Sometimes good advice comes from the most unlikely of places. In this case, it comes from a Bush. In an interview with Tucker Carlson for Esquire magazine, Gov. Jeb Bush stated the most obvious fact of American electoral politics today: if the GOP is to rise again, it has to stop hating on Hispanics– or at least it has to stop appearing to be hating on Hispanics! He’s talking about you, Tom Tancredo, non-office-holding cable-news ranter.
[T]he demographics are going against us. Alex [Castellanos, Republican media consultant] told me today, for example, that there is not a district in California where Republicans are out-registering Democrats. Of the fifty-three districts — I think that’s right — not a single one has an improving situation. It’s striking. So you have a shift. There’s more minorities. The voter-registration efforts have been successful by Democrats, ACORN and the like. The swing voters are Hispanic voters in most of the swing states. And Republicans have done a poor job, sending signals that Hispanics aren’t wanted in our party. Which is bizarre.
The people that are on television are the loudest on the immigration issue. The emotion, the anger, is a signal. Put aside the substance, but just in terms of the language. It makes it sound like them and us. And the evidence is that after [the GOP] making major inroads, Hispanics have turned toward the Democratic party in the last two election cycles. Big time. Compare that to how my brother did and how I did and how other Republican candidates have done in the past and you can see a trend line that’s quite disturbing.
It’s possible [to oppose illegal immigration without coming off as anti-Hispanic] but it requires a tone that’s different. If you listen to the conversation, it’s not just words; it’s how they’re spoken. It has to be dispassionate, the language. But it hasn’t been.
Bush also says this smart thing on the favorite tack taken by Republican tea partyists in opposing Pres. Obama:
“Socialism” is pejorative in America, so people stop listening. People are tired of it. That word won’t stick. It’s a turnoff. It doesn’t help.
Hat-tip to Salon.