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Letter to a Friend: 'Harsh Immigration' Is Not Why Latinos Hate Republicans

Larry Elder

By Larry Elder

Published August 27, 2015

Letter to a Friend: 'Harsh Immigration' Is Not Why Latinos Hate Republicans

Dear Larry: Geez, I cannot fathom the polls that have Donald Trump leading. Either a lot of Republicans are just frustrated or stupid, or both — and they want a bomb-thrower. Or it is pro-Hillary Clinton Democrats voting in those polls. Trump is ruining the race for the serious Republican candidates and thereby helping Hillary immensely.

Democrats must be loving his clown act. It deflects attention from Hillary's emails. Over time, Trump has donated more money to Democratic candidates than Republican candidates. Does he have any positions other than the one on immigration? At least from the news clips I've seen, I have not heard any. All he does is harp on immigration — building a wall and deporting 11 million people (um, sure) — and says really nasty things about the other Republican candidates. He is just loathsome and seriously hurting the party.

I despair. — Darrell

Dear Darrell: I don't mind that you dislike Trump — so far — but you should at least understand the GOP grassroots anger out there that propels his rise in the polls.

A blunt, P.O.'d talker like Trump strikes a nerve with people who feel like they're falling behind and, more importantly, have been let down by get-along, go-along GOP leaders. These are the Boehners and the McConnells who huff and puff about President Barack Obama and his "out of control" Democratic Party, but by Thursday have moved on to other issues, after having yet again been out-maneuvered by the Democratic Congressional minority.

How did the Iran deal go from being a treaty to an executive initiative, which means that Obama can enact most of the Iran deal on his own and doesn't truly need Congress's approval or disapproval? How did unpopular Obamacare, navigated by clever Democratic Congressional leaders, get rammed down the throats of the American people without a single Republican vote?

How does a proponent of "strict constructionism" like President George W. Bush appoint Chief Justice John Roberts, who votes twice to save Obamacare from the ash heap of history? How, through executive orders, does Obama shield more than 80 percent of an estimated 11 million illegal aliens from the fear of deportation?

How does Obama preside over the worst economic recovery in our lifetime with very little concern, attention, or care from our mainstream "news" media? Where is the outrage from the Republican leadership?

Most folks' incomes have not come back, and their net worth has, at best, been flat over the last seven years. The stock market, boosted through Federal Reserve sleight-of-hand, has disproportionately benefited the top 1 percent.

Meanwhile, the net worth of all non-white families has fallen almost 20 percent since Obama took office. For blacks, it's even worse. The so-called black/white wealth gap is at a 25-year high — with black income down, homeownership down and equity down. From 2007 to 2010, blacks' net worth declined 13.5 percent. But over the next three years — from 2010 through 2013 — it plummeted another 34 percent. But allow a black kid to be shot by a white cop and CNN covers it like the first moon landing.

After Mitt Romney's 2012 loss, the GOP put out a postmortem white paper. Its conclusion? Let's "outreach" to Hispanics. After all, they're the fastest-growing voting block, they perceive the GOP as anti-Hispanic, a more "accommodating" immigration policy will attract them, yada, blah, etc. Bull. I live in California. And I will tell you that Hispanics loathe Republicans for many reasons; the GOP's "hostile" attitude toward immigration is way down on the list of anti-Republican grievances.

Hispanics are leftists. Period. They support higher taxes on the rich, believe in an ever-expanding social safety net and believe Republicans are selfish and only care about the rich. To think that a more "welcoming" position on immigration would lure Hispanics to join the GOP is to believe blacks would shift to the GOP if the leadership collectively condemned the Confederate battlefield field flag. Like blacks, Hispanics consider Republicans "racist," and gestures like supporting "comprehensive immigration reform" would be perceived as forced change just for votes. And no matter how "comprehensive" the GOP position on immigration may be, the Democrats' will be more "comprehensive." Can't win.

And for every additional vote lost from the 27 percent of Hispanics who voted Republican in the last presidential race, many more non-Hispanics would vote Republican if the party addressed their concerns — more than offsetting any loss of Hispanic votes. Also, let's not assume that Hispanics are as monolithic as are black voters. As Trump points out, unskilled illegal immigration hurts the jobs and incomes of not just unskilled blacks, but unskilled legal Hispanic workers, too.

A lot of Americans feel alienated. They feel that unless you're gay, black, Hispanic or transgender, nobody cares. A recent poll shows that whites feel they are even bigger victims of racism than blacks!

Believe me, it's not just about immigration.

So calm down. All is not lost. — Larry

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Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host.

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