Fox News analyst Brit Hume said Monday that the Republican Party’s tepid embrace of immigration reform is part of a “baloney” political strategy to curry favor with Latinos, who Hume said are unimportant to future presidential elections, hence his conclusion that Republicans should just keep the party’s focus on white people instead.
Hume’s comments came in response to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who suggested recently that America’s quickly changing demographics will pose a real challenge to Republicans in future presidential elections.
“Look, I’ve read all kinds of analysis of this… I am absolutely convinced that this troupe that you’re hearing, that says if the Republicans don’t go for immigration reform much as the Senate has done, they’re never gonna win another presidential election,” Hume said. “Oh, baloney.”
“If you look at the statistics, you’ll find that there was one significant bloc of voters that turned out in smaller numbers this time in a major, major way, way below expectations, below even their ’08 turnout, and that was white voters,” he added. “Now, that doesn’t mean if they turned out Romney would have gotten them all. But it shows you that this Hispanic vote — which I think now is about 8.5 percent of the U.S. electorate or something like that — is not nearly as important, still, as the white vote, which is above 70 percent.”
“So, if you look at it from an ethnic point of view, that addresses the question of whether you need to get right with the Hispanics,” he concluded.
“A fascinating analysis,” host Bill Hemmer replied. “Something to watch. Brit, well done!”
For the record, Hume sigificantly understated the eligible Latino vote, pegged by the U.S. Census Bureau (PDF) at 10.8 percent of the eligible electorate in 2012, having grown by more than 1 percent every two years since 1996. And while the growth rate for eligible Hispanic voters slowed in 2012, The Pew Hispanic Center noted that it’s because the community’s overall growth actually outpaced it, even though more Latinos registered to cast U.S. ballots last year than any year to come before it.
Those numbers are largely due to the growth in the Hispanic community in the last decade, which was up 43 percent on the 2010 census, whereas the white population grew by just 1 percent over the same period. The Obama campaign is widely credited with capturing an overwhelming majority of those newly-eligible voters and hurtling to victory on the back of a “rainbow coalition” that married Latinos to issues important to women, African Americans, LGBT people and working families.
Still, even if Hume thinks that using legislation to dodge this fast-approaching electoral bullet is “baloney,” Sen. Chuch Schumer (D-NY) said Sunday that he thinks moderate Republicans in the House will come around and join with Democrats to pass immigration reform in the coming months. “And they’ll say, ‘Oh no, that’s not what’s going to happen,’” he told “Fox News Sunday.” “But I think it will.”
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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