I’ve had enough and, apparently, so has David Frum.
On November 13th, Frum, a CNN contributor and contributing editor at Newsweek and The Daily Beast, published a CNN.com op-ed titled “Conservatives, don’t despair,” in which he sought to reassure those who were beginning to lose faith in the Republican Party and its ability to win future presidential elections, given the changing demographics of the United States. Conservatives all across the U.S. need to read Frum’s column, before throwing up their hands and giving up on John Boehner, Paul Ryan, and the rest.
As I convened in the dining room for Thanksgiving with my family, the togetherness, chemistry, and warmth embodied by my home, and those in it, soon got me thinking about traditional family values, which brought me to social conservatism and communal religion, and, finally, the modern GOP.
Oh, the ailments of someone consumed by the American political process. You’re just eating a Thanksgiving meal and that somehow reminds you of Marco Rubio’s likelihood of running for office in 2016. I was supposed to just be enjoying the company of my closest family members, but then my mind wandered into the realm of the Republican Party, its pitch to minority groups, and the elusive Latino vote. The chain of events is funny, really — spending some time with the family is connected with religion is connected with Christian values is connected with a socially conservative platform is connected with Republicans is connected with Chris Christie, Ryan, Rubio, and whoever else you want to throw in there.
I guess that enjoying my mother’s homemade stuffing simply doesn’t cut it these days.
And, so, back to this past election, which Barack Obama ultimately won (and decisively, at that.) Analyzing Reuters/Ipsos polling numbers, Obama’s support among Hispanic voters was roughly 66 percent on Election Day 2012, an important statistic when one considers that the Hispanic population in this country already exceeds 16 percent and will continue to rise in the foreseeable future, according to 2010 census figures.
The Latino vote will matter more and more come 2016 and 2020, as this voting bloc expands in relation to America’s white establishment. We’ve heard it all. The Republican Party needs to try harder to make a minority pitch, something that Mitt Romney failed miserably to accomplish this year, even while garnering more of the white vote than his victorious opponent. The Mitt Romneys of the world are out of touch and can’t relate to Hispanic voters, especially when they use harsh rhetoric in regard to immigration reform that alienates many of America’s newest immigrants, and, so, a different kind of presidential candidate should be nominated.
Sometimes, this talk takes a more extreme turn.
Unless the GOP platform begins to register more with Hispanics, the party will fail to compete with the Democrats for federal office and could even cease to exist altogether. If rapidly growing minority groups, such as Hispanics and African-Americans, are unable to align themselves with the Republican Party moving forward, then this current debacle for conservatives will represent a crippling trend, not just a tiny blip on the radar.
To all you conservatives and staunch GOP supporters, please just calm down. Do you want a statistic? Well, here’s one: there has never, in the history of the American political system, been a Republican presidential nominee of Hispanic descent. Let me rephrase that. Over the years, exactly 100 percent of all such nominees seeking presidential office have been white, most of them fitting snugly into the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) category.
The Republican Party has been the WASP Party throughout its existence, while the Democratic Party hasn’t exactly promoted diversity in this regard either, with President Obama being the one notable exception. We have yet to see the day that a non-white Republican is included on the ticket, either as a presidential nominee or a running mate.
So, what will the emergence of Marco Rubio mean for the Republican Party, as it recovers from the beating that it took on November 6th? Well, we honestly don’t know because his rise to prominence is unprecedented. Let’s assume that Marco Rubio is on the ticket in 2016, either as the first name or the second.
Let’s also assume that Republicans like Susana Martinez remain in the public eye, speaking to the American electorate about immigration reform, minority-focused policies, and the like. If the GOP sells its brand as a party of, for, and by minority groups, which isn’t that out of the question with all of these unique conservative minds finding their ways into government, the significance could be tremendous.
It would be naïve to conclude that the Latino vote couldn’t swing the exact opposite direction of 2012 if a competent, well-spoken candidate like Rubio ran for office, in part because people love to identify themselves with those who look like them. It seems silly to me for a longtime Republican to give up hope when having a qualified Hispanic on the ticket could make all of the difference at the polls. Sure, Hispanics found it difficult to relate to Mitt Romney this time around, as well as John McCain in 2008, but they are much more likely to find a politician like Florida’s Rubio, a son of immigrants, relatable, respectful, and responsive to their needs.
Could the tables be turned? The answer is a loud and resounding of course, as long as the dominos fall correctly.
To all of you conservatives worried about the future prospects of your beloved Republican Party, just be patient until Marco Rubio pursues the White House, a golden prize that he will find to be too shiny to pass up, at least by my estimation. Just sit back as Susana Martinez’s star begins to shine with greater fervor and intensity.
Or, perhaps, just wait until some of that borderline xenophobic rhetoric that we hear floating around within the Republican ranks takes on a slightly softer tone, which will certainly be the case if Rubio’s name is still in the conversation as the potential President of the United States four years from now. We’ll see how Hispanics respond then. We’ll see just how committed they are to the Democratic Party when one of their own, in a sense, is an option on the ballot. If you ask me, the GOP and all of its fervent supporters shouldn’t worry too much.
All is surely not lost. Just wait until 2016, when a fresh batch of young, energetic, and thoroughly one-of-a-kind conservative minds showcases itself to the nation.