The Republican party’s immigration problem in 2 minutes and 41 seconds

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.

John McCain is confronted by an attendee at a town hall meeting Tuesday. AP photo.

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.

Chris Cillizza writes “The Fix,” a politics blog for the Washington Post. He also covers the White House.
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Chris Cillizza · February 20, 2013