Comments are back!
I strongly suggest that you read this fine piece by Jonathan Chait in New York Magazine in which he tries to explain why the Republicans are doing what they are doing -- and the likely long term implications of the disastrous demographic bets that they continue to make. It is as good a description that I have yet read of a phenomenon that I have discussed frequently over the last couple of years. I am a huge believer in group identities as a key in politics and tend to think that voting behavior is often best described in these terms. (James Fallows weighs in in a similar vein.)
Thus, I find suggestions that eventually Hispanics will vote "white" and be amenable to the GOP's message to be far too flexible in their sense of how deep voting behavior is embedded in the collective psyche of peoples. The generation of young Hispanic voters coming of age now -- and those who will hopefully be the beneficiaries of a Democratic backed immigration reform plan in the near future -- is experiencing the Republican Party as a force for intolerance and hatred. This is not some fine policy dispute or quibble over legislative tactics -- it is a gut level assault on an ethnic group that I am confident is being experienced as such. People whose political identity is forged in this particular crucible are not easily going to find their way to being Republican voters in the future. (Some right wingers take hope in the idea that an enlarged Hispanic voting bloc is going to result in more whites voting Republican -- that is possible, but I tend to think that younger whites are also being pushed away from the Republican Party to some degree -- certainly along the coasts and in the northeast and northwest -- especially by things like the Blunt Amendment, the Santorum campaign, and the grotesque homophobia of the GOP.)
These kind of large scale political battles or cultural occurrences -- from the Civil War to the Great Depression to the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights struggle -- disrupt and then solidify political identity often for a period of generations. (Look at Southern whites and their peculiar form of Democratic party allegiance that lasted a century following the Civil War. Civil War allegiances were also probably the single most important aspect of northern national politics too up until the Great Depression. Democratic presidential candidates were virtually shut out in the northern states in many of the elections between 1868 and 1932, winning the presidency only when a New Yorker was at the top of the ticket in 1884 and 1892, when the GOP split in the 1912 election, and when Woodrow Wilson squeaked to reelection in 1916 by carrying Ohio by 90,000 votes.)
Right now the Republican strategy appears to be to use voter suppression and maximalist legislative tactics like Indiana's right to work law and the Wisconsin anti-collective bargaining law to cling to power and destroy their opponents before the day of reckoning comes.
I am pleased to say that I don't think their tactics will work, although the battle will be brutal.
So now, finally, please weigh in here and in the other threads if you so wish.