Josh DeLeon ’14
The increase of the Latino-American population has caused both political parties to mobilize, trying to reel in their votes. The Republican National Committee (RNC) has been pushing for the vote and saying that “it’s going to pull out all the stops.” The RNC has hired six Hispanic Outreach Directors in key battleground states who will coordinate the effort to gain Hispanic voters.
The Hispanic population in the United States has almost doubled in the past ten years. It should be no surprise that the RNC has focused its attention on the Hispanic community. The Hispanic culture lends itself to conservative values. The Democratic Party and President Barack Obama, however, have held the Latino vote exclusively in past elections. President Barack Obama held about 52% of the Latino vote in the 2008 election. This number is not overwhelmingly one sided, and therefore, RNC members are confident that they can put a dent in that percentage.
I would say that the objective for the Republican Party is not to win the Hispanic vote, but rather, to take away as many votes as possible from President Barack Obama. In order to gain Hispanic support, conservative values must be framed through a Latino lens. A few tactical initiatives and ideas that one will most likely observe the RNC making in the next few months are:
1. A tactical shift in the way Republicans frame their ideals. When talking to Hispanics about immigration regulatory policy, for example, the RNC needs to talk about the proud history of the Spanish family. The history of someone’s “Abuela y Abuelito” working hard to provide their families with a better future. They need to recognize the societal struggle of the Hispanic people,
2. Events thrown in local Hispanic communities. These events must be authentic or the RNC should not bother even throwing the events at all. Providing support for local bodegas in throwing barbeques and going into local Spanish churches advocating their position must be done. A sense of loyalty must be established by the RNC in order to foster Hispanic support,
3. And a push for education. This should be an anchor in the efforts of RNC Hispanic Outreach. Like the American public, Hispanic Americans usually have an unquestionable devotion to their children. They work long and hard, like most Americans, to provide opportunities to their children. Therefore, the argument must be made that the party is also looking after the increased wellbeing and education of Hispanic children.
The Latino-American vote will be an important aspect of the 2012 general election, and it will be interesting to see how things progress.