Houston Chronicle: Dick Armey blasts Republicans on immigration, saying GOP is alienating Latino voters
Yes, the Democrats will likely lose Congressional seats — only twice in the past 100 years has the president’s party not lost seats in its first midterm elections. But the fact is that the demographics of the country are overwhelmingly favorable to the Democratic Party, and only getting more favorable with every day. Far from being able to look forward to a conservative renaissance, the GOP has a very bleak future.
And, of course, it’s not only Hispanics who are pallbearers for the Republicans. Young voters and blacks prefer the Democrats as well. The Democrats can capitalize on their loyalty, as the two groups came out in unprecedented numbers in 2008. A new analysis from Gallup found that Obama’s approval rating had dropped among all groups — except young people, who favor the president at a whopping 66 percent. Both blocs have supported the Democrats for years — and both are growing as shares of the American population.
The reality is that white males, the core of the GOP’s base, are shrinking in number and electoral power. Nearly 98 percent of Ronald Reagan’s voters in 1980 were white, when they formed 89 percent of the electorate. But in 2008, they formed less than 75 percent of voters. With nonwhite voters voting for Democratic presidents upward of 90 percent of the time, the numbers just seem to put the GOP’s future in the intensive care unit.
Armey, one of the creators of the "Contract with America" that launched the 1994 Republican revolution, says that the party needs to be more careful when it discusses immigration reform — something the former University of North Texas economics professor strongly supports.
Armey says the issue of immigration needs to be handled with "sensitivity." He described the hard-edged, immigrant-bashing rhetoric of former Republican congressman and presidential candidate Tom Tancredo, who spoke at a recent Tea Party convention in Tennessee, as "destructive."
"Republicans have to get this right and get off this goofiness," Armey said. "Ronald Reagan said 'tear down this wall.' Tom Tancredo said 'build this wall.' Which is right?"
With Latinos forming the fastest-growing electoral bloc in the nation, Armey says the GOP seems to be saying, "Let's go out and alienate them."