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Graham: GOP ‘getting creamed with non-white voters’

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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) predicted Thursday Republicans will lose the 2016 presidential election without major immigration reform, saying the party is struggling to win minority voters.

“The only way we lose this election is if we beat ourselves and that is very possible, but we are getting creamed with non-white voters,” Graham, a likely 2016 presidential contender, told host Susan Page on USA Today’s “Capital Download.”

“We’ll lose,” he said, if the party doesn’t improve its prospects with minorities.

“I mean, we’ve got a big hole we’ve dug with Hispanics,” he added. “We’ve gone from 44 percent of the Hispanic vote [in the 2004 presidential election] to 27 percent [in 2012].

“You’ll never convince me … it’s not because of the immigration debate,” said Graham.

Graham said he was “98.6 percent sure” he would seek the Oval Office next year. If he does, the South Carolina lawmaker has made up his mind on immigration reform.

“If I were the president of the United States, I would veto any bill that did not have a pathway to citizenship,” Graham said.

“You would have a long, hard path to citizenship… but I want to create that path because I don’t like the idea of millions of people living in America for the rest of their lives being the hired help,” he added. “That’s not who we are.”

Graham also lashed out at Republicans who believe a secure border is necessary before tackling citizenship for illegal immigrants.

“That’s not practical,” Graham said of addressing the border before amnesty.

“No Democratic Congress is going to give the Republican Party everything we want on border security until you tell them what happens to the 11 million,” he added, referring to the estimated number of illegal immigrants.

The South Carolina lawmaker also took aim at Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), someone he’s sparred with over national security issues.

“He is one step behind leading from behind,” Graham said of the 2016 candidate, blasting Paul’s “libertarian” platform.

“At the end of the day, his world view has not stood the test of time and I think he’d be the worst possible person to send into the ring when it came to foreign policy,” he said.

Graham also compared Democratic 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to reclusive North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“She’s doing a listening tour from North Korea,” he joked of Clinton’s media availability. “There’s more access to him than I think there is to her.”

Graham touted his own credentials for the White House.

“I think I have the background and the experience to be the best person in the entire field to be commander in chief,” he said.

“And when it comes to what is wrong with Washington, I think I’ve been the solution, not the problem,” Graham added.

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