Skip to comments.Winning the Latino Vote: If the Democrats have the winning formula, why not copy them?
Posted on 11/27/2012 7:21:57 AM PST by SeekAndFind
Over the last three weeks, I think I have read most of the post-election op-eds written on the Latino vote. I have studied exit polling, read sophisticated demographic analyses, and talked to as many Latinos in my hometown as I could. The result is that I would not advise Republicans to go down the identity-politics route. I dont wish to live in an America where Steve Lara or Bob Martinez is reduced to an anonymous Latino and Victor Hanson is just a white male.
But if Republicans really believe there is a monolithic Latino vote, and if those of Hispanic descent are easily definable and vote predictably en masse and along tribal lines rather than as individuals, then perhaps Republican pundits and operatives hell-bent on wining the Latino vote might consider the following not entirely unserious recommendations.
1. Family values. I didnt sense a big upsurge among Latinos that I know for Rick Santorum and his religious-based agenda. The Catholicism of Santorum or of Newt Gingrich had little resonance. Abortion, gay marriage, and ending Dont ask, dont tell seemed mostly non-issues. Nor do I gather that Latinos in central California vote on the basis of family values any more than do non-Latinos. Mike Huckabees family populism would win few adherents. In terms of divorce, illegitimacy, crime, and high-school-graduation rates, there are few statistical differences that reflect any ethnic patterns. Family values in the Latino community may be defined somewhat differently from the way elite Republican consultants imagine, perhaps more along the ancient Spanish notion of a patron/client relationship that ultimately originated in Rome.
In our time, the patron is seen as the big and powerful federal government, which has an obligation to care for its less-well-off and unfortunately all-too-often-dependent and oppressed clients, who in turn will vote in thanks for state help with food, shelter, education, and health care. The patron of the classical hacienda protects the client against outlaws and oppressive forces in this case supposedly rich old white guys (see Obamas punish our enemies), who are not sensitive to the needs of a victimized other. If Republicans wish to win on this more European and statist notion of family values, then I would suggest trying to expand food stamps, add more coverage to Obamacare, and forgive delinquent mortgages, student loans, and small-business loans. The key would be to fashion a family-values platform that worries more about the collective familia than the more individualist and stereotypically Anglo-Saxon agendas of the well-off. High taxes and generous redistributionist spending are far more a mark of family values than is being against abortion or for traditional marriage.
2. Immigration. The DREAM Act, as La Raza activists have argued, is the beginning, not the end, of needed amnesties. To win the Latino vote on this issue, I suggest stopping all the talk of reforming legal immigration, especially the elitist notion that all immigration must be legal or, worse yet, predicated on skill sets, education, a knowledge of English, and capital. All such criteria are interpreted as mere cover for the prejudicial and discriminatory, since they tend to favor advantaged Europeans or Asians at the expense of disadvantaged Latinos. As a friend said to me, Its our turn; you had enough people come here from Europe. Better yet, as I read La Raza literature, Republicans might consider dropping altogether the obsession with a border that discriminates against indigenous folk on both sides of the current artificially constructed line. They should accept the undeniable fact that there is a Mexico and an America but also something new and unique in between, developing within the 200 miles north and south of the Rio Grande. I think support for a blanket amnesty for 11 million unlawful immigrants and an end to the fixation on border security might seriously help Republicans with Latinos. And it is high time that conservatives stop demanding that we complete that silly border fence; perhaps they should even call for dismantling that anachronism once and for all.
3. Affirmative action and diversity. I would put emphasis on the salad bowl and forget the archaic and now mythical melting pot. The more hyphenated names, newly acquired accent marks, and trilled Rs the better. There should be hundreds of Republican Latino-American and Republican Viva la Raza committees. It also would be wise to stop the nativist fringe nonsense about English as the official national language. Instead, conservatives should welcome bilingualism in the schools and encourage simultaneous Spanish-language translation at their conventions and campaign stops. The way of the future is multilingual ballots, government forms, and IDs that do not seek to privilege one tradition over another.
4. State spending. Republicans are apparently unaware that their mantra of smaller government is a dog whistle for cutting state spending and employment for the less-well-off. Yet many first-generation Latino-Americans rightly see government employment the post office, the DMV, the county offices, the schools as an important bridge into the middle class. When Republicans talk of cutting spending, Latinos feel targeted. Why cut the hours of a DMV employee so that a grandee in Atherton has low enough taxes to afford a third Mercedes? To win the Latino vote, conservatives have to concede bigger deficits, higher social spending, and more government employment. They should examine very carefully the demographics of Jerry Browns winning campaign to pass Proposition 30, which just ensured that California will have the highest taxes in the nation and will be able to continue to provide the most generous welfare support and state-employee compensation packages. (As my same friend put it, If rich guys want to leave California, well, good riddance.) If Republicans could fashion something like Prop. 30 on the federal level, they might receive as large a percentage of the Latino vote as did the California ballot initiative. If George W. Bush received a larger Latino vote than did Mitt Romney, perhaps it was not because of his halting Spanish, but because of his compassionate conservatism as embodied in No Child Left Behind, an enhanced unfunded prescription-drug Medicare benefit, and a vast increase in annual deficit spending and the size of the federal government. Note how loudly opposing most of what Bush did led to shrinkage in the Latino vote for Romney in 2012.
