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Carmon writes: "That magic solution to Republicans' demographic problem that some conservatives are unlikely to pan out."

Carmon: 'George W. Bush and Karl Rove found a way to approach 40 percent of the Latino vote; Romney barely netted half that.' (photo: Fred Prouser/Reuters)
Carmon: 'George W. Bush and Karl Rove found a way to approach 40 percent of the Latino vote; Romney barely netted half that.' (photo: Fred Prouser/Reuters)

Why Karl Rove's Plan to Save the Republican Party Will Fail

By Irin Carmon, Salon

25 November 12


rop the anti-immigrant rhetoric! Focus on the "family values" that Latinos supposedly share with the party! But that magic solution to Republicans’ demographic problem that some conservatives are touting - which conveniently allows the party to resist moderating on so-called social issues like gay marriage and abortion - is unlikely to pan out.

Two days after Latino voters broadly rejected the Republican Party, Charles Krauthammer saw reason for optimism. Latinos, he said, "should be a natural Republican constituency: striving immigrant community, religious, Catholic, family-oriented and socially conservative (on abortion, for example.)"  George W. Bush and Karl Rove found a way to approach 40 percent of the Latino vote; Romney barely netted half that. So Republicans, facing a demographic time bomb as their base of white men ages, have comforted themselves by thinking all they really need to do is perform as well as Bush did among Latinos to get near the White House again.

Whether or not Republicans have any chance of capturing more than a tiny fraction of the Latino vote, Krauthammer (and the straw-grasping Republicans who echoed him) shouldn’t take Latinos’ conservatism, including their views on abortion, for granted.

First of all, being religious doesn’t mean you vote according to the dictates of your church, and Latino voters have consistently told pollsters that they don’t. Last December, a Latino Decisions poll found that 53 percent of Latinos said religion would have no impact at all on their vote. And only 14 percent agreed that "politics is more about moral issues such as abortion, family values, and same-sex marriage." In fact, exit polling from the election this month showed that Latinos were more likely than other voters to support same-sex marriage recognition.

Polling on abortion rights is notoriously hard to characterize and can fluctuate  depending on how the question is asked - from framing it in terms of legality to asking about the fuzzy labels "pro-life" and "pro-choice." Some polls have shown less support for abortion rights from Latinos, especially foreign-born Latinos, than from the general population. In a Pew survey last year, 58 percent of immigrant Latinos said abortion should be mainly illegal, compared with 40 percent of second-generation Latinos. In another poll conducted by Univision around the same time, only 38 percent of Latinos said they believed abortion should be legal in most cases, compared with 49 percent of the general population.

But then came the actual election. Not only did Latinos broadly go for pro-choice candidates, according to ABC’s exit polling, but 66 percent of Latino voters across the country also said abortion should be legal. That’s higher than the general population, 59 percent of whom said abortion should be legal. There was no gender gap in the exit polling of Latinos on abortion, but Latinas were even more likely to support Obama than their male counterparts: 76 percent of Latina women voted for Obama; 65 percent of Latino men did. In other words, female support helped secure the overwhelming support of Latinos for the president.

Jessica González-Rojas, the executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, told Salon that when it comes to asking the Latino community questions about abortion and gay marriage, the framing makes a big difference. When her organization conducted its own polling, it didn’t ask about legality: It asked about "voters’ feelings related to judgment and support around abortion."  In that poll, 74 percent of Latino registered voters agreed that "a woman has a right to make her own personal, private decisions about abortion without politicians interfering." And 68 percent agreed that "even though church leaders take a position against abortion, when it comes to the law, I believe it should remain legal."

González-Rojas also pointed out that Latinos overwhelmingly supported the Affordable Care Act, including its birth control coverage provisions. "Latina teens have the highest teen birth rate in the country, often because they don’t have access to contraception," she said. And Latinas, who are increasingly the heads of households, are concerned about maintaining the safety net for low-income people.

She also credited growing support for gay marriage among Latinos to advocacy and outreach that focused on support for families under the slogan "familia es familia" (family is family). It turns out "family values" doesn’t have to mean economically enforced patriarchy. your social media marketing partner


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+103 # TrueAmericanPatriot 2012-11-25 15:12
Messages to Karl Rove… THE GIANT (We The People) has awaken and ON THE MOVE!

2) TITANIC (GOP) has seen its LAST SUNRISE!

3) We the voters won't rest until the GOP takes its proper place in the political cemetery alongside the WHIGS & FEDERALISTS parties. You have GOT TO GO! Suppress the vote? WE'LL BE BACK!
+121 # kyzipster 2012-11-25 17:25
As a gay person, I like to think that I'm not a one issue voter but when a political party has fallen so far from any sense of decency on the issue of LGBT rights, how can I not take that into account when voting? Being LGBT and voting Republican is like an African American voting for David Duke and when an organization like the Family Research Council supports criminalizing homosexuality, this is not an exaggeration at all. The GOP is a threat to my very freedom, the only thing keeping them in check is public opinion.

