Recruiting Minorities With Barbed Wire and Ice Cream
You really don’t need a crystal ball to get a good look into the Republican future; all you need to do is to observe what just happened in Florida.
Heard of a guy named Pablo Pantoja? He was the guy the Florida Republicans hired to do their minority outreach thing down there in the Sunshine State, meaning it was his job to convince as many Florida Latino voters as possible that the Republican Party was a place they could call home. Open arms were waiting, he said, come on over to the Dark Side and feel the love.
That probably wasn’t exactly the way he phrased it when trying out his pitch to his fellow Latinos, but the point is that this is the guy in the GOP whose job it was to convince Latinos in Florida to come on board. That is, until he decided he couldn’t take it anymore and jumped ship to join up with the Democrats. Something about a culture of racial intolerance in the Republican Party?
How strange, his accusations don’t sound at all like the Republican Party of today. The part that spills over with love for black and brown folk. But this, apparently, was not Pantoja’s experience.
The discourse that moves the Republican Party is filled with this anti-immigrant movement and overall radicalization that is far removed from reality. Another quick example beyond the immigration debate happened during CPAC this year when a supporter shouted ‘For giving him shelter and food for all those years?’ while a moderator explained how Frederick Douglass had written a letter to his slave master saying that he forgave him for ‘all the things you did to me.’ I think you get the idea.”
What Pantoja realized, of course, is that this particular “discourse that moves the Republican party” made it just a wee bit difficult for him to do his job as chief Latino Cheerleader for the Florida GOP. Because, after all, how was he supposed to explain to his fellow Latinos how much the Republicans really did love them and want them when … well … you know. So, of course, naturally, the question now becomes what is the next move for Republicans in Florida? Do they take this time to reflect and self-examine? Perhaps scuttle their antiquated racial attitudes into the shop for a little fine tuning?
Or do they just shrug it off and go find themselves another brown guy with a funny name and shove him in front of the bus?