This week, the GOP launched their new website and it was like a little gift to the progressive blogosphere. The site was riddled with bugs, went down almost immediately and had some interesting (if not wholly factual) content.
I’ve been thinking about blogging about it, but America’s Voice beat me to the punch. They did such a good job I’m just going to cross-post here (with their permission).
Yesterday the GOP launched a trendy, new website at www.GOP.com.
Only one problem: the GOP, according to the Politico’s Ben Smith, completely forgot about its future.
This is, a youngish Republican points out to me this morning, a bit of an unfortunate place for an empty page on the Republican National Committee’s nifty new website.
That would be the “Future Leaders” page.
Liberal bloggers had a field day with the news—so much so that the page was updated that same day to include an interactive, “Who are the future leaders of the Republican Party?” section.
So, who/what is the future of the GOP—a great question as we brace ourselves for the crucial next leg of a national immigration reform debate. Coincidentally, that debate started in earnest yesterday, too, with a rally at the U.S. Capitol where Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) laid out the principles for real reform.
As we’ve argued consistently at America’s Voice, Republican politicians have been guilty of using immigrants as a wedge issue for so long that they are in real danger of sacrificing their future with Latino, minority, and swing voters. With Representative Gutierrez and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) laying the groundwork to move forward on real immigration reform in the weeks and months ahead, the question takes on renewed importance.
GOP leaders have used the “ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT” bogeyman to derail progress on a number of critical issues, from health care, to the flu pandemic, to economic recovery, but they’ve mainly succeeded in further marginalizing themselves among Latino voters and other swing demographics who want policymakers to solve tough problems — not pander with cheap scare tactics.
Florida’s Republican Senator Mel Martinez, who retired in August, consistently argued that the GOP must change course if it cares at all about the future:
“Republicans risk their political future since Hispanics are the fastest-growing ethnic group in the US.”
As George W. Bush’s former speechwriter, Michael Gerson, pointed out in “Suicidal Policy:”
Now hearings are beginning on another immigration reform bill, with a legislative debate likely to ripen in 2010. For Democrats — pledged to comprehensive reform but weighing union opposition to a temporary worker program — the debate will be difficult. For Republicans, it may be an invitation to political suicide.
Some conservatives dismiss electoral considerations as soiled and cynical. They will make their case, even if that means sacrificing Florida, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and . . . Indiana. Yes, Indiana, which had supported Republican presidential candidates for 40 years before Obama captured it on the strength of Hispanic votes. This is a good definition of extremism — the assumption that irrelevance is evidence of integrity. In fact, it is a moral achievement of democracy that it eventually forces political parties to appeal to minorities and outsiders instead of demonizing them. The scramble for votes, in the long run, requires inclusion.
The political cost of losing Latino and minority support in exchange for short-sighted, dog-whistle rhetoric could mean a very, very empty “future leaders” section for decades—and elections— to come. Over the next few months, we’ll see which path they choose.
Cross-Posted at Huffington Post.