Ask any Republican consultant or member of the so-called “GOP establishment” what the party needs to do on immigration and you get a near-unanimous answer: Cut a deal and get it behind them so they can appeal to Latinos voters on other fronts.
They’re right from a purely political vantage point. Mitt Romney took just 27 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2012, a number that – thanks to the exponential growth of the Hispanic population in the country — could well relegate the GOP to minority status in national elections going forward.
Here’s the problem: The base of the Republican party — aka the people who play an outsized role in electing many of the GOP’s politicians — don’t see it that way. They balk at the idea of a path to citizenship for those who entered the country illegally and want a border fence built as soon as possible.
The increasing space between the GOP establishment and the party’s base on the immigration issue was apparent at a testy town hall with Arizona Sen. John McCain on Tuesday. For any Republican strategist hoping that immigration reform might be on the fast track, the clip below will be a painful reminder of the difficulty of its own party politics on the issue.