A new Pew Research poll shows that an increasing number of Latinos get their news in English. In 2012, the number of Latinos who reported that they get at least some of their news in English increased to 82%, up from 78% in 2006. In fact, almost a third of Latino adults now get their news exclusively in English.
Maybe someone should tell the Republicans to check their racism at the door and watch what they say about Latinos.
Apparently, Senate candidate Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) didn’t get such a memo. In a new low, the anti-immigration firebrand and Tea Party favorite argued against a path to citizenship for the children of undocumented immigrants, saying that majority of those children are drug dealers.
Here's the quote from King's stunning interview with Newsmax: “For everyone who's a valedictorian, there's another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds — and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they're hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert. Those people would be legalized with the same act."
It’s no secret that the GOP has a Latino problem. The Latino community was a big part of President Obama's reelection last year, backing him by a whopping 71%. Mitt Romney only won 27% of the Latino vote, an even smaller proportion than Republican candidates received in previous elections. Latinos currently make up 10% of the electorate, and that figure is growing. That kind of performance will prevent Republicans from regaining the White House, or, for that matter, remaining a truly national party.
Eager to improve their standing among Latinos, a substantial number of Senate Republicans voted to pass last month's immigration reform bill. But House Republicans are different story altogether. Many flat out refuse to pass the Senate’s bill. Traditionally, immigration reform hasn't been a priority for House Republicans like Steve King, because their gerrymandered, parochial, nearly all-white districts don't contain many Latinos.
In addition to opposing immigration reform, some House Republicans apparently feel emboldened to voice whatever slur or stereotype comes to their mind. Just a few months ago, Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) referred to Latinos as “wetbacks.” He later walked back his remark, saying he "meant no disrespect." Really? One wonders what he would have come up with if he had meant to insult Latinos.
According to a new Gallup poll, a majority of Latinos of all ages now lean Democratic. Undoubtedly, part of the reason for their predisposition is that they don’t feel welcomed by the alternative: a party that calls them demeaning terms like “wetback,” or paints them all as drug dealers.
Although most Republican House districts don’t have a heavy Latino presence, there are important exceptions. According to a recent analysis by opinion research firm Latino Decisions, 44 House Republicans have a substantial number of Latino constituents. Democrats only need to flip 17 seats in order to win back the House next year.
Unfortunately, King and Young are not on that list, and it’s unlikely they’ll be punished at the ballot box for their stupidity. Maybe House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) will organize a cross-cultural sensitivity seminar for House Republicans like King and Young. Clearly, they need an education.