The Republican Party has to change its talk and its walk if it wants to stand a chance at earning the key Latino vote in future elections.

The GOP campaign rhetoric was especially alienating to the more than 70 percent of Latinos who voted for Obama. All the anti-immigrant talk and the hostility toward young Latinos who came here with their parents persuaded a huge majority to side with the Democrats.

Republicans had an opportunity because President Obama has deported immigrants at a record pace. But Mitt Romney's assertion that immigrants without proper papers should "self-deport" and his refusal to endorse the DREAM Act propelled Latinos into Obama's arms.

Romney and the Republicans proved they were out of touch with a growing demographic that increased its share in the electorate from 6 percent to 10 percent in just 12 years.

And on the immigration issue, the Republican Party is way out of step not only with Latinos but also with a majority of Americans. Sixty-five percent of the people surveyed in an exit poll on Nov. 6 supported a pathway to citizenship.

Some Republicans are wising up.

"We have nobody to blame but ourselves when it comes to losing Hispanics," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., vowing, "We can get them back with some effort on our part."

House Speaker John Boehner admitted that the U.S. immigration system is broken and expressed hope that the two parties could find some common ground.

Even conservative pundit Sean Hannity announced his support for immigration reform that would include a path to citizenship for some undocumented immigrants.

If this talk is real, than the Democratic Party will be punished if it fails to enact genuine immigration reform and if it keeps breaking up so many Latino families. But if the GOP only softens its rhetoric on immigration and nothing else, than it really misses the point because Latinos care about more than just immigration.

Latinos have the highest dropout rates and the highest percentage of uninsured of any demographic group in America, and their unemployment rate is almost as high as that of blacks. Education, health insurance and jobs are also important issues to Latinos.

Latinas have the highest gender wage gap, 54 cents to every dollar earned by a white male. And studies have shown that Latinos are tolerant of a woman's right to choose and feel that right should be protected.

They also care about foreign policy, especially regarding their countries of origin, but also because many of their sons and daughters have gone to far off places as part of our armed services.

If the GOP wants to have a fighting chance in the next presidential election, it needs to get beyond tokenizing. Republicans can't just repackage a Marco Rubio as the kinder and browner version of itself.

The GOP needs to open the door to its big tent -- and let some people out in order to make room for some fresh air and ideas.

Maegan E. Ortiz is a freelance writer and publisher of She can be reached at

You can read more pieces from The Progressive Media Project by clicking here.

Now's a great time to subscribe to The Progressive magazine. You'll get a FREE copy of our 2013 "Hidden History of the United States" calendar when you subscribe for just $14.97 for the whole year. That's 75% off the newsstand price, and the calendar is yours for free. Just click here.

Add new comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.


The beauty and the tragedy of everyday life in a war zone.

Maybe I should only be shocked that I wasn’t shocked a long time ago.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

Public School Shakedown

Progressive Media Project