Will tea party produce GOP diversity?

Posted by John Kanelis on

Look at most Republican Party campaign events and take note of the audiences cheering the candidates.

What do those folks have in common? To be absolutely blunt, they're overwhelmingly Anglo. Hugely so, in fact.

The Republican Party's major task as the 2014 mid-term elections approach -- and beyond that -- is to find ways to diversity its appeal.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, has found some common ground with the League of United Latin American Citizens. It deals with education and Cornyn is trying to parlay that commonality into an outreach into a community that has favored Democrats.

The Texas Tribune reports in a story posted on PanhandlePBS.org's website that Cornyn is reaching out in a fairly unprecedented way to Texas Latinos.


“It’s very unusual,” LULAC Central Texas District Director Gavino Fernandez Jr. said of the partnership. Typically, Republicans “don’t reach out," he said. "They stay away from our community.”

That's changing, the Tribune reports, partly because of the tea party's strength in Texas.

The Tribune reports further: "The Cornyn campaign is among the Republican groups in Texas actively seeking to reach diverse communities that haven’t been traditional Republican supporters. Cornyn's team says its approach is different because it’s using Tea Party-style strategies to connect with Texans at community and neighborhood gatherings. The idea is to build relationships that will eventually lead to votes. But for now, it's about earning respect and credibility, the campaign says."

Cornyn faces Democratic nominee and businessman David Alameel in the election this fall. Alameel's campaign calls the Cornyn strategy "window dressing."

Whether it's strictly cosmetic or contains actual substance, Cornyn and the Republicans are hoping it pays off. Barack Obama won 75 percent of the Latino vote in 2012. Democrats continue to outpoll Republicans among ethnic and racial minorities. If the tea party has a formula Republicans believe can work for them, Cornyn says he's willing to give it a shot.

We'll learn the success or failure of that effort when the ballots are counted in November.

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