They've become just as hateful and as dangerous to the Latino population. Rove can say any damn thing he wants, we all know there are dangerous, xenophobic elements in the Republican base that have been given a voice and legitimacy by people like Rove. Republican strategists only see this as a necessary evil.
+51 # Ralph Averill 2012-11-26 06:41
Very good points. Any rhetorical move by the Republicans vis-a-vis immigration, or any other issue for that matter, will be seen by any but the most befogged as cynical and insincere window dressing.
+2 # X Dane 2012-11-29 15:18

"the Family Research Council" has NOTHING to do with family and everything to do with hate and persecuting people not like them.

It infuriates me when I see Reed on CNN or MSNBC, because it gives them legitimacy they sure do not merit.

Ralph Reed, the public face of FRC, was heavily involved with Abramhof and their cheating of the Indian tribes. The million dollar schemes sent Abramhof to prison. I can't understand how Reed got off Scott free.

I am glad to see that more and more people understand and feel, that we all deserve equal rights, no matter who we are.

When I came here 53 years ago psychologists said that men became gay when their mothers were strong domineering women???? Nobody understood that you are born gay or straight.
It was hard on many women.

kyzipster, we HAVE come a long way, but I sure understand that it is too slow for LGTB people. I wish you success, understanding and acceptance by our countrymen and women....and fast.
+60 # dick 2012-11-26 03:59
King Rove is dead; long live King Rove. Time to re-open the Plame investigation. GOP needs news faces, new ideas, not just new twists on old faces & ideas. GOP should "primary" some of its own worst extremists; gerrymandering is biting them on the butt. What's good for Rupert & Karl may not be good for GOP.
+68 # RMDC 2012-11-26 04:55
Karl Rove is the problem and not the solution. He is transparently a political organizer for the super rich. Everyone knows he adopts any sort of social issue in order to persuade voters. He does not care about any of these issues. "Family values" coming from Rove is a joke and everyone knows it. He has only one agenda -- use government to shovel more money into the ruling elites of America or the world.

It the Republican party ceremoniously dumped Rove, it would attract a lot more voters.
+8 # AMLLLLL 2012-11-26 16:40
I agree that Rove is one reason the GOP ate sh*t this election; people are seeing through the facade. But it is the plenopy of social issues that frightens human beings. You can't fear monger. You can't restrict civil rights and expect people to support it. You can't wish for peoples' votes without regard to those peoples' interests.

Even GOP fiscal issues are vapid collection of talking points bereft of substantive evidence. Small gov't. ? Reagan grew the gov't. almost 300% while in office. No tax hikes? Reagan raised taxes 11 times while in office. Lower the tax rates and the 'job creators' will hire? Bush lowered taxes and although the wealth of the job creators grew immensely, jobs? not so much.

So, unless you are one of the 1% on the top, what have you done for me lately?
0 # AMLLLLL 2012-11-26 17:27
ps.panoply. S'cuse my dxlesya.
+50 # bingers 2012-11-26 05:45
Only the 1%, and only 32% of that 1% are natural constituency of the Republican party if they are aware of the facts. Sadly a lot of people aren't.

The death of conservatism would rescue the world.
+29 # 2012-11-26 08:38
Mr. Krauthammer has clearly not read the Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount if he thinks Catholics are a natural Republican constituency. Beliefs are more complicated than Republican platforms.
+26 # jon 2012-11-26 09:47
Victory feels very good, yes, but don't get so carried away with it that we count Rove out.

He is a very good manipulator. But, there is no doubt that he is looking for new ideas to bamboozle Latinos the same way he has been old anglo men.

This is no time to relax. He certainly is not.
+11 # doneasley 2012-11-26 14:17
Quoting jon:
... This is no time to relax. He certainly is not.

We can't relax, Jon. "Remember 2010" should be the motto for the 2014 midterm elections. You can be sure Rove has his sights set on the GOP taking control of the Senate and improving their majority numbers in the House. With Barack Obama's reelection, we definitely dodged the Romney/Ryan takeover of the domestic economy and the neo-conservativ e takeover of American foreign policy.

