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Wednesday | July 10, 2002

Latinos will not go GOP

Recognizing the importance of the Latino vote, both parties are going all out to court that constituency for the mid-term November elections.

Bush is not hated by Latinos. Yet Republicans delude themselves if they think there is genuine support for him within that community. Remember, his intense courtship of Latinos in Texas netted him only about 38 percent of that vote in his last gubernatorial campaign. His current poll numbers with Latinos stem from one factor -- Bush's handling of the WOT. Not only do Americans, in general support the war (and Latinos are no different), but there is intense pressure within the Latino (and other immigrant communities) to be as "American" as possible. Saying they support the president is one way to insulate themselves from 9-11-induced xenophobia.

While the Washington Post story quoted GOPers claiming Bush would help attract Latino support, this story from The Hill had a more honest assessment from a GOPAC spokesman:

We recognize that the president is hugely popular among Hispanics. That kind of cracks the door open, but itís not transferable in any way. Not up and down the ballot.
Truth is, Latinos (outside of Miami's Cuban community) do not trust the GOP. On every issue save one, Democrats are on the same wavelength as the Latino community. The exception is abortion, which heavily Roman Catholic Latinos oppose. But as a poor immigrant community, Latinos find more salience in issues such as immigration, education, preservation of their culture, and economic security (such as the minimum wage).

But Republicans have been using symbolism to woo Latinos. Republicans can brag about their Cinco de Mayo booths, yet such efforts fail to address the simple fact that Republican policy is diametrically opposed to the interests of the Latino community.

Indeed, Republicans can't even field Latino candidates in Latino districts. GOPAC's "Engaging Hispanic Voters" initiative makes this point clear:

The initiative will focus on helping Latino candidates with their fundraising and campaign operations. In addition, GOPAC will train non-Latino candidates who want to run in predominantly Latino districts.
Running Anglo candidates in Latino districts will not endear Latinos to the GOP, and, in fact, will simply reinforce the negative stereotypes Latinos harbor against Republicans. But then again, Republicans have been unable to recruit a significant number of Latino candidates, so instead, they offer Spanish for beginners.

I am Latino. Partisan, to be sure, but still plugged into my community. And from my vantage point, deep in the barrio, things are not looking good for Republicans.

Posted July 10, 2002 11:29 AM | Comments (1)





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