Michael Gerson wrote an insightful op-ed in the Washington Post. He talks about the future of the Republican Party if they continue to choose to ignore the extremists when it comes to immigration and reform. Although Senator Martinez has yet to publicize WHY he left the Republican Party, it is not too far fetched to believe it may be the hateful extreme rhetoric espoused by many on the extreme right about Latinos.
Mel Martinez’s recent resignation from the U.S. Senate was for personal and family reasons. But the departure of the Republican Party’s most visible Hispanic leader crackles with political symbolism.
Conservative shock radio, on its frightening fringes, can be overtly racist, referring to Mexican immigrants as “leeches,” “the world’s lowest primitives” and diseased carriers of the “fajita flu” who may “wipe their behinds with their hands.” Pat Buchanan sells books with this title: “State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America.”
As Martinez points out, many Republicans who oppose his pro-immigration views are not divisive or inflammatory. But other, angry voices crowd them out. As a result, Republican support among Latinos is collapsing. In Martinez’s home state of Florida, for example, 56 percent of Hispanic voters cast ballots for George W. Bush in 2004. Four years later, 57 percent voted for Barack Obama.
This country needs a robust Republican Party, but if they continue to pander to the extremists on every issue, it will be some time before healthy productive debate returns.