Overwhelming support at the polls by Hispanic Americans for President Barack Obama forced Republican leaders to reassess their appeal to Latino voters.
After a presidential election in which Latino voters rewarded President Barack Obama while punishing Republicans for their positions on immigration, Republican leaders and prominent conservatives have moved quickly to shift to new ground, saying they could support some kind of legislation to fix illegal immigration.
One of every 10 voters who cast ballots Tuesday was a Latino, and they favored Mr. Obama, with 71 percent of their votes, compared with 27 percent for Mitt Romney, forcing Republican leaders to wonder whether they could ever regain the presidency without increasing their appeal to Hispanic Americans.
The prospects for an immigration overhaul next year improved with stunning speed after the vote, with John A. Boehner, the speaker of the House, who had long resisted any broad immigration bill, saying Thursday that "a comprehensive approach is long overdue."
On Sunday, other leading Republicans said their party must be far more welcoming of Latinos.
A Romney adviser, Carlos Gutierrez, said he placed blame for the Republican candidate's loss "squarely on the far right wing of the Republican Party," partly because of policies and language that he said had "scared" Latino voters.
"If we want to be the party of growth and prosperity, we have to be the party of immigration," Mr. Gutierrez, who was a commerce secretary under President George W. Bush, said on CNN's "State of the Union." "We should be leading comprehensive immigration reform, we should be leading the Dream Act" to help law-abiding Latinos regularize their situation.
Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, the highest- ranking Republican woman in Congress, said on the same program that her party needed to do better at communicating its values to "every demographic group."
Referring to Latinos, she said: "They need to know that we care. They need to know that we are pro-immigration."
Mr. Obama wasted no time, renewing in his acceptance speech early Wednesday his promise to move "in the coming weeks and months" on "fixing our immigration system."
A host of advocates noted that the coalition of forces supporting a thorough repair of the immigration system, including the offer of legal status for more than 11 million illegal immigrants, was broader and more organized than ever before.
It includes Latino organizations, business and agricultural employers, libertarian conservatives, evangelical Christians, and law enforcement groups.
"Is the Republican disconnect with the Latino community temporary or permanent?" asked the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, the largest organization of Hispanic evangelicals. "The Republicans can redeem the narrative with this community by passing comprehensive immigration reform," Mr. Rodriguez said Thursday.
Republicans, in soul-searching mode after their loss, weighed the lessons from Mr. Romney's failed campaign. Looking at polls that showed immigration was not the top subject of concern for Latinos, Mr. Romney avoided the issue when he could and instead based his appeal to them on the economic themes he used with other voters.
Most Popular Stories
- SEO Traffic Lab Celebrate Wins at Digital Marketing Event 'Internet World 2013' in London
- Social Media Initiatives Should Follow Customers' Lead
- Apple CEO: Offshore Units Not a 'Tax Gimmick'
- U.S. Senate Accuses Apple of Large-scale Tax Avoidance
- UTEP Water Recycling Project Wins Venture Titles
- Marketo Makes a Mint in IPO: Stock Shoots Up More than 50 Percent
- Bieber Booed at Billboard Awards
- Crude Oil Up, Gasoline Down
- Austin Startup Compare Metrics Raises $3.5 Million for Expansion
- Why So Many Top 'Car Guys' Are Actually Women