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El Mundo, Spain

The White Man’s Party

By Pablo Pardo

Women? What women? Minorities? What minorities?

Translated By Cydney Seigerman

29 November 2012

Edited by Tom Proctor

Spain - El Mundo - Original Article (Spanish)

Women? What women? Minorities? What minorities?

That has been the response from Republicans in the House of Representatives regarding their loss in the elections on Nov. 6. That party lost the presidency, saw their minority in the Senate shrink and also lost seats in the House of Representatives. But they did not lose the majority, precisely because a large portion of the electoral districts were changed to favor their candidates. (It’s a practice that has been used in the United States since the beginning of the 19th century and even has a name: gerrymandering.)

The key to the Republicans’ loss was the party’s scant backing in three demographic groups: women (particularly single women), blacks and Hispanics. In fact, the Latino community seems to have been the key to Barack Obama’s re-election, with the incumbent president also winning among Asian-Americans.

Thus, Republicans run the risk of becoming the party of the white man.

Yet, judging by the way in which they elected their leaders in the House of Representatives, Republicans have not realized this. Of the 19 presidents of committees in this legislative body, 19 are white men. The only woman who, until now, occupied this type of position, Florida congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, is leaving her post due to term limits. Her position is one of two that could still go to women.

All these positions are for Republicans, given that they control the House. Those with the most control over the organization of the House of Representatives are — obviously — men: John Boehner and Eric Cantor.

While these facts in themselves do not have political significance, they do hold symbolic meaning. Obama won 55 percent of the women’s vote against Romney’s 46 percent, 93 percent of the black vote and 73 percent of the Latino vote. Among other minorities Obama won 73 percent of the vote.

The president lost support among women and African-Americans compared to the 2008 elections. Despite this, his victory among Latinos was spectacular, to a large extent because of Republicans’ extreme opposition to any route that would allow illegal immigrants to legalize their situation.

Now it seems that the Republican Party wants to become closer to these groups, especially Latinos. But with the election of their leaders, the party is not demonstrating this in practice. It will have more difficulty if it wants to name a black representative as president of a committee, since only two representatives out of a total of 234 are African-American.



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