It is the state that produced one of the figures most revered by Republicans.
But California, the home of former President Ronald Reagan, is emerging as a cautionary tale for Republicans about what can happen if they don’t pay more attention to minority voters, according to Politico.com.
The website notes that Democrats dominate the state’s politics, holding every statewide office and boasting a majority in the state Legislature.
“It’s a situation top players in the state party say is the direct result of missing the demographic tidal wave before it hit — a lesson the national party should remember as they debate immigration reform,” Politico said.
California Republicans, the story said, need Hispanic voter support if they are to stay viable much longer.
Unlike some Republicans in Congress whose districts lack a significant Latino presence, many Republican lawmakers in California have districts that are at least a quarter Latino.
“While some Republicans in Washington might argue there’s no need to tackle immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship, California Republicans believe they must — or face extinction,” Politico said.
“Republicans in California ignored demographic changes,” state Republican Party Chairman Jim Brulte said in an interview with Politico. “As a result, we’re a significant minority.”
Some California Republicans say that the national party must learn from what they are experiencing because it is the fate that could befall other states with growing Latino populations.
“Ultimately, it could doom the party 15, 20 years out,” Politico quoted Rob Stutzman, a former top hand to former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, as saying.
Stutzman, who is now one of the top Republican political advisers in the state, said it would be a mistake not to complete immigration reform.
“As decimated as the Republican Party has been in California, the opportunity here is to figure this out.”
The conservative website Breitbart.com took exception to the notion, however, that not addressing such things as immigration reform and, specifically, a pathway to legal status, would spell doom for the GOP.
“That false message parrots the talking points being pushed by pro-amnesty unions and activists, who have taunted the GOP with slogans such as ‘Road to Extinction or Road to Citizenship’ at rallies this month,” said the Breitbart piece.
“The panic among California Republicans about the party's poor standing in the Hispanic community will not be resolved by federal immigration legislation," the piece said. “Competing for Hispanic votes in California requires selling conservative policies to new constituencies, and showing Hispanic voters how they can be part of a larger America rather than bit players in the Democrats' divisive interest-group game."