Lindsey Graham: GOP in a Death Spiral

Immigration reform sure has Republicans in a bind. After all, Sen. Lindsey Graham was not wrong when he said, on Sunday's Meet the Press, that:

"... if we don’t pass immigration reform, if we don’t get it off the table in a reasonable, practical way, it doesn’t matter who you run in 2016. We’re in a demographic death spiral as a party and the only way we can get back in good graces with the Hispanic community in my view is pass comprehensive immigration reform. If you don’t do that, it really doesn’t matter who we run in my view."

He's sure not wrong that the GOP can't continue to be the party of white men, to hell with brown people, and succeed. So you'd think it would be an obvious choice to any Republican who could read polls and demographic data. Yet Sen. Marco Rubio demonstrates the other side of the Republican bind on immigration as he continues doing the will-he-or-won't-he danceon the immigration reform bill he helped write.

"I think 95, 96 percent of the bill is in perfect shape and ready to go. But there are elements that need to be improved," said Rubio, refusing to say if he’ll vote for the measure he helped write unless changes are made.

Who knows, maybe Rubio is holding out for the 98 percent of what he wanted that John Boehner got on the debt limit deal that created sequestration. But either way, his very public ambivalence highlights the fact that it's only going to get harder for Republicans to win elections in a lot of key swing states if they can't appeal to Latino and Asian voters—but for now, Republicans with personal, short-term ambition know that their party's primary-voting base will punish them for not scapegoating brown people enough.

And this dilemma couldn't happen to a more deserving party or set of politicians.


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