When Republicans appointed Pablo Pantoja to State Director of Florida Hispanic Outreach for the Republican National Committee, they hoped he would be able to bridge the sizable gap that only expanded during the 2012 elections, when the state’s 4.7 million Hispanic voters supported Barack Obama over Mitt Romney by a 20 percent margin.

But after months of inaction by Congressional Republicans on comprehensive immigration reform and stiff resistance by Republican-leaning groups like the Heritage Foundation, Pantoja has had enough; on Monday, he announced via email that he was leaving the party and registering as a Democrat:

Friend,

Yes, I have changed my political affiliation to the Democratic Party.

It doesn’t take much to see the culture of intolerance surrounding the Republican Party today. I have wondered before about the seemingly harsh undertones about immigrants and others. Look no further; a well-known organization recently confirms the intolerance of that which seems different or strange to them.

Pantoja goes on to specifically cite last week’s revelation — that an author of Heritage’s false report on the cost of the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill wrote a dissertation in which he suggested that Hispanics are at a permanent disadvantage because they have lower IQs — as the final straw in his political evolution.

h/t: Adam Peck at Think Progress Justice

There’s always articles and essays and books about how badly African Americans and Hispanics are treated, even today. What about us, the Asian Americans? What about the Chinese Exclusion Acts? What about the assumption that all Asians are smart? What about all the Asian stereotypes that I’ve never encountered because I live in the Bay Area? But where are we in the textbooks? Where are we in the statistics? Nowhere. I want equality for the African American and Hispanic minorities. I want equality for Asian Americans too. Just because I look Asian doesn’t mean I don’t speak fluent English and don’t have trouble finding my identity. Do you see us? Do you really see us as people? Do you really see that we’re just as varied as other races? Look at us and tell us the truth. Do you?

Because it hurts when we’re only seen as smart, and not incredibly complex people like you. Because we’re people too.

Three Republicans who aren't helping the party's rebranding efforts
  • one Alaska Rep. Don Young, who landed himself in hot water yesterday for casually referring to the “wetbacks” his family used to employ. He’s since apologized—twice—calling it a “poor choice of words.”
  • two North Carolina Governor Pat McCroy, who today, without warning or explanation, closed the state’s Office of Hispanic/Latino Affairs, prompting an angry response from the local Latin American Coalition.
  • three Todd Kincannon, former executive director of the South Carolina GOP, who earlier this week told veteran Mike Prysner—now an anti-war activist—that he “should have come home in a body bag” and expressed his hopes that “the enemy splatters his brain JFK-style.”

To the national party’s credit, Young’s remarks were roundly denounced by Republican leaders, and Kincannon has basically been disowned by the state GOP. But every story like this reaffirms the exact stereotypes the party is working so hard to combat right now, and until the party can get its members under control, even a superficial rebranding is likely to be unsuccessful. The larger issue, though, is whether the Republicans’ electoral base actually wants it to change. The early evidence isn’t very promising. source

Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly has been making the media rounds recently to encourage the GOP to drop any attempts to reach out to Latino voters – especially through bipartisan immigration policy – and instead to focus exclusively on riling up and turning out white voters.

Speaking with a Bakersfield, California, talk radio host last week, Schlafly further explained this view, claiming that Latinos don’t “have any Republican inclinations at all” because “they’re running an illegitimacy rate that’s just about the same as the blacks are.”

She added that Latinos “come from a country where they have no experience with limited government. And the types of rights we have in the Bill of Rights, they don’t understand that at all, you can’t even talk to them about what the Republican principle is.”

h/t: RWW

Report: Hispanics disproportionately affected by voter ID law changes
  • 10M the number of Hispanic U.S. citizens the civil rights group Advancement Project believes have been disenfranchised due to new laws which could prevent Latinos from registering and voting. The laws include strong restrictions for photo identification for voters, as well as laws that require proof of U.S. citizenship. source
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