Alan Chartock: Why the GOP isn't winning the Hispanic vote
Murray the dog looked up at me. His pink tongue was hanging from his mouth and he had a quizzical look on his face. The little Westie, you will remember, is the world's cutest dog. We sent him to the Literacy Network of South Berkshire where he was taught to read, write and speak fluent English and Spanish.
In fact, some of his best friends come from Hispanic backgrounds. His Spanish is so good that it's a real embarrassment to me since, despite the many years I studied Spanish, I am anything but fluent.
That's a shame, since the Hispanic population in this country (one of best things that ever happened to it) is growing so fast that it won't be long before people of Hispanic origin will be the majority group in this country.
So Murray looked up at me and said: "Pop, my friends say that the politicians in the Republican Party just can't get it right. They tell me that President Obama won even bigger than expected because he got such a large proportion of the Hispanic voters."
"You're right," I said to the little pup. "The Republican members of the House just can't get their stuff together and pass a comprehensive immigration bill that would give the 12 million Hispanics who are in this country as ‘undocumented' a path to citizenship or, at the least, security that they won't be arrested and deported with no notice to even their families."
Murray looked up at me, with just a little hint of a tear in his eyes.
"But Pops, that's terrible! Who could live like that? You walk down the street and a car just stops and pulls you in after you've been here for a dozen years. That's just not right."
"That's why I love you, Murray. It's why we buy you the best hamburger meat from Guido's. You are such a sensitive little pup. You care about people and feel for them. You just have to understand that there are people in this country who can't get used to the fact that this problem has to be solved so that no one walks around in fear. As for me, more and more, it just looks like the Republicans are committing political suicide. Obviously, Speaker Boehner knows this. But the people who are committed to hating believe that anyone who broke the law to get into this country should be deported."
"But, Pop, how are we going to deport 12 million people? Who would do all the work that they are doing? The big Republican business people must know that."
"Well, Murray, you are so right. This thing is tearing the Republican Party apart. That tea party bunch is scaring the hell out of the moderate, sensible Republicans, and the office holders are scared that they'll get beaten in party primaries."
"Well, Pop, what's the answer?" asked the little dog.
"The only reason the Republicans are in control of the House is that they've used the gerrymander to create districts where they can't lose. But in the presidential elections, we can see the results of their foolishness. When you add the documented Hispanic voters who vote and who resent the kind of picture that the conservative coalition is painting of the Hispanic community with women voters who are incensed by some of the anti-women programs in this country fomented by the Republicans and their coalition on the Supreme Court, it would appear that it will be a long time before the Republicans make it to the White House. Murray, the only way they can possibly win is if Hillary doesn't run and Jeb Bush does. Bush, you will remember, is married to a Hispanic woman and is far more moderate than the rest of that Republican crowd."
"Thanks, Pop. I am so proud that you know all this stuff," said the cute little dog.
Alan Chartock, a Great Barrington resident, is president and CEO of WAMC Northeast Public Radio.
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