I listened obsessively to the political analysts and commentators as they exposed their various theories on why Romney and the whole Republican Party took an electoral beating in 2012. If the truth was known, there are numerous reasons the Republicans got their comeuppance this election cycle. The leading republicans who publicly opposed abortion even in the case of rape or incest did not help the GOP at all. Making comments like a baby conceived by rape is a “gift from god” was unconscionable (Go get em Karen Hughes). In addition, Romney’s 47% comment, missing tax returns and Ryan’s medicare voucher program, encouraged large numbers of voters to think twice about what a Romney/Ryan America would look like.
We can’t ignore the significance of the Hispanic vote either. As you know Hispanics voted democratic in historic numbers. It is little wonder why. All the republicans who sought the GOP nomination (Romney in particular) did a fair share of immigrant bashing during the primaries. Romney talked about a plan whereby illegal immigrants would “self-deport”. Any rational analysis of the Romney immigration policy knew it was just red meat for republican primary voters and not a realistic plan. The republican pandering to the anti-immigrant crowd in the Republican Party was unacceptable to many Americans but was a particularly bitter pill for Hispanic Americans. However, Romney and the republican’s opposition to the Dream Act sealed the deal for most Hispanic voters.
The Dream Act would give children of unregistered immigrants a chance for citizenship if they receive a college degree or two years military service. This means that the military has a wider range of applicants to choose from. This act would also improve the economy in terms of the increase in the level of taxable income. It would also improve the level of school drop outs among the immigrant boosting a high literacy level and dropping the unemployment rates.
Romney’s opposition to the Dream Act was totally political. As a moderate to liberal Governor of Massachusetts, Romney supported policies consistent with the Dream Act. Then in a public flip flop, candidate Mitt opposes the Dream Act. I truly believe Romney’s opposition to the Dream Act was nothing more than a calculated move to out anti-immigrant his republican opponents. Well Mitt, congratulations, you won the republican nomination and at the same time lost the presidency as well as alienating Hispanic Americans from the GOP for decades to come.
As I said, there are numerous reasons the GOP took a drubbing in this election. However, GOP opposition to the Dream Act was an inexcusable exercise in political pandering at its worst. Has the GOP learned its lesson here? Time will tell.
|Nate Beeler, Cagle Cartoons, The Columbus Dispatch|