While many conservative pundits are coming up with explanations for the election results that excuse them from having to make any ideological adjustments to win future elections, some are claiming that they can easily solve their problems. According to the most partisan members of Republican establishment, the GOP has a racial demographic problem, but all they need to do to solve it is to moderate their stance on immigration. Sharper conservative minds, however, recognize that women, young people and minorities have economic and ideological reasons for voting Democratic.
The most egregious and condescending example of the former line of thinking comes from Charles Krauthammer. In his Washington Post column last Thursday, Krauthammer wrote, “They lose and immediately the chorus begins. Republicans must change or die. A rump party of white America, it must adapt to evolving demographics or forever be the minority. The only part of this that is even partially true regards Hispanics.”
Implicit in Krauthammer’s column is the assumption that African-Americans cannot be persuaded to vote Republican, but that Republicans can win without them. That may be so, although he offers no statistical data to prove it. Nor does Krauthammer prove that Latinos are a much more persuadable group for the GOP.
Instead, Krauthammer simply relies upon some broad, ignorant stereotyping of Latinos. “They should be a natural Republican constituency: striving immigrant community, religious, Catholic, family-oriented and socially conservative (on abortion, for example),” he writes. “The principal reason they go Democratic is the issue of illegal immigrants.”
Krauthammer does not offer survey data to prove that Latinos are more “family-oriented” than anyone else. Nor does he explain what “family-oriented” means. That they are more likely to live with extended family? More likely to wait until marriage to have children? The former is true and the latter is not. And what does any of this have to do with political preferences? In fact, African-Americans and Asian-Americans are also more likely to live in a multigenerational household, and they are all more likely to vote Democratic than are whites. In light of that, it is difficult to even ascertain what Krauthammer thinks he is talking about, other than that he apparently assumes Democrats are so evil that surely they must hate their mothers. He should try to interviewing actual Democrats and Latinos sometime, as it might make his analysis a lot better-informed.
If by “family-oriented” Krauthammer means to imply that Latinos are especially hostile to gay marriage, he is wrong. Exit polls now show a majority of Latinos support gay marriage. It’s not even clear why Krauthammer thinks being Catholic would make Latinos vote Republican, since white and Latino Catholics are less likely to vote Republican than white or Latino Protestants. “Striving immigrant community,” could describe plenty of Democratic-leaning voting blocs, from Jews or Asian-Americans to Caribbean-Americans.