How not to Win Hispanic Votes

Speaking of that poll about Latinos and the GOP that Doug Mataconis noted earlier in the week comes the following tale from Kansas:

Rep. Connie O’Brien, a Tonganoxie Republican, was speaking in favor of rescinding the law [granting in-state tuition to children of illegal immigrants] when she recounted a story about a student she saw while enrolling her son at Kansas City Kansas Community College last year.

The female student was in line to pick up scholarship money but couldn’t provide a driver’s license or other government ID to the clerk, O’Brien recalled. Yet the woman said she had driven to the college that day.

“We could tell by looking at her that she was not originally from this country,” O’Brien said.

Another lawmaker asked O’Brien how she could tell the woman wasn’t a legal citizen.

O’Brien replied: “Well, she wasn’t black, she wasn’t Asian and she had the olive complexion.”

While it is wholly unfair to indict all Republicans with the comments of one local politician, these types of statements only serve to alienation Hispanics from the GOP.

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Franklin says:

    she had the olive complexion

    Black or green olive? Because a green person is DEFINITELY an alien.

  2. Herb says:

    Bad idea…..

    The end result of a more Hispanic Democratic party will not be a bunch of liberal Latinos running around, but a more conservative Democratic party. Why these race-baiters can’t see that, I don’t know…..

  3. MarkedMan says:

    It wasn’t really the olive complexion that gave her away. It was the pimento in her head….

  4. EddieInCA says:

    In my family, we have a Puerto Rican who married a Swede, another Puerto Rican who married a Korean, a Puerto Rican who married a Kenyan, and many Puerto Ricans who married good ol’ ‘muricans. Needless to say, a family gathering looks like an UN cocktail party.

    As somene else on a recent thread wrote: If there is racism involved, it’s more often than not a GOP Elected official.

  5. tom p says:

    What gets me is the assertion that ONLY hispanics illegally immigrate. No africans, no asians, no europeans, no arabs….

  6. superdestroyer says:

    Tom P,

    Mexican (not Hispanics) make up most of the illegal aliens. And those illegals from Europe or Asian do not have groups like La Raza or the Democratic Party promoting their illegal immigration and enabling their behavior.