Republicans: Some of Our Best Friends Are Brown

News & Politics

While Republicans are too spooked by the NRA and their teabagger/birther base to cast a confirmation vote for Judge Sonia Sotomayor, they seem to realize the peril they face with the fast-growing Latino electorate.

So they're falling on that old canard, the "some of my best friends" line.

Not sure what Estrada has to do with Sotomayor? Me neither. Yet, Mitch McConnell mentioned him in his statement opposing Sotomayor, as did John Cornyn. His name was recited over and over again during Sotomayor's confirmation hearings.

It's confusing: In 2003, the GOP argued that Democrats' opposition to Estrada was racist, but now they're saying their opposition to Sotomayor isn't, even though it serves the Dems right because they voted against Estrada. Which would mean that they're opposing Sotomayor because of her race, but they aren't, because you know, look at how much they love Miguel Estrada. Protesting a bit much, aren't they?

It's kinda painful, in fact. For a party that built its electoral dominance on playing up racial divisions, it's having a hard time adjusting to a far more tolerant world in which us brown people make up a bigger and bigger percentage.

For one case study, witness California, once a solid Republican bastion.

As California’s population has grown by over 15 million from about 23 million to more than 38 million in the past thirty years, there have also been very large demographic changes among the state’s registered voters [...]

• As the percentage of white non-Hispanics in the overall population has dropped 26 points from 68.9% to 42.8% over the past three decades, white non-Hispanics’ share of the state’s registered voter population has decreased 18 points from 83.0% to 65.0%.  

• These declines are offset by large increases in the proportion of Latinos and Asians. Latinos now comprise 37.0% of the state’s total population (up 18.9% since 1978) and 21% of the state’s registered voters (up 13 points).  The percentages of blacks in both the overall population and among registered voters have declined only marginally, but there has been a big increase in the proportions of Asians/others. These voters nowcomprise 14.2% of the state’s total population (up 8.7 points) and 8.2% of the state’s registered voters (up 5.3 points).

• Changes in the racial/ethnic composition of the state’s electorate are occurring at a faster rate among Democratic Party voters and those registered as non-partisan than among Republicans. Currently 55% of registered Democrats and 59% of non-partisans are white non-Hispanic, while greater than four in ten are voters of color. By contrast, among Republicans about eight in ten (79%) are white non-Hispanic and 21% include ethnic voters.

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