The Titanic was promoted as "unsinkable." It was touted as a symbol of technological and industrial might. Until it crashed into a giant ice cube with catastrophic consequences. Which reminds me of today's Republican Party.
As the recent spate of Republican primaries has shown, the rift in the GOP between conservatives and right-wing extremists is a battle for the future — will the party be a center-right party, as it had been for most of the 20th century, or will its center of gravity shift sharply right into John Birch territory?
While Republicans battle each other, they are blind to the iceberg they're about to ram — with catastrophic consequences.
In spite of being warned of the existential danger they face if Latinos continue to vote by wide supermajorities for Democrats, Republicans insist on isolating themselves by serially blocking immigration reform, thereby provoking mass-scale anger among the fastest-growing voter group in America.
According to the Pew Research Center, approximately 50,000 American Latinos turn 18 years old each month. There are now about 23 million voting-eligible Hispanics in the country.
Arturo Vargas, executive director of the nonpartisan National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, recently told me on my show that if Latinos' voter participation continues to grow cycle after cycle, eventually reaching the level of non-Hispanic white and African-American voters, the Latino vote would be decisive in California, Texas, Florida, Illinois, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico.
In other words, Hispanics will be in the position to stop Republicans from being elected to statewide office (as has already happened in California) – or ever again reaching the White House.
Republicans, meet your iceberg.
And then there is the looming threat of former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump criticizes Justice for restoring McCabe's benefits Biden sends 'best wishes' to Clinton following hospitalization The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Altria - Jan. 6 panel flexes its muscle MORE. She has clearly spooked Republicans. Witness the Big Lie flowing out of Karl Rove: Clinton has brain damage. That is a very sad cry for help, certainly a confession of abject fear. How truly scared can Rove be if he goes for such a cheap smear tactic before Clinton even announces her candidacy?
Well, Mr. Rove, hold on to the handrails because it only gets worse.
Back in 2008, Clinton won the Hispanic vote in the Super Tuesday primaries by a two to one margin. In states like California, New York and New Jersey, she checked the Obama campaign.
In terms of support in 2016, polling shows that Clinton would carry the Latino vote even if Republicans nominate a Latino candidate like Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
Not only do Latinos like Clinton, but they are also motivated by the GOP's immigration reform blockade. That's a very powerful combination that is likely to influence not just the 2016 election, but 2020 and beyond.
Will the Republican Party, under this scenario — looking at the White House from outside the gates for 16-plus years — even survive as a viable national party? Will Republicans self-destruct like the Whigs they replaced in the 19th century?
The objective conditions of today's strife-ridden GOP and a rapidly changing electorate are clearly negative indicators for future success.
Some icebergs are just too big — they sink even "unsinkable" ships.
Espuelas, a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute, is a political analyst on television, radio and in print. He is the host and managing editor of “The Fernando Espuelas Show,” a daily political talk show syndicated nationally by the Univision America Network. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and via Twitter @EspuelasVox.