California’s dying GOP

By alienating Latinos it’s committing slow political suicide

It took some doing for Republican Steve Cooley, the thrice-elected district attorney of Los Angeles County, to lose to Democrat Kamala Harris in the race for state attorney general. After all, he had high name recognition in the most populous area of the state and was running against an African-American woman from San Francisco who is opposed to the death penalty.

He didn’t help his cause any when he told a reporter he intended to “double dip” by taking his district-attorney pension along with his “very low, incredibly low” AG salary of $150,000. To the millions of Californians slogging through the recession on much less than $150,000, his comment seemed hopelessly out of touch.

Cooley also lost because Latinos voted Democratic, largely in response to immigrant-bashing in the GOP primary. They are a large reason why the Republican Party has become toxic in California and failed to win a single statewide office this year, despite its dominance in the rest of the country.

Now here come Northern California Congressmen Dan Lungren, of Gold River, and Tom McCintock, of Elk Grove, two far-right Republicans doing all they can to alienate Latino voters further. They want to repeal the 14th Amendment to the Constitution to deny citizenship to the American-born children of illegal immigrants.

As the law now stands, any child born in this country is a citizen, even if the parents are here illegally. Whether that’s a good thing is debatable, of course. But Latino voters are certain to see Lungren and McClintock’s effort as yet another in a long line of Republican assaults on them and their legitimacy. If the GOP in California wants to commit political suicide, that’s a good way to do it.