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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

GOP on Track to Deepen Latino Vote Loss in 2012

Yesterday TDS flagged a HuffPo post, “No Casa Blanca for the GOP” by Maria Cardona. It’s too good of a piece to let it go at that, so here’s a bigger bite in hopes of encouraging more Democrats to read it:

As a Latina…I find myself scratching my head and wondering whether the GOP candidates even know – or care – there is a powerful and growing Latino voting population in critical swing states that hold the key to any Republican who wants to work in the Oval Office.
During the last several GOP Presidential debates, I sat dumbfounded on several instances where the GOP candidates were unwilling or frankly, unable to even articulate a single thing they would do to capture the Latino vote. When that question was posed at the GOP Tea Party debate, not one candidate mentioned how they would create additional jobs for Latinos, or create additional economic opportunity. Instead, they tripped over each over trying to see who could use the phrase “government dole” more times, and who would do a better job of keeping the “illegals” out. It was downright offensive.

Cardona analyzes some election and polling data, and finds the GOP in big trouble with Latinos:

Matthew Dowd, a Republican pollster said in 2004 that if George W. Bush did not garner at least 40% of the Latino vote in that year’s election, he would not be elected. He got exactly that. So imagine if in 2004, the required GOP Latino vote share was 40%, in 2012, after an explosion of growth around the country and in key battleground states that percentage has got to be at least 44 or 45% if not more. But for the sake of keeping things statistically correct, let’s stick with 40%. In a few recent polls by Latino Decisions, a polling firm specializing in polling Latinos, the vote share for the Republican Party does not break 19%. That is a 21 point, jaw-droppingly huge gap the Republicans need to bridge in order to have a prayer of winning the White House in 2012.

Cardona has more to say about GOP cluelessness and/or indifference regarding priorities of Hispanic voters:

…If you look at the recent history of GOP candidates across the board and how they have run their campaigns, it seems the truth is much more disturbing….On every single issue that is important to Latinos – jobs, education, health care, small businesses, Social Security, and yes, immigration, the GOP presidential candidates are on the complete opposite side.
On jobs, the GOP candidates would drastically slash budgets and programs that would help keep Latinos employed or help the millions of unemployed Latinos across the country. On education, the GOP candidates would slash education investment and Pell Grants which have given hundreds of thousands of Latino students the chance to go to college. The GOP candidates would all repeal “Obamacare,” when it has provided 9 million Latinos health care coverage who didn’t have it before. We already know what the GOP wants to do with Social Security – if they are not calling it a Ponzi scheme and saying it is unconstitutional, they want to privatize it and put it in the hands of Wall Street. Social Security kept 20 million Americans out of poverty including almost half of Latino seniors.
On immigration, what Republicans don’t understand is what Latinos hear when GOP candidates say “We are for legal immigration but against illegal immigration.” When the GOP makes this statement, they normally follow it up with something like “we need to secure the border first.” To Latinos, this is code for “We will never support a path to legalization for the millions of ‘illegals’ who are here.”

As Cardona explains, “Again, the GOP is playing to their base, offering extreme right-wing platitudes and no real solutions, and continuing to alienate Latinos in the process. This is not a policy answer to the more than 12 million undocumented immigrants who are here and are not going anywhere anytime soon.”

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