Ann Coulter is either dopey or a Democrat masquerading as a conservative to kill the Republican Party. I don’t care that she is a relentless self-promoter or a provocateur or even a cottage industry churning controversy because it takes one to know one; and I’ve known/loved/hated/booked/boycotted her on and off since first putting her on television fifteen years ago.
But what she has done with her recent wildly inaccurate, insulting and inflammatory column about Hispanic immigrants in America is ensure that if her position is widely attributed to or reflects significantly GOP misperceptions about Latinos, there will never be another Republican president.
Before I get to her “America Nears El Tipping Pointo” column that generated more Latino American ire and ink than the antics of Chávez, Castro, JLo or Alex Rodriquez, let me give you some números, beginning with the wake-up call, Obama 71 percent; Romney 28 percent.
Twelve point five million self-described Latinos voted in the 2012 elections. The polling organization Latino Decisions estimated that the group gave Obama a net gain of 5.4 percent of all popular votes. Since Obama won the overall popular vote by about 2.8 percent, Latino voters were decisive.
"For the first time in history, the share of the national popular vote margin is smaller than the Latino vote margin," said New Jersey Democrat Senator Bob Menendez confirming that Barack Obama is the first Latino-elected president.
Flash forward 20 years and assume that the still expanding Latino population votes at the same rate as black and white Americans do today. According to the highly regarded Pew Hispanic survey, “that would mean twice as many Latino voters could be casting ballots in 2032 as did in 2012.”
Thus 25 million Latinos will be voting in 2032; 25 million times Obama’s 71 percent equals 17.75 million for the future Democrat (Chelsea Clinton or Malia Obama?); 25 million times Romney’s 28 percent equals 7 million for the future Republican (Craig Romney or George P. Bush?)
17.5 million votes minus 7 million votes equals a net Latino vote margin for the 2032 Democratic candidate of 10,750,000; an insurmountable margin.
My argument has been that the GOP must change its noxious and insulting rhetoric toward undocumented immigrants and by extension the larger Latino community if it hopes to survive in the Brave New American Demographics of the 21st Century.
Conversely, Ann’s mocking “El Tipping Pointo” column essentially argues, "why bother trying to moderate tone and policy since Hispanics will always be Democrats anyway?" And insofar as the majority American impression of Latino immigrants as hard-working folk with family values, the bold blonde states baldly, “Maybe at first, but not after coming here, having illegitimate children and going on welfare.”
Wednesday, one of the GOP’s most significant Latino outreach groups, Cafe Con Leche Republicans, demanded an apology. "Hatred of minorities and immigrants is not a conservative value," their letter stated. "If Abe Lincoln or Ronald Reagan could read your latest column, they would turn over in their graves. You obviously know nothing about the Latino vote, and your repeated and shrill rhetoric against Latinos are a major reason that so many conservative Latinos hold their nose and vote Democrat."
Latino voters are not automatic Democrats. Former Texas governor and 43rd president of the United States George W. Bush won over 40 percent of the Latino vote in 2004 compared to Romney’s 28 percent. Assuming he adopts his uncle’s enlightened attitude on cross-border life, Spanish-speaking George P. Bush, whose mom is Latina, could do even better in 2032.
Similarly, Ann’s slander about “going on welfare” is belied by the facts. As a Wall Street Journal editorial said after the 2012 vote, “Illegal aliens aren’t eligible for Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and other federal entitlements. But even those low-income immigrants who are eligible for public assistance sign up at lower rates than their native counterparts.”
The Journal editorial added, “Over the past decade, the states experiencing the fastest immigrant population growth have not been traditional gateways like New York and California. Latino newcomers have been flocking to Arkansas, Tennessee, Utah, Alabama, Mississippi, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska and the Carolinas—states that are among the stingiest for public benefits.”
And as the GOP devours the chances of its young prospective candidates, the Journal says, “One irony is that Republicans obsessed with illegal immigration haven’t noticed that the problem is going away, thanks in part to a more secure border but mostly due to slower economic growth.”
The worse part about Ann’s glib insults is how she dishonors the struggles and sacrifices of people who risked everything to come here to work in kitchens, fields, sweat shops, poultry processing or meat packing jobs that citizens have shunned for decades. There are slices of America where scarcely a baby is cared for, a dish washed or a lawn mowed but by a hard-working, religious and otherwise law-abiding undocumented Latino immigrant striver. I understand saying things for effect, but not slander.
Geraldo Rivera is currently host of "Geraldo at Large" on Fox News Channel (FNC), which is also nationally syndicated by Twentieth Television. Rivera recently celebrated 40 years in journalism.