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Extremist Immigration Politics Spell Doom for the GOP

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Pundits and analysts predict that the Republican embrace of extremist immigration politics will turn out to be a mistake of historic proportions.

“I am worried. You cannot ignore the aspirations of the fastest-growing minority in America” [Karl Rove aboard Air Force One on 8/13/07].

“For the past few cycles, Republicans have relied heavily on illegal immigration a wedge issue aimed at driving their base to the polls. In many regions of the country, though, it has been an issue that has caused more harm than good: Business advocates recognize they need immigrant labor to drive the economy, and Hispanic voters are turning away from the GOP due to what many feel is overly harsh rhetoric. Few, in fact, can point to a race in which a Republican candidate seriously benefited from focusing on immigration” [Reid Wilson, RealClearPolitics.com, 6/17/08].

“It is fair to say that the fallout of the immigration debate has damaged the Republican Party among many Hispanic voters.” [Charlie Cook, 6/17/08].

“I have never seen an issue where the short-term interests of Republican presidential candidates in the primaries were more starkly at odds with the long-term interests of the party itself. At least five swing states that Bush carried in 2004 are rich in Hispanic voters – Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado and Florida. Bush won Nevada by just over 20,000 votes. A substantial shift of Hispanic voters toward the Democrats in these states could make the national political map unwinnable for Republicans…Some in the party seem pleased. They should be terrified,” [Michael Gerson, Washington Post, 9/19/07].