GOP Rep. Tim Huelskamp Goes Into “Latino Denial” Mode

Apr 11, 2013
7:32 AM

The following post comes from Think Progress and it is example #1,200 as to why some Republican politicians still don’t get it, and probably never will.


This week’s GOP Latino Denial winner is Rep. Tim Huelskamp. Here is what he said on the radio earlier this week:

“[It’s] very discouraging,” Huelskamp told conservative radio host Steve Deace on Tuesday, that Republicans are trying “to win votes from the so-called ‘Hispanic voter.’” The conservative congressman argued that trying to persuade Latino voters to become Republicans was “very distracting” because their policy preferences are too disparate. He then conceded that Democrats had done far better winning their votes:

HUELSKAMP: If you’re going to talk about giving a pathway to citizenship before you seal the border. They made a mistake in ’86; I’m not going to repeat that. That’s not going to go through the House. What is interesting and very distracting and very discouraging is, Steve, after the election, the general discussion from Republicans in Washington was, we’ve got to do everything we can to win votes from the so-called “Hispanic voter.” And I say so-called because there’s all kinds of varieties of beliefs within that immigrant community. And the idea that suddenly, instead of voting 70 percent for the Democrats, somehow they’re going to start voting for Republican? No. What Republicans need to do is get off their rear ends and go out, outside of Washington, and talk about what they’re for!

Whether Huelskamp likes it or not, U.S. Latino voters see immigration reform as a personal matter, regardless of their politics. As Latino Decisions states:

Latino Decisions released new polling data today highlighting why immigration reform has become the number one political issue for Latino voters, and the answer is close personal connections between Latino voters and Latino undocumented immigrants.  The poll finds that 58% of Latino registered voters now cite immigration reform as the top priority for the Congress and President, up from 35% in November 2012.  One reason is that 63% of Latino voters say they personally know someone who is an undocumented immigrant, either a member of their family or a close personal friend.  Further, 39% of Latino voters say they personally know someone, or a family who has faced deportation or detention for immigration reasons, and increase of 14 points over 2011, when 25% of Latino voters said they personally knew someone who had faced deportation or detention.  It is clear that the immigration reform issue is one that Latinos agree with in principle, but that Latino voters are also directly connected to, and intertwined with the undocumented immigrant population in the United States.

If Huelskamp sounds familiar to you, he was the one who gave that bizarre interview last year on Morning Joe.