and that the so-called re-branding effort never went anywhere. Indeed, in some ways the GOP seems even more insane and out of touch. A piece in Salon looks at the failed effort. Here are highlights:
A couple of weeks ago Univision released a poll that should have sent a piercing shiver of dread through the heart of every Republican who cares about the party’s long-term electoral health. The Spanish-language media outlet asked Latino voters whom they’d support in hypothetical match-ups between the leading Republican presidential candidates and Hillary Clinton, and the GOP’s best-performing candidate – Jeb Bush – did no better among Latinos than Mitt Romney did in 2012. The poll was a grim reminder that the GOP’s fits-and-starts attempts at “rebranding” have not succeeded at measurably improving its standing among one of the fastest growing electoral demographics in the country.
The flip side to the GOP’s problem with appealing to Latino voters is the rather intractable hostility its base shows toward undocumented immigrants. As Greg Sargent and others have pointed out, a new poll from CNN finds a huge gap between Republicans and the rest of the country when it comes to immigration policy. By a wide margin, 56-42, Americans believe the “focus” of U.S. immigration policy should be finding a way to provide some form of legal status for undocumented immigrants in the country. . . . other polling shows “a majority of Republicans does not think the undocumented should be allowed to live and work here even if they pay a fine and meet other requirements.”
This puts 2016 candidates in a difficult spot. The immigration agenda of Republicans in Congress – which is aggressively anti-immigrant and thoroughly unrealistic in its goals and implementation – lines up pretty well with the expectations of Republican base voters. 2016 GOP candidates will be under intense pressure to speak the language of the base on immigration . . . . Doing so will help perpetuate the party’s decline with Latino voters and alienate the other large segments of the electorate that favor a more moderate approach to immigration. There is no good option, which explains why some candidates are trying – and failing – to play both sides.