CALIFORNIA GOP: CAN LATINO VOTERS BE THE KEY TO ITS COMEBACK?

The parting of the ways between the California Republican Party and Latino voters occurred in 1994 with the passage of Proposition 187which was championed by the Party and then-Governor Pete Wilson. Though it was subsequently ruled unconstitutional and litigation regarding it ended in 1999, no Republican candidate with the exception of Arnold Schwarzenegger has won a gubernatorial, senatorial or presidential election since 1994.


Skip forward in time to 2012-2013. Newly-elected GOP State Chair, Jim Brulte, has made the Latino electorate the cornerstone of his six(6) year game plan to turn around the GOP’s fortunes in California.

There are at least three problems that exist which could easily stand in the way of this bold plan: first, the California GOP has severe financial and staffing issues; there are internal party issues to resolve, and third, the Latino community has not forgotten or forgiven the bad feelings surrounding Proposition 187.

What is the extent of the financial and staff problems? The California GOP is basically broke. It is a half million dollars, at minimum, in debt. Some sources say it is closer to $800,000. It is down to three(3) full-time employees, two of whom work from home, and it has almost no grassroots organization to speak of.

The party politics? According to Republican consultant, Luis Alvorado, who is also President of Republican National Hispanic Assembly of Greater Los Angelesas he commented in a recent article on the Hispanic news website VOXXI.com, “We’re going back to the party of Shogun-type dynasties, where the Tea Party has their coalition, and the moderates have their coalition, and it’s going to be a battle to see who comes out on top.”

Latino voters and the CA Republican Party? The numbersspeak for themselves. In the 2004 and 2008 Presidential elections, 58% and 67% of Latino voters pulled the lever for the Democratic candidate; in 2012, the figure increased to 71%.

How does the State Chair and the GOP plan to overcome these obstacles? This is a very good question. The problem in answering this beyond the vague generalities offered by the new State Chair about promoting the shared values of conservatives and Latinos is apparently not one that the California GOP is able to answer at this time. Attempts by this writer to get answers from spokesperson, Mark Standriss, has been met with, sadly, indifference. The first scheduled phone interview was blown off by Mr. Standriss. He apparently forgot that we had scheduled the call a few days earlier and was involved in another conference call at the time our phone meeting was scheduled. When I contacted him the next day to follow up, Mr. Standriss had no details of the plan and could not find the contact information for the Party official who was to lead the effort. He did take my email address so he could send me the information “hopefully by morning”. That was Tuesday evening. As of the time of submission for this article on Thursday, there has been NO follow up email.


That pretty much sums-up what I think the California GOP’s plan is when it comes to attracting Latino voters: NO FOLLOW UP!

It is this attitude which will doom, in my view, the attempt by California Republicans to rebuild their party in California for years if not decades. The factionalism in the California Party will continue to impede any rebuilding efforts especially when it comes to Latinos. National GOP efforts will be given mouth-service but produce no real changes to aid the winning back of Latinos or other minority voters.

By Being Latino Contributor, Jeffery Cassity Jeffery is a mostly socially-liberal, fiscally-conservative Anglo male who is involved in his local Hispanic community as the widower of a 1st generation Mexican-American woman and his active, some would say hyperactive, membership in the local Council of the League of Latin American Citizens(LULAC).
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