I thought about writing about California - top income tax rate raised to 12.3%; sales tax raised to an average of 8.25%; corporate taxes raised $1 billion; Republican registration below 30%; Republicans in Assembly and Senate below one-third needed to block anything; exodus accelerating - but I decided to take the other road.
The unequivocal message of Tuesday's vote is that Republicans cannot win presidential elections without a fundamental change in the approach to Hispanic voters. "W" got some 40 % of this vote; McCain 31%; Romney under 30%. The good news is that most of the illegals are here to work and to provide a better life for their families. If the Republican Party cannot connect with that, we are done.
What is needed is not just outreach and marketing, and being the party of small business is not enough. There is, however, a set of positive policy prescriptions available that should not offend conservatives:
- Expanded use of e-verify to enable employers to confirm the status of those they hire, with penalties for non-compliance.
- A renewed "guest worker" program for seasonal workers;
- Long term residency cards without citizenship or voting rights;
- Citizenship for military volunteers, and perhaps some similar other groups;
- Access to schools, drivers licenses, and healthcare for those here legally. Full tax payment required.
Fortunately the Republican Party has a core of prominent leaders who could formulate a plan, sell it to party activists, and market it to the public - Governors Susana Martinez, Brian Sandoval, and Luis Fortuno; Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz; former Governor Jeb Bush; Governor Rick Perry. Those in the border states get it; Northerners and Californians do not.
The Democrats? They have have no Hispanic governors and but one senator. Cynics would like the status quo which works well for them; others might demand full citizenship. They are beatable.
For those who doubt the need for urgent change in the Party's policies affecting Hispanics, we have seen the future - and it is California.
Here's the most important person in the Republican Party speaking about Hispanics. One hopes that he has learned something betrween August and November.