This Christmas, the GOP has a big problem with America's Hispanic vote

The real issues, though, are much more than meet the eye. Dr. Stephen Steinlight of the Center for Immigration Studies shares his views. Photo: Immigration reform march/ AP

OCALA, Fla., December 24, 2013 — The GOP has a problem with Hispanics. If Republican leaders put down the egg nog and focused on demographics, it might spoil their Christmas, but this is far more important than what’s under the tree.

This is about the future of America. 

SEE RELATED: The Hispanic vote isn’t ‘naturally conservative,’ expert claims

It might be more fun to watch old movies and drink hot cocoa than deal with such a weighty subject, but 2014 is right around the corner and this is not going away. Pew reports that 65 percent of Hispanics are Mexican in heritage. Republicans have been trying to win over the Hispanic vote for decades. They have never come close to succeeding.

What keeps going wrong?

“The GOP cannot turn Hispanics into Republicans and ignores campaign history that shows efforts based on supporting amnesty and increased immigration fail,” says Dr. Stephen Steinlight of the Center for Immigration Studies. 

“GOP support for these positions doesn’t cause Hispanics to vote Republican. The largest amnesty took place under President Reagan, yet Hispanics gave his successor, George H.W. Bush, only 30 percent of their vote. Despite strong support for amnesty, neither George W. Bush nor John McCain came close to carrying the Hispanic vote. George W. Bush received an historical high of 40 percent and John McCain just 31 percent. 

SEE RELATED: Overpopulation: Illegal immigration is about more than ethnic identity

“Republicans seem incapable of learning immigration isn’t decisive. Hispanic hostility to the GOP reflects an unbridgeable divide over economic policy and the role of government.  Hispanics are anti-capitalist and want a bigger federal government dispensing larger entitlement. These views are anathema to Republicans, and compromise is impossible.”

Remember that millions of self-described Hispanics vigorously support free enterprise. At the same time, Hispanic voting trends show that community running away from the concept. The Democratic Party has come to rely on a solid Hispanic majority in most states to bolster support for wide-ranging entitlement programs.

Aside from economic matters, Hispanic immigrants often have trouble assimilating to American life. This sort of issue has arisen with various groups throughout U.S. history. However, contemporary Hispanic immigrants tend to place extreme emphasis on their birth country. This can come at the direct expense of familiarizing with American sociocultural norms and values.

“Unique factors impede assimilation, Mexico’s geographic contiguity most,” Dr. Steinlight explains. “The Great Waves travelled thousands of miles. Their infinitely more difficult and costly immigration was a powerful incentive to assimilate. Most undertook a one-way journey to a nation that demanded one-sided adaptation. 

SEE RELATED: 113th Congress will lose on immigration reform

“America made no linguistic accommodation, enforcing comparatively speedy acquisition of English, key to assimilation. Slow English acquisition fosters Hispanic separateness. Another factor is the continuous nature of Hispanic immigration. The Great Waves stopped in 1924, giving immigrants 40 years to assimilate. 

“Also sui generis, many Mexicans live simultaneously in two societies connected by cheap phone calls, the internet and inexpensive travel. They move back and forth — the border is porous and Green Card holders can travel legally — maintaining strong cultural ties to the homeland, reinforcing loyalty to the Mexican state and ethnos — La Raza.

“The scale of Hispanic immigration has created a second Mexican nation within the U.S. A high percentage spends their lives within a cultural ghetto, a Hispanic archipelago that stretches nationwide. Impeding assimilation, most reside in Mexican neighborhoods in informal apartheid.

“The anti-or-post American multiculturalism of the media, educational, academic, and religious elite stalls assimilation. Their worldview regards patriotism as atavistic, denies the existence of a distinct American culture, and views America as a collection of Diaspora communities oppressed by a White capitalist power structure.  

“Since assimilation is surrender to dominant culture supremacism, they’ve worked to destroy what promoted it. ‘Americanization’ classes are unthinkable; public schools no longer teach civics; American history is articulated as an apologia for alleged crimes. They’ve also banished the normative pluralism that taught immigrants to take pride in their roots but understand that a broader sense of patriotic belonging must be paramount.”

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Joseph Cotto

Joseph F. Cotto is a social journalist by trade and student of history by lifestyle choice. He hails from central Florida, writing about political, economic, and social issues of the day. In the past, he was a contributor to Blogcritics Magazine, among other publications. He is currently at work on a book about American society.

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