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Opinion

Opinion

Has Romney given up on Hispanics?

August 29, 2012

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One of the key things to watch in this week’s Republican national convention in Tampa is whether the Romney-Ryan ticket will be able to connect with Hispanics and improve its dismal approval ratings among Latino voters. There are some things they could do — but I doubt they will.

According to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Telemundo poll of Hispanic voters released last week, the first that was conducted after presumptive Republican candidate Mitt Romney picked Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., as his running mate, President Barack Obama leads Romney by a whopping 63 percent to 28 percent among Latino voters.

To make things worse for Romney, the Republican platform scheduled to be approved at the convention has adopted a hard line on immigration, calling among other things for a fence along the entire U.S.-Mexico border, ending in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants, and prohibiting so-called sanctuary-cities that accept people without immigration papers.

While the platform will include language supporting a guest-worker program, anti-immigration extremists persuaded the Platform Committee to use the term “illegal alien” instead of “illegal immigrant” throughout the document, according to an Oct. 22 Tampa Bay Times article. “Illegal alien” is a term that many see as dehumanizing undocumented immigrants.

In an effort to win over more Hispanics — and get closer to the 40 percent of the Hispanic vote that former President George W. Bush got in 2004, or the 31 percent that former Republican candidate Sen. John Mc Cain got in 2008 — the Republican campaign is scheduled to feature an impressive lineup of Latino politicians at the convention.(There will be not one single Latino performer, though, according to the convention’s entertainment lineup announced Friday.)

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is scheduled to introduce Romney on Thursday night, while Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, Texas Senate candidate Ted Cruz, and Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuno and his wife Luisa are scheduled to speak Monday night, and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is to speak Tuesday night.

The Latino speakers will try to project the image of the GOP as a party of diversity and economic opportunity, and they will seek to paint a picture of Romney as a friend of Hispanics, Republican officials say.

Their main goal will be to counteract Romney’s image among many Hispanics as a multi-millionaire who is a candidate of the rich, and whose anti-immigration rhetoric often comes across as hostile to all Latinos.

Among the things that Romney could do:

l He could make headlines, and show some spine, by chastising anti-immigration extremists within his party who keep perpetuating the myth that we can deport up to 12 million undocumented residents, and by taking distance from his fellow Republicans who claim, among other things, that undocumented immigrants bring dangerous diseases to this country.

l He should acknowledge that many “illegal” immigrants enter this country illegally because, under the outdated current immigration rules, they can’t obtain a legal entry visa to work in jobs that Americans won’t take.

l He could state that, if elected, he would not rescind Obama’s recent executive action to grant a two-year temporary residency to up to 1.7 million undocumented Dream Act-eligible students who were brought to the country by their parents as infants.

l He could shift away from his previous calls for “self-deportation” of all undocumented immigrants — a plan that Latino leaders say would amount to making life impossible for undocumented residents until they leave the country voluntarily, and that would in effect hurt all Hispanics regardless of their legal status.

My opinion: The fact that Romney picked Ryan over several Spanish speakers — including Rubio and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman — as his running mate, that he made his pre-convention foreign policy tour to Europe and Israel without even stopping in Mexico, that he didn’t even mention Hispanic or Latin American-related issues during a recent stop in Miami, make me think that his campaign has given up on the Hispanic vote.

Most likely, the Romney team believes the nationwide Hispanic vote is irrelevant, since most Latinos live in states such as New York and California that will vote Democrat anyway. Romney will thus mostly target Hispanics in a handful of swing states, such as Florida, and launch a negative campaign blaming Obama for worsening unemployment among Hispanics in hopes that many Latinos will remain home on Election Day.

Barring more economic bad news, I doubt this will work. Romney’s decision to bank his political future on his party’s anti-immigration right wing makes him come across as no friend of Latinos. It will cost him to lose the Hispanic vote — and perhaps the election, too.

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

Comments

somedude20 1 year, 7 months ago

Trick question! Romney doesn't care about anyone but the wealthy

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Flap Doodle 1 year, 7 months ago

Nobody can touch the Mope when it comes to hispandering.

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grammaddy 1 year, 7 months ago

Hispanics, Women,Blacks, basically anyone who isn't old white AND rich. Or part of the Koch Brothers team.

