Another Brick in the Wall: The End of Black and Latino Republicanism

Remember Marco Gutierrez, the right-wing hack who hitched his sorry star to Donald Trump last year? Gutierrez gained infamy when he told MSNBC’s Joy Reid:

My culture is a very dominant culture. It is imposing and it’s causing problems. If you don’t do something about it, you’re going to have taco trucks on every corner.

What the truck? We don’t hear much from Marco anymore, nor do we hear much about the right-wing efforts to lure Latinos into the Republican Party: Donald Trump’s antics have effectively killed that project dead. Good.

It wasn’t that long ago when right-wing operatives were promoting the dubious idea that African-Americans and Latinos were “natural conservatives” who were “trapped” inside the Democratic Party. It would only require some effort to get them voting the right way, these operatives insisted, as they rewrote history in an effort to achieve their goal (remember the old “Martin Luther King Jr. was a Republican” BS?).

One can debate when this bizarre project unofficially ended: the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the right-wing revolt against immigration reform in 2007, and the right-wing media infrastructure’s embrace of George Zimmerman as a folk hero for taking Trayvon Martin’s life in 2012 are all sound choices for the de facto end of this weird operation. Of course, the official end of the GOP’s attempt to attract the support of anyone besides rural whites and billionaires was November 8, 2016.

In light of this reality, Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX)–an African-American Republican who represents a heavily Latino district–is a man without a real political home:

The vast, volatile 23rd Congressional District of Texas is bigger in area than 29 states. It stretches from San Antonio to El Paso and includes about one-third of the entire U.S.-Mexico border.

Its overwhelmingly Latino electorate last year went for Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential race. But it also reelected a Republican to the U.S. House — one of fewer than two dozen in the country to split that way.

Rep. Will Hurd narrowly won a second term in what turned out to be the most expensive House race in Texas history. Democrats have put Hurd’s seat in their top five targets in 2018. He will also be running to beat the fickle tendencies of a district that has ousted four different incumbents since 2006.

Chief among the issues where Hurd is at odds with Donald Trump is on the president’s signature campaign promise — the construction of a border wall, which would cover 820 miles in the 23rd District, much of it on private property…

In interviews with several dozen of Hurd’s constituents, not one expressed the opinion that building a wall is the best way to control problems on the border…

His survival strategy is a model for an endangered Republican delicately navigating the cross-currents of the Trump era. Its success will hinge in large part on whether the election becomes a referendum on the president, or on the identity Hurd has carved out for himself.

If Hurd had any self-respect, he would resign rather than continue to be a political acrobat, stretching and bending to satisfy both a Latino electorate under siege by his party and fellow Republicans who are probably muttering nasty slurs behind his back. Doesn’t this guy realize it’s not worth it?

One wonders about the sanity of any African-American or Latino Republican who remains aligned with the Party of Trump. Unless they happen to be hardcore anti-Roe v. Wade types thrilled that Neil Gorsuch has been shoved onto the Supreme Court, what, exactly, are they getting out of the deal? As Arsenio Hall used to say, it’s just one of those things that make you go, “Hmmm…”

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.