The leadership of the California Republican Party (CRP), which held its annual convention last weekend in Los Angeles, plans to show its serious intentions to communicate with and attract the state’s Latino voters. Therefore, the CRP organized a forum in collaboration with Univision and talked about recruiting Latino candidates for various positions and changing the discourse toward common issues such as the economy, education, taxes and public safety.
We think this is an extremely smart step, although it should have been taken a long time ago. If that had been the case, Republicans would have wider support than a lowly 31% of California’s registered voters and would not be the minority in the legislature and executive. For example, last November, despite the fact that the GOP won in the rest of the country, its candidates lost the eight state races in California.
Ever since then-Governor Pete Wilson decided to support an anti-Latino and anti-immigrant measure-Proposition 187-to increase his low popularity level and get re-elected in 1994, the Republican Party can’t seem to get anything right. It increasingly lost political ground, while the Latino vote grew to almost a quarter of the state’s voters.
We hope the CRP’s new attitude translates into real change. Also, lawmakers like Tim Donnelly should get the message. A few months ago, Donnelly introduced a bill similar to Arizona’s here inCalifornia, and to make matters worse, he brought Senator Russell Pearce, who created the Arizona law, to give a speech supporting it. The bill, incidentally, was defeated by a vote precisely divided along party lines: Republicans voted yes, while Democrats voted no. This is the perfect example of what must not be done, if they want to attract the votes of Latinos and other minorities. And the Republican National Party should look at itself in the same mirror.