In Latina Magazine: Election 2012: Can the Republican Party Become a “Latino” Party?

I was chatting with #TwitterBrotherFromAnotherMother since we may be teaming up on a voter registration drive/civic engagement effort and we got to talking about the big elefante político in the Election 2012 room.

Is the GOP writing off Hispanics in November?  Are Latinos lock, estock, and barrel Demócratas?

I hope the answer is no.

Now I’ll admit, I’ve wondered, how a Latino (or gays) can be a Republican when some parts, albeit very loud ones, seem to HATE you?

[Full Disclosure: I come from a “mixed” (political) status marriage–a liberal Papi and a goda Mami dating back to the ol’ country]

If you ever hear me say to you, “You think it’s all ’bout you” that’s not good.

Except this time.

The power Latinos are coming into is extraordinary, with an impact to U.S. politics, the economy, culture, and society that is still TBD.  In order to ensure a bright future for our families, grow our communities into thriving, vibrant hubs of opportunity and innovation, and strengthen our country, we need to start playing hard to get, like independent and some women voters.  Political parties actually listen to them because if they don’t, if the políticos heed too much to ideology or special interests, they get tossed out as happened when Democrats lost control of the House in 2010.

¡Adio’!

Republicans, wipe that grin off your faces: before your start gloating, this summer’s budget battles where your refusal to negotiate and compromise, even though President Obama did, made you look like ideologues who don’t have the American people’s, but special interests at heart.  Then there are your positions on immigration. You know the ones: giving local police the power to pick up anyone who looks Hispanic assuming they are illegal immigrants or blocking the DREAM Act.  You, too, may suffer the same fate in November.

The Wise Latina Club's Viviana Hurtado asks in Latina Magazine if the Republican Party can become "Latino"

Mitt Romney Courtesy: Getty Images

No one–woman, community, voter–likes to be taken advantage of.  So Dems your arguments of, What’s the alternative? is starting to sound cynical, manipulative, and disingenuous.

But that also means being involved.  ¡No more mañana, gente!  No more I’ll wait for Juan (or Tyrone or Maeve or Yoko) next door to do it.  Register to vote.  Be informed.  Be involved in your neighborhood traffic subcommittee (in my ‘hood it’s the gays and me singlehandedly representing women, Latinos, and straights–oh the pressure!).

Ah si, and vote in November for Prez.

As for the GOP, more than Jeb and Marco they’ll need Stuart, José, and Martha–the everyday people–to stand up and take their party back from the fringe.

And I’m not taking a We Are the World tack.  I’m busy reading the 2010 U.S. Census report which I like to call playbook.

Continue reading or click on the link below to my latest Latina Magazine column:

Election 2012: Can the Republican Party Become a “Latino” Party?
By Viviana Hurtado

The Republican Party hasn’t done much to attract Latino voters.  An alternative to the Democrat’s DREAM Act is rumored to be released soon, with Florida Junior Senator Marco Rubio likely to be the “face” of this proposal.  The failed Democratic version puts illegal students brought as children on the path to citizenship if they go to college, enter the military, and have been here for at least five years.  Some GOP ideas that are still being hammered out include: only allowing undocumented immigrants who want to serve in the military the opportunity to stay.  The proposal is said to stop short of granting citizenship.

The hot button issue of immigration has turned off many Latinos following the GOP primaries, particularly the candidate debates, despite their immigration status or background, because the tone has gone negative.  This partially explains why some in the Republican Party are attempting to bridge any divide that has opened—or widened—with Hispanic voters.  Team Romney has crunched the numbers and admits that if Mitt becomes the nominee, he will need 35% of the Latino vote to beat President Obama, according to The Wall Street Journal. Yet a Fox News Latino poll conducted in February shows only 14% of likely Hispanic voters surveyed would cast ballots for Romney.

Now add this: the FNL poll also reveals a 90% approval for the DREAM Act and 85% approval for some kind of comprehensive immigration reform.  Although immigration consistently polls behind the economy, jobs, education, and health care, it’s still important to an emerging community that feels disrespected by politicians from both sides of the aisle.  Many also sympathize with the psychological, emotional, and economic toll on divided families and communities.

It is not coincidental that around the time Mitt Romney “swept” the Wisconsin, Maryland, and the District of Columbia primaries thus cementing his lead, he started floating a strategy targeting Hispanic voters.  I call it the Desencanto Strategy where the Republican frontrunner, his campaign, and supporters are focusing on the disillusionment that many Latinos feel toward the President who failed to rally the support necessary to pass the DREAM Act and immigration reform while his party controlled Congress (there has been no mention of Republican congressional resistance or a GOP comprehensive immigration reform policy put forth).

If Mitt Romney becomes the Republican nominee, will the Desencanto Strategy pick up steam?  Will Hispanics feel embraced and start referring to the Republican Party as Mi GOP? Ultimately, Latinos, like all voters, need to study a candidate’s and a party’s record and decide who will be the best choice to advance the interests of their families, their communities, and the nation.

To read more of Viviana’s politics pieces in Latina, click here.

What does the Republican Party and likely presidential nominee Mitt Romney have to do to attract more Latino voters?
 

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