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KansasLiberal 1 year, 7 months ago

"anti-immigration extremists persuaded the Platform Committee to use the term “illegal alien” instead of “illegal immigrant” throughout the document"

Illegal alien is the proper legal term for them, and if you look at the DREAM Act you'd see that the "A" in DREAM stands for alien. Were any illegal aliens complaining about the use of the word alien in the DREAM Act?

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FalseHopeNoChange 1 year, 7 months ago

What could Romaney possibly 'give' the Catholics that "The First Gay President" has not already 'given' them. Amnesty? Guns "Fast and Furiously?" Free Obamacare? Free government schooling?

Rominey 'needs' to focus on the 'white' working stiffs that Flex 'dumped' a few months ago.

http://bostonherald.com/news/opinion/op_ed/view/2011_1208white_middle_class_not_in_obamas_base

http://www.thenation.com/blog/164854/obama-abandoning-white-working-class

http://campaignstops.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/27/the-future-of-the-obama-coalition/

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Getaroom 1 year, 7 months ago

This is all the GOP Rulers care about: 1,000,0000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000...............

Of course they have given up on most of the Hispanic vote, that much is clear. They also gave up on their own, Ron Paul and put the fix in on delegates. This just shows how corrupt the system is, especially the GOP, but we have always known that. Patriotism, Democracy mean nothing to them, but they use the terms anyway because it makes them sound so true -blue to the country and real Americans. When they say, "we did do that", it means they managed to pull the wool over the eyes of a bunch of voters and get away with robbing all of us and doing so to further their cause.

The GOP Convention is one big pump 'em up motivational speech designed to ultimately take more from the people (people are people too) and give it over to the rich Corporations (corporations are people too) so they can become The United Corporation of America, which by the way are fewer than 1% of people. And what better face to put on that Corporation than Willard Romney! It's is the biggest con going on, with a smile and whitened teeth. And he even irons his own shirts from Costco too, now that is what I call the right man to run this Country, whoops, I mean Corporation. And he is so in touch with "the little people". I wonder, which one of the little people do you suppose pushes the button on his lazy susan car storage system?
Here is where he stores his surplus money, need a little cash anyone? http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/08/27 Hey, It's all in good fun folks come on, have a little fun, Willard is!

2

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 7 months ago

I heard a pundit talking about the strategy that Romney/Republicans appear to adopting for this campaign. He called it a "base election strategy," meaning that they appear to have given up on appealing to any voters except their base-- conservative, white voters. They think that getting their base out while suppressing the votes anyway they can of those who might vote against them will be enough to get them barely over the top. He also thinks that Obama will win the popular vote, but that like 2000, Romney could still win in the electoral college.

Sorry, but I don't remember his name, or have a link.

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jafs 1 year, 7 months ago

It's sad when elected officials hope that large groups of the public don't vote at all.

Low turnouts favor conservatives, apparently.

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Roland Gunslinger 1 year, 7 months ago

I think a large portion of the GOP has given up the Hispanic vote... so much so they started chanting "USA! USA!" when the delegate from Puerto Rico was announced yesterday at the RNC.

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jhawkinsf 1 year, 7 months ago

I suspect Romney has given up on the black vote as well. Though I'm not certain this qualifies as news.

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Paul R Getto 1 year, 7 months ago

"Most likely, the Romney team believes the nationwide Hispanic vote is irrelevant, since most Latinos live in states such as New York and California that will vote Democrat anyway. Romney will thus mostly target Hispanics in a handful of swing states, such as Florida, and launch a negative campaign blaming Obama for worsening unemployment among Hispanics in hopes that many Latinos will remain home on Election Day." ===interesting approach. They need to reach out if they want to win.

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Roland Gunslinger 1 year, 7 months ago

Of course he has... the whole GOP has. As Boehner stated just a couple of days ago the Republican Party is counting on apathy from the Latinos and blacks- they're hoping these groups don't show up at the voting booth as that will insure them the election.

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/politics/2012/08/boehner-says-out-loud-he-hopes-blacks-and-latinos-wont-show-election/56245/

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Orwell 1 year, 7 months ago

Don't know whether he's given up on them, but they've sure given up on him – with good reason. The man will say anything, with no regard for honesty or even consistency, if it gets him what he thinks he deserves.

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