Republicans in California have for decades been wrestling with the need to appeal to the growing Latino demographic and the issue continued to dominate the party’s convention in Anaheim over the weekend. With the Republican presidential primaries being dominated by heated rhetoric over the issue of US immigration, a committee of delegates at the semi-annual California Republican Party convention voted on Saturday to try to soften the tone of the language, despite objections from a number of conservatives.
Fresno Latino party official Marcelino Valdez proposed the changes, calling the language used by the likes of Donald Trump “offensive”. “Change is hard,” Valdez admits. “This is something we have to do in order to be competitive in California.”
A number of delegates were opposed to the amendment, including former state party vice-chairman and conservative blogger Jon Fleischman, who described the move as sending out “a welcome card to millions of people around the world.” While Fleischman admits that it may be a good idea to tone down some of the rhetoric around the issue, this is difficult to do without losing the party’s belief in the strong enforcement of current immigration laws. “How do you sugarcoat the view that ‘I believe you’re a criminal and you should leave’?” he asked.
The Latino population in the state continues to grow, while the Republican Party has shrunk considerably. There are now nearly as many registered voters who do not have a party preference as registered Republicans in California.