The Susan B. Anthony List’s annual gala was a star-studded affair: Republican names from Rand Paul to Carly Fiorina took the stage to celebrate the latest victories for the pro-life movement and recommit to ending the tragedy of abortion. Perhaps the most important contribution, however, came from South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, who pointed out a path for social conservatives to radically expand their base.
Senator Graham, in answering why being pro-life is a winner in America, asked a poignant question: Who are the most pro-life group in America?
The answer, in this case, was Hispanics! Graham made another important point on this case: Hispanics agree with us more than any other group on social issues, and yet the vast majority of their votes (over 70 percent) went to Democrats in 2012.
By rights, conservatives should have an easy time courting Hispanics, especially at a time when more and more of them are turned off by Democrats’ extreme position on the issue (as noted by Marjorie Dannenfelser last night). So why have we failed to reach out to the people who are filling most of our churches? One word: immigration. Democrats have successfully convinced the Hispanic community that Republicans are against compassionate immigration reform, and Graham made the case that we need to fight this perception to stay competitive.
In order to win in 2016, Republicans will need to earn at least 40 percent of the Hispanic vote. Lindsey Graham understands this, and there’s evidence that most other presidential hopefuls have lined up behind a path to legal status. Graham’s performance last night was an impressive step toward reconciling Hispanics with the pro-life movement. With luck, Republicans will be able to mend the rift in time to win the White House.
Alfonso Aguilar is the executive director of American Principles in Action’s Latino Partnership.