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Opinion

Opinion

Romney in trouble with Hispanics

August 20, 2012

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Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney was already polling at historically low numbers among Hispanic voters before his decision to name Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate. Now, Romney risks a total debacle among Hispanic voters that could cost him the election.

There are five major reasons Ryan, a darling of the tea party who is known for his budget-cutting proposals and hard-line stands on immigration in recent years, will have a hard time helping Romney solve his Latino vote problem.

First, Ryan is not Marco Rubio, the Spanish-speaking Cuban-American senator from Florida, nor Rob Portman, the Ohio senator and former U.S. trade representative who also speaks fluent Spanish and was on Romney’s short list for vice-presidential nominee.

Either Rubio or Portman could have helped Romney win key swing states that will be crucial to win the November elections and could have campaigned nationwide speaking in Spanish to Latino audiences. Ryan, who comes from a state with only 5 percent of Latino voters, has zero connection with Hispanic voters.

While the Romney campaign has announced that it will give Republican Hispanic stars such as Rubio stellar roles at the Republican convention in Tampa, Romney is in deep trouble with Hispanics.

According to a June Gallup poll of Latino voters, President Obama was already beating Romney 66 percent to 25 percent among registered Latino voters. That’s the lowest any Republican candidate has polled among Hispanics in 16 years.

Former Republican candidate Sen. John McCain won 31 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2008, and former President George W. Bush won 40 percent in 2004.

Second, although most Hispanic voters are young and don’t care that much about health care, the Obama campaign ads depicting Ryan as a ruthless budget cutter who would slash Medicare and Medicaid is likely to hurt the Republican ticket among Hispanics in Florida, which has a huge population of Hispanic senior citizens.Third, unlike Republican moderates, Ryan strongly opposes a path to legal residence for the estimated 11-million undocumented U.S. residents. Most Hispanics support a path to citizenship for undocumented residents who have long lived in this country and have no criminal records.

“I do not support amnesty for the millions of illegal immigrants already living in the United States,” Ryan says on his congressional website. He does not elaborate on what he would do about them, which suggests he may support Romney’s formula of “self-deportation,” a proposal that Latino leaders say amounts to making the life of undocumented residents so miserable that they would leave voluntarily.

Fourth, Ryan has opposed the DREAM Act, a bill overwhelmingly supported by Hispanics — and many non-Latinos, too — that calls for giving a path to residency to up to 1.7 million young undocumented students who were brought to the United States as infants and raised in this country.

Many of them don’t even speak the language of their native countries. While most of them were recently granted de facto temporary residency by Obama, their legal status remains in limbo in the long run.

Fifth, Ryan voted in 2005 in support of the Sensenbrenner bill, sponsored by fellow Wisconsin Republican Rep. James Sensenbrenner. Critics described the bill as the most draconian anti-immigration proposal ever. It passed the House, but died in the Senate.

Romney campaign officials say none of this will matter much on Election Day, because Hispanics’ main concern will be the economy — an area where they hope Romney will enjoy a huge advantage.

In addition, they say that nationwide polls of Hispanics won’t mean much, because the election will be decided in a handful of swing states, such as Florida, Ohio and Colorado, where Romney polls better among Hispanics than in Democratic-controlled states with huge Hispanic populations such as California or New York.

My opinion: Romney’s pick for vice-presidential nominee, coming shortly after Romney’s foreign policy tour in which he traveled to Europe and Israel without even making a symbolic stop in Mexico, will make a bad situation worse for the Republican campaign. It suggests that Romney has thrown in the towel on the Hispanic vote. That may turn out to be the biggest mistake of his campaign — and a godsend for Obama.

— Andres Oppenheimer is a Latin America correspondent for the Miami Herald.

Comments

Armstrong 1 year, 8 months ago

I see the media is still trying to prop up Barry. No matte,r whatever Mitt's numbers are with the Latino community pales in comparison to Barry's numbers with the rest of America.

0

question4u 1 year, 8 months ago

"According to a June Gallup poll of Latino voters, President Obama was already beating Romney 66 percent to 25 percent among registered Latino voters. That’s the lowest any Republican candidate has polled among Hispanics in 16 years."

The poll indicates that a large majority of Hispanic voters don't like Romney. The question is whether those voters will like Romney better now that he has a running mate who can't speak Spanish, is a hard-liner on immigration, and opposes the DREAM act. Stranger things have happened but, unlike some of the pundits here, Oppenheimer doesn't think so. Ergo, Oppenheimer must be racist.

You have to love Kansas logic. It's so creative.

1

FalseHopeNoChange 1 year, 8 months ago

Newsweek, the "First Gay President" proponents, probably have not issued 'their' Spanish 'translation' version of "Hit the Road Barack"/ "Golpear la carretera Barack" issue.

Why we need a new president

Por eso necesitamos un nuevo presidente

1

Lateralis 1 year, 8 months ago

I heard somewhere that Obama deported more illegal immigrants than any other president before him. Strange how the Hispanic community who in large part supports not deporting illegal immigrants loves Obama.

Either way you look at it, Obama is breaking the law and trying to make amends by his differing action. His oath is to the Constitution not special interest groups. If you don’t like the immigration laws, play by the rules and change it through legislation. This is something a law professor should understand. Surely the American people will have their say? If the support is there….make it happen. If not it’s time to step on that greyhound and make a run for the boarder. If you see Holder on your way South take him too and don't let the entitlements you received hit your tail on your way out.

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Flap Doodle 1 year, 8 months ago

The Mope has cornered the market for hispandering.

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rockchalk1977 1 year, 8 months ago

If Hispanic voters are just looking for free stuff, Obama is their man. http://usdebtclock.org/

1

75x55 1 year, 8 months ago

So the assumption is that hispanics are monolithic racists?

And we're supposed to respect anyone that writes this sort of drivel?

Answers:

Yes

No

1

oozy_and_seepy 1 year, 8 months ago

"Who is Andres Oppenheimer..."

The West Coast Latino version of East Coast African-American version: Leonard Pitts.

Both noteable and accomplished race-baiters.

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SageonPage 1 year, 8 months ago

Who is Andres Oppenheimer and why would we want to hear their opinion of what ALL Hispanics think? I agree with False it's is utter nonsense to think a Hispanic will vote for someone who simply speaks Spanish or looks Hispanic. I suppose insulting their intelligence wins big votes for the marxist who can't speak English let alone Spanish.

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Paul R Getto 1 year, 8 months ago

"My opinion: Romney’s pick for vice-presidential nominee, coming shortly after Romney’s foreign policy tour in which he traveled to Europe and Israel without even making a symbolic stop in Mexico, will make a bad situation worse for the Republican campaign. It suggests that Romney has thrown in the towel on the Hispanic vote. That may turn out to be the biggest mistake of his campaign — and a godsend for Obama." ======

This is his key point and I tend to agree with the author.

3

FalseHopeNoChange 1 year, 8 months ago

First, Ryan is not Marco Rubio, the Spanish-speaking Cuban-American senator from Florida, nor Rob Portman, the Ohio senator and former U.S. trade representative who also speaks fluent Spanish

So Latino's only 'vote' for people with 'characteristics' like themselves?"

What would 'a' complex Genie call someone like that?

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