Romney Adviser: The GOP 'Frightened the American People'

The Republican Party must recognize the shifting demographics of the nation

Nov. 12, 2012— -- A growing number of people within the Republican Party are calling on party members to acknowledge that having the support of white men is no longer enough to win an election.

Carlos Gutiérrez, the former secretary of commerce and chair of the Trade Policy Advisory Group for Mitt Romney's campaign, told Jorge Ramos on Univision's Al Punto that in order to succeed, the Republican Party must recognize that "the essence of this country in the 21st century is diversity."

According to Gutiérrez, his party did not lose the election because of Mitt Romney the candidate, but because of flaws within the Republican Party, a group he said "frightened the American people."

"A party that requires that in order to nominate a candidate they have to say outrageous things and move to the extreme right, and later, to compete in the national election they have to move to the center; they're forcing the candidates to contradict themselves and they're scaring people," Gutiérrez said. "There has to be a new Republican party, and they must recognize that this nation has changed so much."

Henry Cisneros, the former secretary of Housing and Urban Development, told Ramos that infighting between right-wing Tea Party members and moderates such as Gutiérrez will ultimately determine the future of the party.

"They'll have to change because this election was about many things, but clearly one of them was a demographic shift," Cisneros said, adding that Hispanics will not be loyal to a party that supports an anti-immigrant position.

Much has been made of the power of Latinos in this election, not only to bolster the president in battleground states, but overall. Latinos made up a record 10 percent of the electorate, and people on both sides of the aisle noticed.

This is part of why conservative politicians and pundits, from Speaker of the House John Boehner to Fox News' Sean Hannity, have emphasized the need to focus on what some believe is the "gateway issue" to Latinos: immigration.

"The president will have to fulfill his promises, his commitment to immigration reform," Cisneros said. "That's important, and I believe it's possible because Republicans will not be able to be so openly opposed to the interests of Latinos given the results of this election."

Ramos noted that even Mitt Romney himself, and not just the party, promoted policies such as self-deportation and Arizona's immigration law that likely deterred Latinos from voting for the GOP. He also opposed the DREAM Act, which was widely backed by Latino voters.

Gutiérrez countered, saying, "We want reform, we want the Dream Act and one more thing we want to discuss with our party is the House bill about English being the official language of this country."

He called the English-language bill "obsolete" and said his party should be welcoming people who speak multiple languages.

According to Cisneros, the election once and for all demonstrates the power of Latino voters not just in key states such as Florida and Texas, which he says could swing Democratic if more Hispanics become citizens and vote, but in places such as Colorado and Nevada, even Oregon and North Carolina.

"We are a national force and we're going to have a long-term national impact in this country," he said. "This is a tremendous moment for Latinos."

Gutiérrez clearly agrees.

"I'm speaking as a member of the new Republican Party that we're going to build among everyone who is tired of defending obsolete policies," Gutiérrez said. "This is a great party, but if we don't change, it will disappear in 10 years."