“I think that members of our party have spoken about this in a way that’s not only anti-immigration but anti-Hispanic, and I think that’s harmful to the long term future of the party. That’s been disappointing.”
“I believe in a secure border, I’m a law-and-order kind of guy, but it seems to me we can talk about achieving a secure border in a way that reflects the reality of why people come here and has a more compassionate tone.”
– Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, in an interview with Yahoo news.
You have to applaud Gonzales for his frankness in discussing what motivates some in his party, although I’m doubtful that his words will have much impact on those in question. He understands all too well the message that is sent by Republican officials when, for example, they nominate a bigot like Phil Kent to a state immigration board.
In a similar interview with the Daily Caller, Gonzales was asked about allegations that the GOP is trying to minimize its problem with minorities by limiting their access to the polls through voter purges and changes in the law.
“The answer is not to suppress the Hispanic vote,” Gonzales answered. “The answer is to improve the Republican brand.”
And given changing demographics, “there is no long-term future for the Republican Party” unless the party somehow changes its approach, he warned.
I hope the Republican Party takes that advice, but I’m doubtful because it has caught itself in a trap of its own making. It cannot operate as a source of reassurance to white Americans worried about their status in a rapidly changing nation and also be seen as welcoming to the very groups perceived to be threatening that status. It is impossible to play both roles at the same time.
Some figures in the party — Gonzales, Jeb Bush, George W. Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio,, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez — understand that conundrum, even if they have no idea yet how to resolve it.
– Jay Bookman