[dropcap]R[/dropcap]EPUBLICANS must do something about immigration reform now or they will find themselves speeding into another presidential election year wrestling with the same “Latino problem” that destroyed any chance for a Republican victory in the last election.
A refresher via Pew: In 2012, Obama drew 71 percent of the Latino vote; Romney drew 27 percent. In the U.S. Latinos now count for 10 percent of the voting population. In swing Colorado, over the last three presidential elections, the Latino voting population grew from 8 percent to 14 percent. In swing Nevada: 10 percent to 18 percent.
Why can’t the mainstream GOP do something? Because, you know: Holding the line against any immigration reform that might pass and please Latinos (i.e. reform that does more than “secure the border” and “enforce the laws on the books”) is a cornerstone Tea Party issue, and the Tea Party shows (1) no signs of letting up on pressuring the mainstream GOP on immigration and (2) all signs of continuing to dominate GOP primary campaigns.
From the front-lines just this week:
University President and Bush Administration veteran Ben Sasse became the anti-Obamacare Palin-populist who won a Nebraska three-way primary on his way to becoming the “next Ted Cruz.”
Former Maryland state senator Alex Mooney — who moved to deep-red West Virginia and rallied the Tea Party there — beat out two GOP primary opponents for the certain chance to represent the state’s second congressional district.
And also of note: Anti-illegal immigration firebrand and one-man cottage industry Tom Tancredo is running in the lead in the Colorado Republican primary for governor.
What does it look like inside this conservative-politics civil war? If you’re not signed up as a subscriber to a Tea Party-style email list and you don’t make a habit of listening to talk radio or reading Tea Party blog Red State, here’s a fairly raw artifact from the trenches, a fundraising letter from Nevada-based Western Representation PAC. The claims are unsupported. The tone is unmistakable. The target is the mainstream GOP: