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Most people go to dinner, see a movie, or get a sweet bouquet of flowers for an anniversary. Speaker Paul Ryan and House GOP’s idea of an anniversary present is a politically-motivated vote attacking millions of immigrant families, which happened just earlier.
Today marks the third anniversary of the RNC’s “autopsy report,” announced a few months after Mitt Romney’s landslide loss to President Obama in 2012. In the report, the RNC called for a massive overhaul of African-American, Latino, and Asian-American voter outreach, and clearly staked out a policy position the party needed to embrace in order to survive:
We must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform….If Hispanic Americans hear that the GOP doesn’t want them in the United States, they won’t pay attention to our next sentence. It doesn’t matter what we say about education, jobs or the economy; if Hispanics think that we do not want them here, they will close their ears to our policies. In essence, Hispanic voters tell us our Party’s position on immigration has become a litmus test, measuring whether we are meeting them with a welcome mat or a closed door.
The committee added:
Public perception of the party is at record lows. Young voters are increasingly rolling their eyes at what the Party represents, and many minorities wrongly think that Republicans do not like them or want them in the country.
That seemed pretty unequivocal: We really have to work on how we talk to people of color. And, in particular, if we want Latinos we have to start with immigration reform, no ifs, ands, or buts. So how did Republicans respond in time for the next Presidential cycle in 2016? Not only by refusing to put an immigration reform bill on the President’s desk for his signature, but by elevating a man who will haunt them for a really long time: Donald Trump.
Since his campaign launch last June, we’ve all heard Donald Trump’s dangerous and toxic hate speech (some heard a little sooner than others, but anyway): That Mexicans are criminals and “rapists.” That all 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in the United States “have to go.” That we need a “huge” wall along the border that “Mexico will pay for.” That “Operation Wetback” was a “humane” idea we should totally try again. The list goes on and on.
Trump’s dangerous campaign has pushed the entire Republican field to the right — we dubbed it “The Trump Effect” early on. Even Republican candidates who had once been friendly to the immigrant community — candidates like Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio — tossed out their values and principles and flung to the right on immigration in order to appeal to nativists. And then they lost anyway. And, this string of anti-immigrant actions in the GOP isn’t even including all the anti-DREAMer votes former Speaker John Boehner gave Steve King since 2013.
Just as hateful as the rhetoric has been the physical violence at the hands of Trump’s fans against people of color. We’ve seen the beatings, the assaults, the vile slurs hurled at peaceful protesters. The young Black man sucker-punched by a Trump fan in North Carolina, who later told a news outlet he’d kill the young man if he saw him again. It’s been happening for months, and Republican leaders essentially condoned it by turning a blind eye and refusing to condemn Trump until only very recently.
And as we mentioned earlier, today Speaker Paul Ryan held a political vote against DAPA to give the GOP House another chance to brush up their anti-immigrant credentials. Intentional or not, the fact that it happened on the anniversary of the announcement of the autopsy report is a slap in the face to immigrants, Latinos, and their allies.
It’s clear the RNC’s “autopsy report” wasn’t worth the paper it was printed it on, and it’s even more clear that Republicans have learned zero lessons because they’re on track to reissue yet another autopsy report in 2016, all thanks to the ugliness since 2012. When they try to figure out yet again what went terribly, terribly wrong in November, all they need to remember is Donald Trump.