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Republicans May Have Diversity "Thrust Upon 'Em". By Roger Algase

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This is written on Monday morning, September 30, when America is less than 15 hours away from a totally unnecessary and destructive government shutdown which, among many other things, could extinguish whatever hope still remains for passage of comprehensive immigration reform this year or in the near future. As I pointed out in my September 29 companion post, both the obstacles to passage of CIR and the danger of a government shutdown over health care reform are rooted in a larger assault that the radical right wing of a bitterly divided Republican party is carrying out against non-white minorities, as well as lower income people of every ethnicity and citizenship.

This in turn is a direct effect of the fact that today's Republican party, especially its powerful, well-financed, extremist Tea Party wing, is dominated by a base of older, more affluent white men, especially in the South. But the GOP's days as a party controlled by rich white men may be numbered. The Republican party, willingly or not, could be on the verge of a major demographic change.

In Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, Malvolio says:

"Some are born great; some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em."

One could say the same thing about political parties and diversity. The Democrats may not have been born diverse, but they have certainly achieved diversity. In contrast, the Republicans may be about to have diversity "thrust upon 'em."

At least this is the theme of a September 29 Politico Article: House GOP aiming for diversity. The article reports that the Republicans are now actively trying to recruit minority, female and openly gay Congressional candidates to run next year, and that they already have at least 10 such people who are credible candidates. More are expected.

This alone will not be enough to assure that the GOP will be able to appeal to minorities, as the article also reports. The GOP will also need to change its opposition to equal pay for women, immigration reform, and the Voting Rights Act, if it expects to gains minority votes. But at least this is a beginning.

In another development, Politico reports on September 30 in its article Justice Department to challenge North Carolina voter ID law that the Justice Department is about to file suit against North Carolina's new voter suppression law, arguably the strictest and most openly discriminatory in the nation.

The DOJ will argue that the entire state should be subject to pre-clearance of changes in election laws under a rarely used "bail-in" provision in the Voting Rights Act which the Supreme Court left intact in its decision last year overturning another more widely used pre-clearance procedure.

There is still a long way to go before the Republican party becomes the party of all the people, not just of privileged white men. But signs of change are in the air and the handwriting is on the wall. The time when GOP right wing radicals, led by influential lobbying organizations such as Jim DeMint's Heritage Action and headline-grabbing demagogues such as Senator Ted Cuz (R-Texas) have enough power to gut immigration reform and close down the government may not last much longer.

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Updated 10-01-2013 at 06:05 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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