Over at redstate.com, Erick Erckson writes:
At the same time, Romney made a conscious decision to blow off Hispanic voters. Yes, conservatives, we must account for this. The Romney campaign to the hispanic [sic] community was atrocious and, frankly, the fastest growing demographic in America isn't going to vote for a party that sounds like that party hates brown people. That does not mean the GOP must offer up amnesty. It does mean that a group that is a natural fit for the GOP on social issues, [sic] must in someway [sic] be made to feel comfortable with the GOP.
Boiled down to its essence, this is a call for rebranding, not change. But there are significant problems with Erickson's formulation, none of which he appears to grasp.
It is a article of faith among conservatives that Latinos are "natural fits" for the Republican party because they are thought to be to the right of the Democratic party on such issues as abortion and gay rights. That may or may not be, but it's an open question as to whether that will ever be adequate to change Latino voting patterns.
In 2004, George Bush received over 40% of the Latino vote, something that conservatives suddenly cite as proof that Latinos will vote Republican given the right candidate. But Bush supported immigration reform, something that Erickson in effect claims that Republicans don't have to do and that is inconceivable anyway.
More to the point, the second Bush term was an economic Hurricane Katrina for Latinos, as their accumulated wealth disappeared in the burst of the housing bubble. If any demographic fears a double down on trickle down, it is Latinos. It will take more, much more, than selling the quaint notion that Republicans are the party of freedom and opportunity when in the experience of the Latino community it is exactly not that.
Then there's the elephant in the room, the great slouching beast that Erickson refuses to see. Republicans do not just sound like the party that hates "brown" people: The controlling group in the Republican nominating process does hate brown people and anyone else without white skin. Joe Arpaio is not a Tea Party hero because of an avuncular manner and a wicked wit. I will never forget the sickening spectacle of a screaming mob of tea baggers forcing John Lewis, a 70-year man and genuine American hero, walk a gauntlet of hate for the unpardonable sin of going to his office as the Affordable Care Act neared a vote. Not a single Republican expressed the slightest bit of dismay
Latinos cannot be made, forced, or duped into becoming comfortable with the GOP any more than anyone else can. The precondition for Latinos becoming comfortable with the GOP is, one would think, that the GOP becomes comfortable with Latinos. I don't see that happening any time soon.