Age doesn’t seem to be slowing down conservative firebrand Phyllis Schlafly.
At 88 years old, she has stature enough to challenge the conventional wisdom among Republicans in terms that might sound a little salty coming from RNC Chair Reince Priebus. In an interview this week with the conservative radio program Focus Today, Schlafly bucked Republican Party’s post-mortem report indicating the GOP’s need to court more Latinos.
“I think that’s a great myth because the Hispanics who come in like this are going to vote Democrat,” Schlafly said in the radio interview. “And there is not the slightest bit of evidence they are going to vote Republican. And the people the Republicans should reach out to are the white votes—the white voters who didn’t vote in the last election.”
Of course, Republicans already have a strong record of winning the support of white voters. In fact, white voters were pretty much the only voters who supported the Republican presidential candidate last year. A post-election analysis of exit polling showed that almost nine out of 10 Romney voters were white. A few weeks after the election, moreover, Romney’s campaign strategists published further evidence attesting to strong Republican support among white women and whites younger than thirty years of age.
For her part, Schlafly remains defiant in the faces of those who point out that Romney lost the election anyway. In that same interview, she blamed President Obama’s re-election on the GOP establishment which has produced, in her words, a “series of losers.” (Anti-establishment arguments have been a Schlafly specialty since at least 1964, with the publication of “A Choice Not an Echo,” her plea for Republicans to choose Barry Goldwater over Nelson Rockefeller in that year’s presidential primary.)
Schlafly spoke for the future of her party at one time, but does she still do so today?
As a matter of fact, some of the GOP’s leading officeholders share Schlafly’s skepticism regarding the need to win over more non-white voters. Rep. Steve King of Iowa, for example, led a press conference outside the Capitol on May 14 in which he gently mocked the pollsters’ analysis:
They didn’t have any data to work with. They just said that Republicans lost, that Mitt Romney would be the president-elect on that morning if he just hadn’t said two words: self-deport. Is it really that sensitive an issue out here?
More recently, Rep. King has drawn notice from fact-checkers regarding his claim that the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act provided enough Latinos to re-elect President Obama. (PolitiFact has ruled this claim to be “false.”) You can hear more of what Rep. King has to say, including his explanation for why Republicans are called “racist,” right here: