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On the one hand, the Republican National Committee (RNC) recognizes the need to pass immigration reform in order to engage with Latinos, Asians and other immigrant communities. They even released an outreach report earlier this year in which the sole policy recommendation was supporting immigration reform. On the other hand, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) is going on the attack against Democrats who vote for reform today:
State Republican Party leaders say Democrats who support the bill will see television attack ads on the issue in 2014.
“It’s just another sign that even vulnerable Democrats like Landrieu, Begich, Hagan and Pryor are more loyal to Chuck Schumer and Barack Obama than they are to middle-class men and women struggling in their home states,” said Brad Dayspring, spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
Where to begin? We could start in 2010 when Latino voters in Nevada, Colorado and California created a firewall that helped Democrats retain control of the Senate. Remember Sharron Angle and her viciously anti-immigrant TV ads from 2010? They didn’t work out too well. We could look at 2012, when Latino and Asian voters helped re-elect Barack Obama. Yes, Jeff Flake won his Senate race in Arizona last year. But he’s a guy who sees the future–that’s why he’s been part of the “Gang of 8.” Dean Heller, the Republican Senator from Nevada, who voted against the DREAM Act in 2010, is also voting for reform.
The GOP will never rehabilitate its image with Latinos if it keeps letting Jefferson Beauregard Sessions set its immigration agenda. And even worse, now the GOP is talking out of both sides of its mouth: compare the RNC memo, which was a rare moment of honest self-reflection, with NRSC reliance on a failed old play book.
Also let’s not forget, this is a bipartisan bill. Many Republican Senators will be voting for final passage. Will the NRSC also be targeting them? Will we see these same anti-immigrant ads against Lindsey Graham?