On Tuesday, Senator John McCain (R-Ariz) pleaded to his fellow Republicans to go against their nature, give credence to their “better angels” and, when that fails, consider the negative repercussions that failing work on comprehensive immigration reform will have on the GOP.

In an interview at the USC Schwarzenegger Institute, McCain claimed that he thinks the GOP “can compete” but not if they don’t consider the growing power of Hispanic voters. The senator expressed that when the moral argument fails with his cohort, he appeals to their appreciation of threats and numbers.

“All you have to do is the math,” he said. “Do the math on the growth of Hispanic voters in this country.”

As a member of the “Gang of Eight”, the senator’s argument that his fellow Republicans need to consider the repercussions they will face if they fail to appreciate the needs of their Hispanic constituents is critical to revitalizing the GOP. McCain recognizes, though, that many in his party will not be persuaded by the argument that reforming immigration policy is the right thing to do. While some may be more persuaded that, in the wake of the recent tragedy in Boston, immigration reform is something that needs to be implemented to better ensure public safety, many will remain unmoved. Republicans will respond to the threat of punishment.

Unfortunately many in Congress will lack the backbone to adhere to a call on their “better angels” and shrink from doing right by their immigrant constituents in order to maintain standing with their far-right following. In the interest of compromise and progress though, many will be persuaded by the threat of not listening to the growing Hispanic and immigrant populations they are elected to represent. While both parties have their issues regarding immigration, the GOP’s track record on immigration reform is far from applaudable.

Joshua Schwitzerlet is a writer and researcher with Ring of FireFollow him on Twitter @Joshual33