Washington (CNN) -- When presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney appears before Latino small-business owners in Washington on Wednesday, he'll address a group whose explosive birth rates foreshadow a seismic political shift in GOP strongholds in the Deep South and Southwest.
"The Republicans' problem is their voters are white, aging and dying off," said David Bositis, a senior research associate at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, who studies minority political engagement.
"There will come a time when they suffer catastrophic losses with the realization of the population changes."
Remember, there was a time, in my lifetime so not too long ago, when Republicans were the liberal party and Democrats were the racist bigots. Had that dynamic not changed, a lot of us would be battling each other right now, defending which party actually was the more liberal.
Hard to believe, I know.
Diversity is a good thing. It generates new ideas and solutions. Look at the Republicans. Their entire platform can be summed up in four words: tax cuts for the rich. This is the same message they've run on since 1980 and on the whole it's been an epic failure, dramatically highlighted by the fact that when Democrats have managed to reverse some of those deep cuts and given them to the middle class, the economy has soared.
The problem with diversity is precisely what the DNC is facing right now. You have Blue Dog Dems and progressive Dems and DLC centrist Dems and the struggle for the soul of the party is going on right now. Our leadership, incluing President Obama but more in Congress (Pelosi and Reid) tout modestly progressive policies with the occasional nod towards populism, but they can't even get the flanks of their party to line up behind them.
It makes one long for the days of an LBJ or even Tip O'Neill, a day when the rank-and-file would join in on a vote.
Republicans have demonstrated that kind of party unity until very recently. The rise of the Teabaggers has seen that unity torn asunder under what amounts to loyalty oaths (Norquist's tax pledges) and threats to primary mavericks like Orrin Hatch and the recently deposed Richard Lugar.
Ironically, it is this demographic shift that makes these pledges and threats untenable. Sure, you might retain a Republican seat but if the electorate around him is shifting to a more Democratic-favorable population, then you lose the long-term battle that a moderate might win (I know, calling Hatch and Lugar "moderates" is a little like calling peanut butter "lubricating").
Even more ironically, these demographic shifts are occuring in the very states that have gone out of their way to make themselves a) insular and b) refuges for businesses.
That's right. It is the right-to-work states that have seen the largest influx of Latinos, meaning even more job pressure on the residents there. Those Latinos will work even cheaper than the poor white folks, so I expect to see "white-to-work" laws being rammed down the throats of the legislatures in those regions.
After all, look at what happened in Georgia and Alabama when anti-immigrant legislation was passed: crops practically withered and died until Hispanic groups and local farmers pushed back against the legislation.
Really. When the kindest thing your entire party can say about Hispanics is that they'll "self-deport" in the face of challenging economic times (Romney), you've jumped the shark on the entire demographic.
Latinos comprised the fastest-growing demographic in the south and are directly responsible for giving many if not most of the new Congressional seats apportioned to states like Texas and Georgia. Eventually, those groups will demand the political power that comes with this gift. Republicans have done yeoman work to make sure they won't be the party to benefit.
I said that diversity was a good thing, generally, and that means we really need a Republican party, too, but we need one that is vital and vibrant, generating ideas and solutions, not the same old failed mantras parrotted for decades.