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Sorry, Jeb: the GOP’s “Hispanic Problem” Isn’t Just About Messaging

A piece from the GOP's Hispanic outreach program (by Pargon).

One of my least favorite genres of Beltway reporting is the “If only Political Party A could message Policy X better, voters would like them” piece, and we see a good example of it from Cillizza in today’s Washington Post.

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush argued that there is no simple solution to reversing the GOP’s fortunes among Hispanics.

“Republicans need to make a better effort at connecting with Hispanic voters,” he said. “The more connected Hispanics feel to the Republican community, the more likely they are to turn out in support of Republicans on Election Day.”

It’s true that proposing immigrants be killed like wild animals, comparing them to vermin, spewing nonsense about “terrorist anchor babies” and phantom Mexican beheadings — all while blaming them for everything from unemployment to leprosy isn’t great messaging if you’re trying to “connect” with Hispanic voters.

But the GOP’s main problem with Hispanics is that it favors policies that hurt Hispanics.

Republicans overwhelmingly support Gov. Jan Brewer’s Draconian measures in Arizona. They overwhelmingly support denying health care and education to immigrants and children of immigrants, English-only laws and amending the Constitution to eliminate birth-right citizenship. And in a stark departure from Ronald Reagan, they even oppose a path to legal citizenship for immigrants who already here. (Not to mention their opposition to affirmative action, their disdain for the social safety net, etc., etc.)

It’s hard to imagine that they’ll be able to “connect” with Hispanic voters as long as that remains the case.

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