I’m not surprised that there exist other GOP activists besides the usual Bob Perry/Bill Hammond/business interests types that aren’t happy with their party’s recent anti-immigrant/anti-Hispanic fixation. Nor am I surprised that like their business-oriented counterparts they haven’t figured out what to do about it.
A series of email exchanges between Republican Party boosters and the office of Gov. Rick Perry indicate some conservatives believe passing the contentious “sanctuary cities” bill may cripple efforts to recruit more Hispanics to their ranks.
The correspondence signals a potential rift between Perry, who appears intent on addressing immigration issues during the current special session, and some of the party’s backers as rumors surrounding a possible Perry presidential run continue to swirl.
“At the end of the day you should understand that Hispanic voters will not support a party that wants to deport their mother and father,” Norman Adams, the co-founder of Texans for Sensible Immigration Policy and a member of Texas GOP Vote, a conservative website, wrote to Ray Sullivan, Perry’s chief of staff. The messages are part of an email exchange that began June 2 and were obtained by the Tribune.
Dr. Steve Hotze, the chairman of Conservative Republicans of Texas, is included in the exchanges and urges Perry and Sullivan to reconsider. Hotze contributed at least $60,000 personally and at least $640,000 via his PAC to GOP House and Senate candidates in the last election cycle
“It seems that we should focus on recruiting Hispanics to the Republican ranks,” he wrote. “It appears this bill might accomplish just the opposite.”
And as much as I don’t want to see the “sanctuary cities” bill get passed, when it does get passed on GOP votes alone, the continued alienation it will bring them from Latinos will be well earned and well deserved. But I’ll say again, the solution to this is simple and obvious: Raise money and recruit candidates to take on the more noxious xenophobes in the next primary. Given that the one thing that motivates Republican officials the most strongly these days is fear of a primary challenge, you’d think this would be fairly simple to grasp. If they do, then one of two things will happen: Either they’ll have enough success knocking out the Riddles and Bermans of the world to change behavioral norms, or they’ll realize just how marginalized they are in their own party. Speaking as someone who isn’t a Republican, I’d consider either of those outcomes to be positive.