5. Them. Barack Obama brilliantly and cynically created a loose coalition of those with grievances against the supposed white male establishment. It did not matter that some members of this coalition were multimillionaire elites like Elizabeth Warren or affluent Chinese-Americans or Cuban-Americans who are the grandkids of those dispossessed by murderous Communists in Havana or Beijing. The Obama administrations four-year barrage of my people, punish our enemies, a nation of cowards, the Skip Gates pontification, the Trayvon Martin if-I-had-a-son line, Eric Holders charges of racism over the Fast and Furious investigation, the whites-in-Hell slurs from Joseph Lowery, who gave the benediction at Obamas inauguration in 2008, the hyphenated campaign committees, the executive orders, Sandra Fluke, the constant charges of racism by the liberal media, the weekly outraged Black Caucus all of that insidiously created a climate of socially acceptable anti-old-white-guy feeling that anyone not of that suspect group could buy into and anyone of that unfortunate group could buy out of by loudly proclaiming his support for Obama.
Is this not a model for capturing more of the Latino vote? If the Republicans could nominate a non-white-male, then he could rally the forces of non-white-maleness and find a majority coalition based on collective grievances. Chinese-Americans would vote with Japanese-Americans. Rich Cubans would vote with poor Oaxacans. Third-generation upper-middle-class Arab-Americans could even join with Jewish-Americans on the rallying cry that they had grievances against them. If a conservative Marco Rubio or Bobby Jindal or better yet, Nikki Haley could wage such an us/them campaign, where could the white male voter really go?
Short answer: Nowhere.
If what liberals say is true that the Republican party is rightly lumped together as too white, too old, too male, and too in control why not, then, have Republicans run a stereotyped class/race/gender campaign against themselves? Why not point to the supposed mess America has become after 238 years, and say, We think you can do better?
Why not Vote for us, because we dont like ourselves all that much either?
NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author, most recently, of The End of Sparta, a novel about ancient freedom.
Emulating a collection of losers, is not a “winning strategy”.
WHy not merge teh Republican and Democrat parties into one big political juggernaut?
Americans need never vote again.
Many Latinos love Banana republic dictators. This is why they vote democrat.
It will never work for the GOP because the dems will just keep moving the goal posts to the left. And everyone understands you get more free stuff if you vote for the winner.
A few tweaks here and there, and the average ‘Rat would agree with every word of it.
VDH is behind the power curve on this. The GOP is already salivating over amnesty and the DREAM act, even in the face of the reality that Hispanics will consistently vote dem 3-1.
It's pretty much a formality now. "Do you want the extreme leftist (D), or the crypto-leftist (R)?"
There is no way to win, other than a James T. Kirk "Kobiyashi Maru" scenario - the best of which is for conservatives to register as Democrats en masse and start electing conservative candidates everywhere we can. The Left will never see it coming, and it will take them years of frantic effort to reprogram all the anti-GOP memes they have crammed into their mush-skulled adherents.
If the Pubbies run with a “chicken in every pot” the Dems will run for two or three in every pot and then excoriate the Pubbies for being so mean that the one chicken is not enough. You can never win that way.
Like Rush has stated over and over; if you run a real conservative and espouse conservative values you win. History has proved it.
The RNC is full of rich liberals who look down on the citizens of the US with disdain and have as much contempt for us as the Dems.
Here in Virginia, Bob McDonnell did well with Hispanics (40%+) during his gubernatorial campaign in 2009 by speaking to the expansion of businesses and jobs. Rarely did the subject of immigration ever come up. Whoever wants to win these people over in a future election should hire the Governor’s campaign team. Like increasing numbers of Americans, most Hispanics prefer big, powerful government entities standing over them, but GOPers can slice off larger shares of their voting populace with McDonnell’s approach.
Back in the 70’s way before Hispanics and immigration was an issue, a cousin of mine told me something like(emphasize like, wish I remembered exactly, she is now gone)that it is impossible to translate our founding documents into Spanish as there is no comparable language or concepts. She was hardly anti-anything, ignorant or bigoted. She and her family often hosted exchange students from Latin America, she taught English to Spanish-speaking immigrants and travels much in Latin America.
Corruption and national “giving in” suicide, the “winning” fluke formula.
Give them a welfare pacifier and buy a whole lot of free speech shutting in exchange for giving latex taste in her mouth.
I don't disagree, but didn't he have the advantage of running in an off year election which didn't have the disadvantage of bringing out legions of zombie and brainless voters to support their false Messiah?
I am Hispanic from the Midwest. most Hispanics live conservative and vote liberal like many white families. it goes back to JFK. I remember visiting Hispanic homes in the 60 s and 70s and seeing JFKs picture on the wall. He was the first Catholic prez. Many black evangelical blacks voted because BO is black. I remember seeing Steve Harvey (u can probably find it on YouTube) in 2008 and he said that he didn’t care what BO did, he was going to vote for him because he was black. I think it is all about emotions and feelings. It sounds compassionate, when you say you want to help people, feed them give the working families something. I know the argument, “ you show compassion by giving people a job” and not handouts. Americans have become like woman (I bet that 90% of Freepers are men) and they vote because it sounds good, clean air, free medical, food stamps. The libs care about people, that is the perception. The GOP will never win until they can show compassion and sell economic growth as compassion. We need to take back the educational system first. Where are the GOP statesmen, going out and selling their views. You can’t compete with Oprah and daytime TV. You all are going to think that this is crazy but I think Sarah Palin show have a daytime talk show like Oprah. It would do more to sell conservative values than any office. Fight fire with fire.
A whole new line of Blow-Pops® suckers?
Visit this thread and view Tea-Party conservative Steve Pearce's win in NM-2, a district with only 34% Republican registration. He won with over 59% of the total vote.
>>Why not merge teh Republican and Democrat parties into one big political juggernaut?
>>Americans need never vote again.
They are working on it, day by day.
Having the media lie by saying your opponents and their policies are all racist is not a strategy that is available to us.
Is this kind of what it was like on the Titanic? Listening to the music,dancing and having a gay ol’ time.