“¡Psst! Los republicanos don’t like Latinos, ¿no?”
“Pues you’re wrong. I’m conservadora. It’s just the candidates want to be Presidente and they’re trying to get there by making the Tea Party happy.”
The tiki tiki on the streets since the debates started is that the Republican party doesn’t like Latinos. Now of course that’s silly. Plenty of Hispanics are card-carrying members of the GOP. But if you’ve been following the debates and the primaries, you can see why many have come to this conclusion: the candidates have talked about building more border fences and “self-deporting” as a viable federal immigration policy. Although this habla refers to illegal immigrants, many feel all Latinos–sixth generation New Mexican, Punta-del-Este-vacationing Wall Street banker, small biz owner–are being painted with one brush stroke.
Add that while immigration reform consistently polls after the economy, jobs, education, and health care, it’s an emotional hot button for many Latinos. When we see families divided, hear about pregnant women being forced to give birth in shackles in immigration detention centers, well, remember what it was like in the school yard to see Big Bully picking on Little Guy?
Is your heart racing?
The blood rushing to your cheeks?
You get the picture.
People are upset.
As the Republican primaries slog on with Puerto Rico’s caucus up this w/e, what we on Calle Ocho have been talking about is now being asked on 8th Street:
¿Does the GOP have a Latino problema?
This is a valid question not just because of the toxic tenor of the debates around immigration and, specifically, that frontrunner Mitt Romney has allied himself with powerful anti-immigration leaders such as Kansas Secretary of State Kris Krobach and Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona’s Maricopa County. Remember that once the nominee is named after the Republican National Convention in August, he will face President Barack Obama in a general election that will be determined by independent and undecided voters. The Prez’s support among Hispanos has eroded some, so it will be a fight for every vote with Latinos crucial in the Southwest battlegrounds states of Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, and Southern giant Florida.
I’m with some Republicans, the Jeb Bushes of the world, who say bring the tone pa’ bajo, like waaayyy down because the only way the GOP will grow is if it attracts new voters that see themselves, their values, and their future reflected in the party’s walk and talk. Otherwise, we may just be about to witness the partido republicano walking around with an ojo negro for a few election cycles–a big black eye it gave itself.
Continue reading or click on the link below to my latest Latina Magazine column:
Election 2012: Mitt Romney’s Latino Problem?
By Viviana Hurtado
Mitt Romney’s campaign ads have attacked Rick Santorum for putting Sonia Sotomayor on the “path to the Supreme Court” when he voted in 1998 for her appointment to New York’s U.S. Courts of Appeal for the Second Circuit. Which leads us to question, what is Mitt Romney’s Latino problem?
Sotomayor is the first Hispanic to serve on the nation’s highest court and is well-respected by Latinos for her work ethic, judicial record including her 1995 decision that ended the strike that “saved” baseball, her lift-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps success story, even inspired me to launch my politics and civic engagement blog The Wise Latina Club.
If Mitt Romney continues with a strategy that ignores, even offends many Hispanics, he may mathematically win the Republican nomination in August. But with more Latinos voting in the general election than the primaries, he will have just over two months from the convention to clear the significant obstacles, make that obstáculos on his road to the White House.
Watch the ad below:
To read more of Viviana’s politics pieces in Latina, click here.What are your thoughts on Mitt Romney’s attack on Sonia Sotomayor?