White Republicans in Minority

Posted on April 7, 2015


Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has been a leader among conservative Republicans. The former congressman has led Indiana to cut corporate income taxes, abolish the inheritance tax and expand the school-choice program.

He carved out a remarkable template for Medicaid reform that requires individuals to make a financial contribution to a health saving account, it is the basis of consumer-driven healthcare. Missouri General Assemly has passed or looked at these types of legislation.

So it is rather surprising that a smart political player like Pence would not have seen the ferocious backlash coming with the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” (RFRA) which he signed into law to great Repub lican fanfare.

Pence’s position on these issues presents a huge challenge for Republican leaders who need to balance the demands of their white, conservative primary voters who are at odds with the rest of the country. Republicans cannot survive just with the white voters, they need to broaden their base.

“The times are changing, demographics are changing and the game on the ground is changing,” said Whit Ayres of North Star Opinion Research on MSNBC’s Morning Joe recently. Ayres acknowledges that the formula that worked for George W. Bush does not work today because the face of the electorate has changed.

Voters who are 30 years old lean to Libertarian on social issues supporting comprehensive immigration reform, gay marriage and the legalization of marijuana.

The Hispanic population is you and growing. Amonst a quarter of all babies born in the United States are from undocumented Hispanics and these families are moving to rural towns between Alabama and Wisconsin. If it weren’t for them, these towns would all but disappear. Two out of five of rural Hispanic American babies are poor.

Why should this matter to Republicans? It is within their power to pass comprehensive immigration reform which could change the fortunes of these families and many smaller towns. But the Republicans will not pass immigration reform.

In 2016, the Republican presidential candidate will need 40 percent of the Hispanic vote to compensate for the decline of their traditional white voter base.

This will not happen.


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