HOLLY BOW, OHIO — Kevin Bryan is a Republican consultant working for the national party out of one of its local offices in Ohio. The GOP is putting a major emphasis on winning the state, which one of the candidates — John Kasich — is the governor of. Bryan has been analyzing the rhetoric used by the 14 remaining Republican candidates in the debates and on the campaign trail, and at the behest of RNC chairman Reince Priebus, he compared what they were saying to the message that the GOP needs to convey to fire up its base to vote for them next year.
“What I’ve found,” Bryan said, “leaves me not sure anyone is really whipping up the anti-Mexican hatred enough.” Bryan said that when he speaks to baseline Republican voters in red states he is told that “none of the people up there” are talking about “the silent Mexican invasion from the South,” as he calls it. “The more PC liberal types will call it immigration reform,” Bryan said, “but Republican voters see it for what it is — a takeover of our country.”
Bryan said that when he was out speaking with actual Republican voters last month, many asked him”why none of our candidates can be like Rep. Steve King.” Bryan said that while billionaire Donald Trump “got out in front of the xenophobia train” with his references to “rapists, murderers and drug dealers,” but perhaps that wasn’t enough. He said that many people he spoke to saw that “King’s out there on the front lines writing laws that essentially make political protest illegal in the name of immigration reform,” and according to him, a lot of Republicans find that to be a very palatable way to “conceal [their] innate racism.”
“You know, the problem is that every minute they’re talking about abortion, rape being semi-okay in some circumstances, or the uppity-ness of the gays,” Bryan said, “that’s a minute they’re not spending fear mongering about dirty, disease ridden immigrants draining our social safety net via the welfare state. That’s a pretty big risk to take, since fearing undocumented immigrants and their impact on our society is a hallmark of Republican voter psyches these days”
Mr. Bryan made sure to also mention that with almost exactly a year left before the election, there’s still time for some candidate to “really hit the immigrant thing hard.” According to him, many of the candidates simply need to ratchet-up their rhetoric to include what he calls “a few more silent cues” to voters that indicate which candidates are the most xenophobic. “You know,” Bryan said, “little things like mentioning that immigrants live in the poorest areas and then bringing up crime among the poverty stricken in the next sentence. That lets you make a subtle connection between immigrants and crime without outright calling every Mexican a criminal. That’s the kind of rhetoric you save for debates.”
“Ultimately, someone has to take that risk to come out and swing for the fences on the anti-immigrant talk,” Bryan said, adding, “yeah, sure, you’re probably going to lose the Latino and Hispanic votes, and sure you’re going to go down in history with a long line of American politicians willing to trade racism for votes, but if you want to be a perennial candidate with an unlimited amount of donations pouring in for the rest of your natural life, you’ve got to play to the base first, and worry about the general election second. Because it’s not like as a Republican in 2015 you should feel like you really have that great a chance to win the whole thing anyway, right? Right.”