Senate Republicans Admit It: We Pissed Off Minorities and Lost

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 7 2012 1:33 AM

Senate Republicans Admit It: We Pissed Off Minorities and Lost

Marco Rubio got there first:

I am committed to working on upward mobility policies that will ensure people who work hard and play by the rules can rise above the circumstances of their birth and leave their children better off. The conservative movement should have particular appeal to people in minority and immigrant communities who are trying to make it, and Republicans need to work harder than ever to communicate our beliefs to them.

This isn't a surprising statement, coming from him. But it was followed by Sen. John Cornyn, who managed to pick up, at most, two Senate seats in a year tilted dramatically toward Republican-leaning races.

But it’s clear that with our losses in the Presidential race, and a number of key Senate races, we have a period of reflection and recalibration ahead for the Republican Party.  While some will want to blame one wing of the party over the other, the reality is candidates from all corners of our GOP lost tonight.  Clearly we have work to do in the weeks and months ahead.

Why so subtle about it? Mitt Romney lost millions of votes because he alienated Hispanics. Those losses trickled down to bystanders like George Allen and Heather Wilson and Connie Mack. But Romney did the groundwork. Part of it was forced upon him -- if we want to give him that much credit, for how he responded to every crisis on his right. Had Rick Perry not run for president, and been so attackable on college tuition for immigrants, the issue might have stayed dormant. But Romney opened up on Perry and touted his support of the Arizona/Alabama immigration bills. The result: Only 27% of the Hispanic vote, the lowest for any Republican in a generation. Romney won only 39% of this vote in Florida. In 2004, George W. Bush won 54% of that vote. Yes, sure, fine, it's more Puerto Rican and less Cuban than it was eight years ago. But this drop-off is untenable.

David Weigel, a former Slate politics reporter, is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics


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