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CPAC — and GOP — Are Not Trying Hard Enough on New Voter Outreach

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CPAC came to a conclusion over the weekend, and anti-immigrant types like NumbersUSA’s Rosemary Jenks and Center for Immigration Studies’ Mark Krikorian complained that there just wasn’t room for them at the conference this year.

“It used to be that at CPAC there was at least one panel that had two people from each side, and years ago it was three people on our side and kind of like what they are doing now, it was three on one only it was reversed,” Jenks told the Washington Post.

CPAC, apparently, is trying to shape up post-2012 election, which is why Breitbart for the second year in a row had to hold its own conference of “The Uninvited,” those whose views were deemed too extreme to speak at CPAC.  But CPAC apparently wasn’t trying hard enough.  It invited Ann Coulter, who made a lot of headlines for comparing demographic change to rape and suggested that we should organize “death squads” for supporters of immigration reform if legislation passes.  Michelle Bachmann implored conservatives to “build the dang fence!”  Donald Trump told conservatives that immigration reform would lead to 30 million new Democratic voters.

CPAC’s sort-of effort to make their conference a more welcoming place is emblematic of the GOP’s larger struggle to open up their tent — they’re trying, question mark, and obviously not hard enough.  How else to describe the House Republicans who have led immigration reform advocates along for more than a year, making immigrant families think that a solution for them was in sight, only to do nothing?  How else to describe a GOP that is supposed to be reaching out to new supporters — yet passed Steve King’s amendment to deport DREAMers, and more recently, took up immigration just to axe an immigrant outreach job?  2014 is supposed to be a good election year for the GOP, which is perhaps why they think they don’t have to try so hard.  But as Greg Sargent wrote today, 2016 is just around the corner, and the Republicans’ actions now (or lack thereof) are going to have big consequences.

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