The 'Big Tent' is Collapsing

From the L.A. Times:

A major effort to draw Latinos and blacks into the Republican Party, a central element of the GOP plan to build a long-lasting majority, is in danger of collapse amid anger over the immigration debate and claims that Republican leaders have not delivered on promises to direct more money to church-based social services.

President Bush, strategist Karl Rove and other top Republicans have wooed Latino and black leaders, many of them evangelical clergy who lead large congregations, in hopes of peeling away the traditional Democratic base. But now some of the leaders who helped Bush win in 2004 are revisiting their loyalty to the Republican Party and, in some cases, abandoning it.


The Latino backlash has grown so intense that one prominent, typically pro-Republican organization, the Latino Coalition, has endorsed Democrats in competitive races this year in Tennessee, Nebraska and New Jersey. The coalition is chaired by Hector Barreto, the former administrator of the Small Business Administration under Bush; its president is a former strategist for the Republican National Committee.
What we see here is the results of governing by and for a 'base' that is both a minority of the population and outside the political mainstream. To win elections, the Republicans pursue legislation to excite the base. That legislation, the 'red meat,' included a strong anti-immigration stance that alienated Hispanic voters. Black voters, seen as receptive to GOP overtures based on religious and social conservatism are angered that while 'white' churches received money under the President's Faith Based Initiatives program, Black congregations did not.

And there was that whole Katrina thing, too.

The Latino Coalition released a study finding that registered voters of Latino decent favored Democrats over Republicans 56% to 19%. Not surprising when the GOP is calling for every undocumented immigrant to be kicked out. It plays real well in Kansas but when your mother or grandmother might be the one deported, it's different.

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