Pat McCrory’s Latino Affairs Stumble
'Outreach' or not, Republicans can't seem to avoid stepping on the immigration rake
So here comes Gov. Pat, deep-sixing the state’s Office of Hispanic/Latino Affairs at a time when Republicans nationwide are trying to attract Latino voters (and generally tripping over their shoelaces). North Carolina’s Latino community has taken this as a hard slap in the face, given voter ID, the 287(g) program and other, more established slaps. “The message from Raleigh is that Latinos in North Carolina don’t matter,” said Jess George, executive director of the Latin American Coalition in Charlotte.
All true, and it’s easy enough to mock the tone-deaf Don Youngs and Rand Pauls of the world and get pissed off afresh at Pat McCrory. But there’s a deeper injustice at work here: that the GOP’s continued asininity on immigration matters allows the Obama Administration to get by politically with treating the growing Latino population like “their ugly stepchild.” (That’s the phrase an LAC staffer used when I talked with her back during DNC days.) There’s no reason for the Democrats not to. So we get record deportations, the quarter-assed immigration reform substitute Deferred Action, and a Latino community in the Carolinas, as in the nation, that would love a better alternative but has none.
The Washington Post‘s Eugene Robinson briefly touched on this Friday during an interview on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show:
Maddow: I think the thing that’s maybe most important about it is, this is their highest priority. Are they making such fools of themselves that the Democratic Party is in danger of just sitting back and popping popcorn and watching them do this, and the Democratic Party may not feel like it has to work to continue to court the Latino vote …
Robinson: Absolutely, Rachel. And given the politics of the matter right now, why would Democrats do anything but sit back and pop popcorn? Because Republicans are doing such a good job of setting themselves back as opposed to forward in their relations with Latino voters. But you raise an important point. It takes the onus off of Democrats to demonstrate, to be what they claim to be.
If the GOP could find it in themselves to actually respect Latinos as people, as a culture, instead of merely a demographic, they could do some serious damage to the Democrats nationally and plunge another stake into the heart of the reeling North Carolina Democrats (the Latino population in the state more than doubled during the 2000s). Sure, it’d hack off the TPers, but they’d get over it and vote Republican at the polls, just as they always do.
And just maybe, it’d lead to genuine immigration reform. Instead, on one of the most urgent issues facing our state and nation, we get Deferred Action, in every sense of the term.