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Charles Krauthammer, last seen predicting a Mitt Romney victory:
[Hispanics] should be a natural Republican constituency: striving immigrant community, religious, Catholic, family-oriented and socially conservative (on abortion, for example).

The principal reason they go Democratic is the issue of illegal immigrants. In securing the Republican nomination, Mitt Romney made the strategic error of (unnecessarily) going to the right of Rick Perry. Romney could never successfully tack back.

Republicans have reason to be freaked out. They continue to lose ground with Latinos, getting blown out 71-27 with one of the few groups to increase their raw vote and their share of the electorate this year. And there is little respite on the horizon—the median age of native-born Latinos is 18. Eighteen! Among all Latinos, including immigrants, it's just 27. That compares with 42 years old among non-Hispanic whites. In fact, Pew estimates that Latinos will double their share of the electorate by 2030, based strictly on birth and death rates.

Or put another way, nearly 67,000 Latinos turn 18 every month according to Pew, with 93 percent of them U.S. citizens and eligible to vote. Couple that with the over 100,000 elderly (and predominantly conservative) whites who die each month, and you're looking at over 3 million new potential Latino voters, and nearly 5 million fewer white voters. In just four years.

Or put yet another way: Texas will be a swing state by 2024.

So yeah, the Right has suddenly rediscovered math, and they have every reason to be freaked out. Panicked, really. Yet it remains amazing how incapable the Right is of properly and accurately evaluating data. Follow me below the fold as I disassemble Krauthammer's attempt to argue that conservatives can totally compete with Latinos.

[Hispanics] should be a natural Republican constituency: striving immigrant community
Other conservative commentators use more direct language than this, saying that Latinos are "entrepreneurial" and "hard working" and talking about how they start small businesses. Why that might be "conservative" is beyond me. Just look at heavily Democratic Silicon Valley. However, it's true—Latinos work their assess off, and they do it for next to nothing. But does that make them "conservative"?

Pew found that when asked whether respondents had a positive or negative view toward capitalism and socialism, Latinos were the most negative toward capitalism of any group (age, income, ethnicity or race)—seeing it negative by a 55-32 margin.

In fact, Latinos are more negative toward capitalism than supporters of Occupy Wall Street (47-46 negative).

Is it any wonder, when capitalism pays them so little picking crops in the fields, or working as day laborers, or cleaning hotel rooms or public bathrooms, or doing the myriad shit jobs they get stuck doing at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder?

A Republican message geared toward rewarding the richest will never resonate with Latinos. Never.

Catholic, family-oriented and socially conservative (on abortion, for example).
Latinos are among the most family-obsessed cultures anywhere. True. But that has little bearing to what Krauthammer means when he talks about "family oriented" as a conservative value. What Krauthammer means is dogmatic opposition to abortion rights and marriage equality. And yes, Latinos are strongly Catholic. But again, there's the conservative fiction of what that means (Catholics will vote Republican because of birth control!), and the reality.

In this case, we don't have to dig deeply to get at that reality. Exit pollsters asked respondents about both abortion and gay marriage.

While 48 percent of all respondents favor marriage equality, that number was a significantly higher 59 percent among Latinos. And while 59 percent of all Americans think abortion should be legal, once again, Latinos clocked in well-above that number: 66 percent.

I'm not privy to granular exit poll crosstabs, but I would assume these results are a result of the Latino community's youth. Sure, older Latinos are more conservative, but millennial Latinos are little different than their ethnic and racial peers—tolerant, open-minded and severely lacking in the bigotries of their elders.

Furthermore, being "family-oriented" means taking care of your family—such as making sure they don't die from lack of health insurance. An election-eve Latino Decisions poll found that 66 percent of Latinos think government should ensure that people have access to health insurance, compared to just 25 percent who wanted it left up to individuals. According to the exit polls, 49 percent of voters wanted some or all of Obamacare repealed.

The principal reason they go Democratic is the issue of illegal immigrants.
That Latino Decisions found that immigration was the number one issue for respondents. But is that the reason they vote Democratic? There is absolutely no evidence of that, and in fact, it would be counterintuitive to say so given everything above. Latinos are more socially liberal than the public, they champion social services that help them take care of their families, they are more hostile to a capitalistic system that systematically screws them over, and they aren't idiots—they hear the hateful shit conservatives say about them. And yes, they are so "family-oriented" that they don't want their family carted off in handcuffs by immigration officials.

Fact is, Latinos don't believe government should enter their homes and bedrooms, but they do believe it can help create jobs and level an unfair economic playing field. In other words, Latinos believe in exactly the opposite of what Republicans believe.

As Armando wrote yesterday:

To win Latinos will require a wholesale ideological change by Republicans. And to win presidential elections, Republicans will have to win Latinos.
It's either change or perish. But how can they do that with their xenophobic teabagger fringe pushing them further Right?

Originally posted to kos on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 11:42 AM PST.

Also republished by LatinoKos and Daily Kos.

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