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How Republicans Lost Their Best Shot at the Hispanic Vote

September 19, 2016 (1 min read)

Alec MacGillis, New York Times, Sept. 18, 2016- "[J]ust four years ago, Republican leaders, coming off a presidential election in which their candidate received barely a quarter of the Hispanic vote, made a concerted push to reach a compromise on immigration reform. President Obama, too, elevated it as one of the top issues of his second term. Two days after the election, Speaker John Boehner told ABC News that reform was “long overdue,” saying that “I’m confident that the president, myself, others can find the common ground to take care of this issue once and for all.” At a time when Congress, because of the strategic calculus of its Republican leadership, was struggling to pass such once-rudimentary measures as budgets and highway bills, and bipartisan legislative efforts had become a snow-leopard-like rarity in Washington, it was a remarkable moment: The parties’ imperatives had converged on what everyone involved envisioned as a historic piece of legislation to resolve one of the nation’s most conspicuous problems, a broken immigration system that had left 11 million people undocumented.

The immigration bill was supposed to be a relatively straightforward en­deavor — not politically painless, by any means, but a clear win for all the parties involved, enough so that it came much closer to happening than most people think. “I’ve never been involved in an issue where there’s no organized opposition to it,” Representative John Yarmuth of Louisville, Ky., one of Labrador’s Democratic colleagues in the Group of 8, told me. “It’s so bizarre when you have the business community, organized labor, the faith community, law enforcement, you name it, everybody’s for it. Come on — how can you have something everybody’s for and not get it passed?”

But the bill did not pass. And its failure revealed how fully the Republican Party had boxed itself in in Congress — the degree to which it had been paralyzed by its own extremity and tactical logic, and the degree to which this intransigence had produced a cynicism among Demo­crats that amounted to a self-fulfilling prophecy."