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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

Orwell 2 years, 3 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.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 3 months ago

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

jafs 2 years, 3 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.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 3 months ago

What is the first priority of any candidate? If you think it should be to do what is in the best interests of the public, then you'd be wrong. The first priority of any candidate must be to get elected, since if he doesn't get elected, he's in no position to do what is the best interests of the public.

The reality of America today is that there are more Democrats than Republicans. If turnout reached 100%, the very likely result would be Democratic majorities dominating. So, which is worse, low voter turnout or a one party system?

jafs 2 years, 3 months ago

Low turnout.

If we want our system to function as it should, then we should want high turnouts.

And, of course intelligent and well-informed voters.

That's interesting - it's often claimed that we're a "center-right" country by those on the right - are they simply wrong about that?

jhawkinsf 2 years, 3 months ago

High voter turnout and well-informed voters - Clearly, we have neither.

If we don't have intelligent and well-informed voters, do we really want high voter turnout? - That's the type of question that can only be asked in a forum like this, anonymously. No politician could suggest such a thing. No politician could say to the voters, you're so poorly informed, I'd be happy if you stayed home. But you better believe they think it. And I'd bet that other posters here think it too. And if they say they don't, they're lying. It's a dirty little secret we all think. Everyone, no exceptions. None.

I know you, Jafs. Now you're going to call for more education of the electorate. We already have that. It's called junior high school.

jafs 2 years, 3 months ago

Clearly, junior high school isn't sufficient to educate the population then.

Most people aren't even paying much attention in junior high school, and can't remember what they learned there.

Have you seen the show "Are you smarter than a 5th grader"?

jhawkinsf 2 years, 3 months ago

Yes, I've seen that show. But I've said it before, you can't teach what a person doesn't want to know.

How about this, we require someone pass a junior high civics class prior to them voting. (whoops, literacy tests are unconstitutional) So we either allow idiots to vote or hope they don't (what I described as our dirty little secret).

There isn't any "real" solution. I'd love to see schools expanded to year 'round, with the number of school days expanded to well over 200/yr. It might make the electorate better informed. Of course, it won't happen, so it's not "real". But if you have a "real" answer, I'm all ears.

jafs 2 years, 3 months ago

Or what they're not in the right time and place to remember.

Perhaps we shouldn't consider education something that stops at junior high school level. We could pretty easily work out some adult education on these issues, and disseminate the information widely, given our current technological prowess, don't you think?

Just forcing kids to go to school longer seems quite absurd to me.

The interesting thing about that show is both that people forget so much of what they're taught in grade school, and that most of it is completely irrelevant and useless later on in life. From my view, it doesn't make a lot of sense trying to get young people to memorize a bunch of stuff like that.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 3 months ago

The adult information that you speak of is widely available already. Whether in some formal setting like a school or free and informal on line, in libraries, in book stores. Access to information isn't the problem. It's the desire to get that information.

jafs 2 years, 3 months ago

If we want people to be more well informed, it would be in our interests to make that easier for them, wouldn't it?

In addition to all of the ridiculous campaign ads, why not have some informative ones as well?

jhawkinsf 2 years, 3 months ago

Informative campaigns, like C-Span, NPR, Public T.V. We have many, many options. More people know the judges on American Idol than on the Supreme Court. In a free society, they have the right to make their choice. And they have. Maybe we ought to put Scalia on Dancing With The Stars.

jafs 2 years, 3 months ago

That's a funny image :-)

How about some ads on DWTS about civic matters?

If you want to give up on well informed voters, that's your prerogative. I'd prefer to continue thinking about ways to help make that happen.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 3 months ago

You see, just as I might suggest something like a literacy test might have some good in it, I also know that the bad outweighs the good. You mention an ad campaign on privately owned networks, during the most popular shows that I assume have the highest ad rates. That's how we're going to spend our tax money? We'll raise taxes for that? Or cut spending somewhere else for that? The problem with your suggestion isn't that it's a bad suggestion. The devil is in the details. Will 30 second ads really teach the electorate what they need to know. We'll need to make them much longer. And the government will be controlling content, shaping the electorate in ways of their choosing. Maybe we can install into remotes the inability to change channels during these info-ads. Prosecute T-Vo. As Ron White says, you can't fix stupid.

jafs 2 years, 3 months ago

I believe there's a possibility that we could require networks to offer some free airtime for such things as part of their licensing.

One 30 second ad won't do it, of course, but basic things like the branches of government, etc. could be covered in a rather small number of those segments, I would think.

Or we could just give up, as you have, and be stuck wondering if we want higher turnouts or not, thinking the best we can do is to have low turnouts and a poorly educated/informed populace.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 3 months ago

BTW - Jafs, Early in the thread you said you thought low voter turnout would be worse than a one party system. I assume you're saying that because you are more closely aligned with the party that currently has more people identifying with it than with any other party. I suspect that if we did actually had a one party system and that party did not represent your views, you'd be very unhappy with that one party system.

jafs 2 years, 3 months ago

No, it's because the idea of democracy only works if we have high turnouts.

Otherwise, elected officials don't really represent the "will of the people", or even a majority of those.

Neither party represents my views - it's rather frustrating for me.

I believe in liberal values quite a bit, but also conservative ones, like fiscal responsibility and smaller more efficient government, and some Libertarian ones, like legalizing drugs and prostitution.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 3 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.

Getaroom 2 years, 3 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!

Katara 2 years, 3 months ago

I heard Alf was pretty upset about it.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 3 months ago

Why would Alf Landon care, one way or the other?

grammaddy 2 years, 3 months ago

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

jhawkinsf 2 years, 3 months ago

Let's suppose I am old, white and rich. And suppose I vote in my own best interests, just as you imply Hispanics, women and blacks should. Given that, could you tell me why I should vote for Obama?

BTW - I take note that you chose to capitalize the words; Hispanic, women and blacks, but not old, white or rich. A cynical person might say you're giving the former group more importance than the latter. Saying to someone that they are of less importance is no way to win them over. So if you are accusing Romney of not reaching out, making them fell of less or no importance, then you are doing the exact same thing.

fishy81 2 years, 3 months ago

obama doesn't care about white folks, black folks, hispanics, or women, all he cares about is getting reelected. We can do better.

Flap Doodle 2 years, 3 months ago

Nobody can touch the Mope when it comes to hispandering.

somedude20 2 years, 3 months ago

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

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