Now what we need is a 2014 Dem takeover of the House, which depends on a big turnout by all Dem constituencies to thwart the plans of the still-smarting Rove and his cronies.
+4 # Doubter 2012-11-26 19:02
It would sure help for the prez to repeal the PATRIOT & NDA Acts & chase the banksters out of the temple, etc. but as he said: WE HAVE TO MAKE HIM DO IT!
+3 # bmiluski 2012-11-27 10:12
And lets not forget........H E CAN'T DO IT ALONE. We need to write to our legislators.
+24 # genierae 2012-11-26 09:57
This current extremist Republican party is the only barrier between us and a bright future. Think what this country would be like if GOP obstruction were to end? We would have a true democracy where everyone had the support and the opportunity to become all that they can be. We would have a different world to live in, with good jobs, excellent infrastructure, green energy, mass transit, decent housing, free education, universal health-care, etc. There would be no more wars; with an equal number of women in office, peace would finally be within reach. We would stop worrying about American exceptionalism and finally become the country that we are destined to be. America has always contained the seeds of greatness, all we have to do is move out of darkness and allow those seeds the sunlight to grow. First step must be to leave old moldy ideologies behind in the dust. Goodbye Republican Party, don't go away mad, just go away.
+23 # j.a.o 2012-11-26 10:55
I so hope you are right. This man is one of the worst problems to our national security. He ought to be in jail and his money given back to the taxpayers whom he's robbed from, his pension and his health benefits. The man is a pyria. His only want is for more power.
+15 # kedj11 2012-11-26 11:57
You got to love it whenever "Charles Krauthammer (sees) reason for optimism". This after all comes from the cracked and wizened visage who ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY SURE THAT ROMNEY WOULD WIN BIG. So, I take heart whenever CREEPY CHARLIE thinks he knows what's up. Sure MR SCARY, latinos, being family oriented and religious, are a natural fit for the Republicans.... IF THERE WASN"T A 40 + YEARS of REPUBLICAN IMMIGRANT BASHING RACISM, perhaps. Funny how ethnic groups don't appreciate being INTIMIDATED FROM VOTING (which was one of our former CHIEF JUSTICE, WIlliam Renquist's hobbies back in the 60s in Arizona, whose Republicans have been NOTORIOUSLY LATINO FRIENDLY since before WW2) or told that their kids can't go to school or seek medical treatment in an emergency room (Which was part of California Governor Pete Wilson's EPIC ANTI-LATINO Prop 187 from the 1980s). Latinos will never forget which party supported these positions and in the West at least they will be a SOLID DEMOCRATIC VOTING BLOCK FOR AT LEAST THREE GENERATIONS.
+15 # Gord84 2012-11-26 12:01
Rove is the ultimate con man - he should be operating out of a boiler room!
+9 # herman_the_german 2012-11-26 12:33
What makes anyone think that Karl Rove is attempting to save the Republican Party?

This is not what the guy is doing or attempting to do.
+11 # lneidhold 2012-11-26 13:40
I can't shake the image of Rove strutting around doing his famous "rap" (funny how it rhymes with "crap") at the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association dinner. What a cocky little piece of work he was then. Now all he has is crow to wipe off of his face. Irony is a beautiful thing.
+6 # doneasley 2012-11-26 15:43
Quoting lneidhold:
... Now all he has is crow to wipe off of his face. Irony is a beautiful thing.

Not just crow, Ineidhold, but lots and lots of CROW CRAP!!!
+7 # reiverpacific 2012-11-26 16:24
The Grotty Old Party will continue to fail because they are out of touch with all demographics but older white men and their male spawn, who can't face b coming a minority power, and a few finks like Clarence "Uncle" Thomas and Condosleazy Rice.
Trouble is, they will keep blocking any attempts at progressive legislation on their way down the self-greased tube, kickin' and screamin' all the way, led by slobber-chops Rover.
+7 # drivensnow 2012-11-26 17:16
I think the Smithsonian Institute would be a great resting place for the Republican Party, right next to the other "Dinosaur" displays.

{Future Conversation, Father & Son visiting the Republican Party Display}...Hey Daddy, what was a Republican ??

Well Son....they used to be a political party that tried to trick the middle class into supporting policies that actually hurt themselves. Then one day the middle class woke up, and fought back and finally the Republicans ended up eating their own young, and just completely died off because they had no one left to blame for their failings. Enough about the Republicans Son, let's go over and look at the new Combustible Engine Display that died along with the greedy oilmen of the Republican Party.
+8 # bingers 2012-11-26 20:33
I do realize it's turdblossom, but why in God's name would anyone want to save the Republican party. They're totally or mostly responsible for everty bad thing in our public lives.
+7 # tswhiskers 2012-11-27 11:26
Unfortunately Karl Rove has had, until now a big out for winning elections; he can CHEAT. The Reps. have been throwing presidential elections since 2000. I just read an article on Truthout in which a hacker group calling themselves Anonymous claimed to be watching all of Rove's servers and prevented him from throwing the Ohio election. There's no question that the Reps. have used fradulent voting machines in 2000 and 2004 to successfully election Bush II to the White House. At the time most of the American press refused to cover these stories. That is very unfortunate. We desperately need honest and reputable reporting on the malfeasance of the GOP in this and past elections. Greg Palast is one the very few who have covered these stories and also malfeasance by American corporations around the world. BTW he works for the British press, he claims the American press won't print his stories. Until the GOP is denounced in our own press for their election tactics and fraud they will continue to try to steal them since it's so much easier than to admit the truth that the public want jobs and livable wages and lower taxes and are tired of supporting the wealthy at their own expense.

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