What are the three demographic groups whose electoral impact is growing fastest? Hispanics, women, and young people. Who are Republicans pissing off the most? Latinos, women, and young people.
It's almost as if the GOP can't help itself.
Start with Hispanic voters, whose electoral heft keeps growing as they comprise an ever-larger portion of the electorate. Hispanics now favor President Obama over Romney by more than two to one, according to a recent Pew poll.
The movement of Hispanics into the Democratic camp has been going on for decades. What are Republicans doing to woo them back? Replicating California Republican Governor Pete Wilson's disastrous support almost 20 years ago for Proposition 187 -- which would have screened out undocumented immigrants from public schools, health care, and other social services, and required law-enforcement officials to report any "suspected" illegals. (Wilson, you may remember, lost that year's election, and California's Republican Party has never recovered.)
The Arizona law now before the Supreme Court -- sponsored by Republicans in the state and copied by Republican legislators and governors in several others -- would authorize police to stop anyone looking Hispanic and demand proof of citizenship. It's nativism disguised as law enforcement.
Romney is trying to distance himself from that law, but it's not working. That may be because he dubbed it a "model law" during February's Republican primary debate in Arizona, and because its author (former state senator Russell Pearce, who was ousted in a special election last November largely by angry Hispanic voters) says he's working closely with Romney advisers.
Hispanics are also reacting to Romney's attack just a few months ago on GOP rival Texas Governor Rick Perry for supporting in-state tuition at the University of Texas for children of undocumented immigrants. And to Romney's advocacy of what he calls "self-deportation" -- making life so difficult for undocumented immigrants and their families that they choose to leave.
As if all this weren't enough, the GOP has been pushing voter ID laws all over America, whose obvious aim is to intimidate Hispanic voters so they won't come to the polls. But they may have the opposite effect -- emboldening the vast majority of ethnic Hispanics, who are American citizens, to vote in even greater numbers and lend even more support to Obama and other Democrats.
Or consider women -- whose political and economic impact in America continues to grow (women are fast becoming better educated than men and the major breadwinners in American homes). The political gender gap is huge. According to recent polls, women prefer Obama to Romney by over 20 percent.
So what is the GOP doing to woo women back? Attacking them. Last February, House Republicans voted to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood. Last May, they unanimously passed the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act," banning the District of Columbia from funding abortions for low-income women. (The original version removed all exceptions -- rape, incest, and endangerment to a mother's life -- except "forcible" rape.)
Earlier this year Republican legislators in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Idaho, and Alabama pushed bills requiring women seeking abortions to undergo invasive vaginal ultrasound tests (Pennsylvania Republicans even wanted proof such had viewed the images).
Republican legislators in Georgia and Arizona passed bills banning most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The Georgia bill would also require that any abortion after 20 weeks be done in a way to bring the fetus out alive. Republican legislators in Texas have voted to eliminate funding for any women's healthcare clinic with an affiliation to an abortion provider -- even if the affiliation is merely a shared name, employee, or board member.
All told, over 400 Republican bills are pending in state legislatures, attacking womens' reproductive rights.
But even this doesn't seem enough for the GOP. Republicans in Wisconsin just repealed a law designed to prevent employers from discriminating against women.
Or, finally, consider students -- a significant and growing electoral force, who voted overwhelmingly for Obama in 2008. What are Republicans doing to woo them back? Attack them, of course.
Republican Budget Chair Paul Ryan's budget plan -- approved by almost every House Republican and enthusiastically endorsed by Mitt Romney -- allows rates on student loans to double on July 1 -- from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. That will add an average of $1,000 a year to student debt loads, which already exceed credit-card debt.
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