Nativist Rhetoric Not the Way to Broaden Support in Diversifying America

Communications Associate

June 7, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Many Republicans understand that racist remarks, especially those saying an Indiana-born U.S. District Court judge of Mexican descent is biased because of his heritage, are unacceptable behavior and politically disastrous.

Witness Republicans’ response to their presumptive nominee’s comments about Judge Gonzalo Curiel.

“I disavow these comments; I regret those comments that he made,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said today. “Claiming a person can’t do the job because of their race is sort of like the textbook definition of a racist comment. I think that should be absolutely disavowed. It’s absolutely unacceptable.”

“The fact that the judge has a Mexican American heritage has nothing to do with how you should describe his judicial ability. The guy was born in Indiana. He’s as American as I am,” said Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, as quoted in the Washington Post. “Even if he were an immigrant, I would feel the same way about it, but he’s an American. It’s wrong to make an issue of ethnicity or heritage.”

Ryan and Portman aren’t alone. In California, where voters are heading to the polls for today’s primary, Proposition 187 continues to offer a warning. The measure, later struck down in court, would have denied services to undocumented immigrants and required that such people be reported to immigration authorities.

While the legislation didn’t stand, its consequences for California Republicans were immense and long-term.

“If nothing else, Proposition 187’s effects in California should act as a political warning to Donald Trump and the minority who support or overlook his inexcusable language,” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum. “Changing demographics are an irrefutable reality of our country today. I’m glad to see that instead of resisting or denying it, some conservatives are recognizing the alternative.

“While Trump seems dead-set on standing by his nativist rhetoric, many Republicans get it: This isn’t how you win or broaden your support in a diversifying America.