Could the newly elected Pope Francis be a gift from god to the GOP when it comes to the next presidential election? I know it may sound blasphemous to even mention the 2016 election – ehm ehm, excuse me what I meant to say was – even mention the head of the Catholic church and possible political influence barely a day after Francis’s coming out to the press, but hey, someone has to do it. (please G*d – forgive me!)
If there is one thing we have learned through the past two election cycles is that this country is as divided as ever, and winning a presidential election is all about voter blocks and independents. Now because President Obama won both elections, obviously those on the left will stay left. The big issue on the national roundtable – what will be the direction of the Republican Party?
The left leaning media and liberal Obama supporters would have you believe that it’s time for Republicans to throw down the white flag, hang their heads in shame and start shuffling over to the ‘right’, I mean ‘left’ way of running the country. And I do believe that days and even weeks after the battleground results continued to roll in with Obama as the victor, many of the tired-of-losing GOP establishment didn’t know what else to do but sing Yankee Doodle Dandy in defeat.
Ironically, it is the new generation of fired up Republicans that have put the brakes on the pity party of defeat and insecurity, including a roster of Latino newcomers who are not only identifying with the Republican message of smaller government and less taxes, but winning seats in their districts and states, from the local to national level. The message at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) was clear: We must not abandon the GOP values and beliefs to win elections, instead change how our message is delivered.
In walks the 15% Hispanic vote, a big part of the reason Mitt Romney lost the election and the same reason I say, Republicans have a shot at winning 2016, especially with Pope Francis at the helm. Most Latinos identify themselves as Catholic, historically a more conservative voting block. And the Latino vote is expected to grow by another 5% in the next four years. According to Pew, in 2012 a record number of Hispanics – 23.4 million – were eligible to vote, up from 19.5 million in 2008.
What the Democrats may not realize is that Pope Francis will inevitably be one of the delivery systems of that message. His history proves that digging your heels in and not compromising on your faith and beliefs is the way to go, even if it is unpopular with half the population. Pope Francis is not about to back down from a fight with liberals from any country or person, including the all powerful Obama.
Up until now Democrats have had the hold on Hispanics, but liberals hold on – that’s about to change. Poll after poll shows Latinos vote predominantly Democratic because of one reason – immigration. And yes, there are some challenges ahead, Republicans must figure out how to reform immigration in a way that will satisfy both the base and Latinos. But once immigration reform takes root, Latinos will start to look beyond entitlement programs, and realize that government handouts may be good short term, but long term they keep you poor.
In contrast the Republican message is about creating a self sufficient pathway to the middle class. Add in the fact the that most Latino voters are under the age of 40, you have a new voting block of first generation Latinos looking to move away from the fiscally depleted life their parents have led, all while retaining their Catholic roots. Ironically, although 2012 election polls said 39% of Latinos voted to support Democrats, almost the same amount said they voted to support other Latinos. Come 2030, the Hispanic voting block will be 40 million and account for 40 percent of the growth in the electorate.
So who do you think will win out in the end….I say pope takes it 3 to 1. And that may be all the GOP needs to sweep the 2016 ticket, especially if we infuse some of these fresh faced Latino Republicans, like U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, who are just scratching at the starting gate, waiting to be let loose and leave the old Republican guard in the dust.
Other rising Hispanic Republican stars: Governors Susana Martinez of New Mexico, the nation’s first Latina governor and Brian Sandoval of Nevada, as well as freshman Senator Ted Cruz of Texas (Dianne Feinstein’s favorite.)