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Leading Pundits & Conservatives Agree – GOP Has to Fix Its Immigration Problem

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Observers Across Political Spectrum Agree That GOP Needs New Way Forward with Latino Voters & Immigration  

Both mainstream political pundits and leading conservative voices are recognizing that the Republican Party’s anti-immigrant brand image and poor standing among Latino voters may just have cost them the presidency in 2012.  What’s more, the demographic writing is on the wall: unless the Republican Party changes its stripes on immigration, the GOP’s “Latino problem” will only get worse.


  • Yesterday, before the results were called, David Gergen remarked on CNN “I am quite optimistic whoever wins we will get immigration reform.  The Democrats want it and the Republicans now need it.”
  • Chuck Todd on NBC: “The story of this election is demographics. The Republican party have not kept up with the changing face of America…The Republican party has serious soul-searching to do.”  Todd also said on today’s “Morning Joe” on MSNBC, “There are some things where it’s the Party’s fault, not Romney’s fault, but in this case, [Romney] said, ‘no, no, no, I’m going to make my conservative stand on immigration.”
  • Tom Brokaw on MSNBC said, “a lot of damage was done in the Republican primaries…every one of those debates got meaner and got smaller…And you saw what Gov. Romney went through at that time, especially when Gov. Perry got in [the race].”
  • Joe Scarborough on MSNBC questioned Romney’s decision to tack right in the GOP primaries on immigration, saying [Romney] “could have won the primary without going there…if he had gotten same percentage as John McCain of Hispanic votes, he’d be President-elect.”
  • Chris Matthews on MSNBC, said “Romney was wrong to say self-deport.  This isn’t some mistake.  It’s a policy decision that he made in the beginning of the campaign.  He was going to get to the far right and it was the one thing he couldn’t pivot back on….looks to me like [Hispanic community] they saw this as a real turn in the road against them.”
  • Jonathan Martin of POLITICO writes, “President Barack Obama’s thrashing of Mitt Romney exposed glaring structural weaknesses in the GOP that will shut the Republicans out of the White House until they find a way to appeal to a rapidly changing America.”
  • Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic tweeted, “one emerging lesson for GOP:  Be nice to immigrants. They’re staying here and becoming Americans who vote. #immigration


  • Matthew Dowd, former George W. Bush strategist, said on ABC’s “Good Morning America” that the GOP has become a “’Mad Men’ party in a ‘Modern Family’ America.”
  • Fred Barnes, writing in The Weekly Standard today: “…there is also a hole in the Republican electorate.  There aren’t enough Hispanics.  As long as two-thirds of the growing Hispanic voting bloc lines up with Democrats, it will be increasingly difficult (though hardly impossible) for Republicans to win national elections.  When George W. Bush won a narrow reelection in 2004, he got 44 percent of the Hispanic vote.  If Romney had managed that, he would have come closer to winning.  He might even have won.”
  • Brit Hume of Fox News said on air, “the Republican party’s going to have to ask itself if the hardline position that Mitt Romney assuredly took during the primary season to try to win this election — he took a hardline position on immigration — is in the long run a winning position for them.  Karl Rove and George H.W. Bush never thought so, and others don’t think so, as well. And so when they’re saying ‘Well, Mitt Romney wasn’t conservative enough’ as some certainly will say, you have to point to that issue as one that might be a short-term and a long-term loser for them, politically.”
  • George Will, conservative columnist and ABC News contributor said, [Romney] “came out against the DREAM Act, promising to veto it, and a few months after that he was using the language of ‘self-deportation,’ that is making life difficult enough for the 11 million illegal immigrants in the country that they would deport themselves…It’s awfully hard to unring that bell.”
  • Ana Navarro, Republican strategist, said on CNN: “If we don’t do better with Hispanics we’re going to be out of the White House forever.”  Navarro also tweeted, “Mitt Romney self-deported himself from the White House.”
  • Ari Fleischer, former George W. Bush aide, said on CNN: “The big issue Republicans are going to have to wrestle with is the Hispanic issue…with immigration, the Republicans are going to have to figure out a different way forward.”
  • Brian Kilmeade, Fox News host, said “The problem is for Republicans, less and less white voters every year…we have got to talk about what the next four years will look like.  And i think immigration reform will be front and center.”
  • Mike Huckabee, former GOP presidential contender, said on Fox News, “I think Republicans have done a pathetic job of reaching out to people of color…something we have got to work on.”
  • John Weaver, Republican strategist, tweeted on Election Night: “I said this then. I said this in the spring. In the summer. Biggest mistake was MR going hard right on immigration. Paying price.”
  • The Wall Street Journal editorial page writes, “Perhaps most damaging, Mr. Romney failed to appeal more creatively to minority voters, especially Hispanics. His single worst decision may have been to challenge Texas Governor Rick Perry in the primaries by running to his right on immigration. Mr. Romney didn’t need to do this given that Mr. Perry was clearly unprepared for a national campaign, and given the weakness of the other GOP candidates. (Tim Pawlenty had dropped out.)  Mr. Romney missed later chances to move to the middle on immigration reform, especially Senator Marco Rubio’s compromise on the Dream Act for young immigrants brought here by their parents. This created the opening for Mr. Obama to implement the core of the Dream Act by executive order, however illegally, and boost his image with Hispanic voters.  The exit polls show that Mr. Romney did even worse among Hispanics than John McCain in 2008, and we may learn in coming days that this was the margin in some swing states. The GOP needs to leave its anti-immigration absolutists behind.”

America’s Voice — Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform.