GOP can reclaim the Hispanic vote

Recently in the media a couple of articles have been printed that paint a pretty bleak picture of the prospects of the GOP winning back Hispanic voters (“Republicans Sound Alarm on Hispanic Voter Gap,” May 18; “RNC Hiring Chafes Top Hispanics,” May 20, http://www.politico.com). I was quoted in both articles and felt it necessary to expand on my remarks and add some observations.

While it is true that many Hispanic Republican leaders are anxious to see progress on efforts to regain lost ground among Hispanic voters, this should not be confused with a lack of support for the core values of the party or the inspirational leadership of RNC Chairman Michael Steele.

Let me be very clear: The Republican Party must recapture a material portion of the Hispanic vote or we will not win national elections in the future. I make this stark prediction based not on emotion but, rather, on facts. Mistakes have been made in recent years, and we have a lot of work to do to earn back the interest and the trust of Hispanic voters; the good news is that it can be done. Let us examine why this is so imperative.

Hispanics are the fastest-growing demographic group in the country. By 2050, we are projected to swell from 15 percent of the population to 30 percent (132.8 million people). Non-Hispanic whites will shrink from 66 percent today to only 46 percent in 2050. The effect beyond 2050 will be even larger. In 2050, 62 percent of children are expected to be minorities, up from 44 percent today, with 39 percent being Hispanic and 38 percent non-Hispanic white. READ FULL STORY

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Comment by Jesus Iniguez on June 26, 2009 at 2:15pm
A couple of things need to be done before the Republican party can "reclaim the Latino vote."

First and foremost, the party and it's members need to educate themselves on the whole Latino experience. We are not a homogeneous group and need to be treated as such (the democratic party makes this mistake as well, but does more to reach out to Latinos). We are not all immigrants, nor Mexican nor Spanish speakers (disclaimer: I am of Mexican descent, son of immigrants, and I speak both English and Spanish).

2. We are not second class citizens. We are just as American as the Euro-Americans & African-Americans and other hyphenated Americans . If you want Latinos to vote for Republicans than we must hold positions of REAL, not token, leadership within the party, and must have REAL influence in the direction of the party.

3. Racist policies must not be tolerated. Anti-immigrant views and policies promoted by some republican leaders and republican-led localities, are simply cover ups for racist views about Latinos, are a lack of poor judgment and must be denounced (english-only policies have nothing to do with reforming immigration, some immigrants speak English well, in fact, better than some citizens). Again, not every immigrant comes from Mexico. In fact, Puerto Ricans are not immigrants at all (they have been U.S. citizens since 1917)! In short, not all Latinos are immigrants, nor are all immigrants Latinos. Quite simply most of the Latino population are not immigrants. Policies pushed forward by the Republican party must reflect this if they intend to win our support (personally, I do support compassionate immigration reform as well as the DREAM act, simply because it makes sense).

In closing, I must admit that I have voted Democrat in every election since I turned 18. That, however, is not a reflection of my loyalty to the Democratic party, rather a reflection of my lack of identity with the Republican party. My father is a quintessential Republican spirit (Conservative, ultra-religious), but has voted Democratic since he has been a citizen because the Republican party has failed to address his concerns. I agree with the author, that if the Republican party wishes to win any national elections in the future, it must regain the Latino vote. Otherwise we will have a one-party system, and if you live in Chicago or Illinois, you will understand how much that works.

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