Saturday, April 20, 2024

Guest Blogger Series Exclusive Edition: Tim Kaine and Michael Steele “Who Should Latinos Vote for?”

In this Special Edition of La Plaza’s Guest Blogger Series we have invited Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine and Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele to make their case to Latino voters on behalf of their respective parties.

Much has been made about the Latino vote in these midterm elections with poll after poll seeking to analyze and predict the impact of this voting bloc. Undoubtedly, Latino voters have the potential to be the deciding factor in any number of elections which could also tip the balance of power in both chambers of Congress. And while Latinos overwhelming supported Democrats in the 2008 elections, the same is not guaranteed this time around.

Latinovations thanks Chairman Kaine and Chairman Steele for their contributions to La Plaza.

Governor Tim Kaine

Governor Tim Kaine Democratic National Committee Chairman

By Governor Tim Kaine
Democratic National Committee Chairman

The priorities of the Latino community are the priorities of Democrats. As I travel across the country meeting with Latino and Hispanic members of our community, I see first-hand that Latinos identify with a Party that is diverse and welcomes all communities. Since President Obama took office, Democrats have lifted our economy from near collapse and fought for the workers and families who are the backbone of our country. While we know there is still so much work to be done, Democrats are committed to finishing the job. But we can’t do it without your support.

During the 2008 campaign, Latino and Hispanic voters stood with Barack Obama, organizing neighborhoods and talking to voters about shared goals of social and economic change – emphasizing “Si Se Puede,” the axiom of hope that tomorrow will be better than today. And together, we worked to make history.

Since 2009, Democrats have cut federal taxes for 95 percent of working families, expanded the State Children’s Health Insurance Program to provide coverage to 4 million additional children, passed Wall Street reform to stabilize our economy and protect consumers, and extended health insurance coverage to 32 million people – including to as many as 9-million Hispanics – while cutting health care costs. Democrats passed student loan reform, and estimates suggest that roughly 150,000 additional Pell Grant awards will be made to Hispanic students under this new law.

We confirmed Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, the first Hispanic ever to serve on the court – despite 31 Republicans voting against her.

I learned as a missionary in Honduras the vital importance of education and public service. That’s why I am so proud that Democrats pushed forward the DREAM Act to allow students to earn a pathway to citizenship through military service or a college education. Again, Republicans opposed.

Comprehensive immigration reform must be grounded in principles of accountability and opportunity. We must make sure that our national laws work and that our borders are secure. At the same time, we must appeal to people’s hopes and highest ideals – not to their fears. And we must give people a meaningful and responsible path toward citizenship when they agree to be accountable and play by the rules.
Each time Democrats try to move reform or the DREAM Act, Republicans stand in the way. The contrast is striking: Democrats champion “yes we can” – Republicans champion “no you can’t.”

To make matters worse, Republicans have escalated their rhetoric to new levels of offense. House Republican Leader John Boehner has suggested we rewrite our constitution so that children of immigrants born in the United States are no longer considered citizens.

Sadly, it doesn’t stop there. Just last week, a Latino Republican group called ‘Latinos for Reform,’ attempted to air an advertisement discouraging Latinos from voting. And just this week, I condemned Nevada senate candidate Sharon Angle for airing campaign ads spreading negative stereotypes about Latinos and attempting to suppress Latino-voter turnout.

Democrats have done just the opposite. We launched an unprecedented multimillion-dollar Hispanic outreach plan and a Spanish-language website with all the information that Americans need to register and vote – We’ve reached out to Hispanic voters through bilingual phone banking, bilingual materials, canvassing, and mailings to more than one-million households.

The bottom line: Republicans work to suppress the Latino community, Democrats work side by side with the community to empower it. Democrats need your support on November 2 to continue fighting to meet our goals together.

Michael Steele

Michael Steele Republican National Committee Chairman

by Michael Steele
Republican National Committee Chairman

Ronald Reagan got it right when he said, “God must have placed this land (America) here between the oceans to be found by a certain kind of people: that whatever corner of the world they came from, they had the courage-and the desire for freedom that went with it-to uproot themselves and come to this strange land.”

Helping Hispanic-Americans and Latinos feel at home in the GOP means we must avoid the Democrat party’s mistake of using these Americans purely as pawns in a head-count race to gain an edge in the next partisan scrimmage. We must recognize that, for most Hispanic-Americans and Latinos, the immigration issue is about family reunification and respect, and they are understandably offended when their culture and loved ones are trashed by the hyperbole of pundits and partisans. While this crass dialogue may make good political sport, it undermines a more dignified appreciation of a courageous and industrious people who are more than their votes.

That’s why the RNC refuses to imitate the paternalistic, utilitarian approach of Democrat party bosses. We propose instead a covenant between our party and the conservative Hispanic American and Latino communities. A covenant is more than a promise – it’s a bond, a pact, a warrant. It’s our word of honor that our tent will always be a “safe haven” for the views of Hispanic-Americans and Latinos on the issues that matter most to them.

The GOP is the natural home for the conservative values of many Hispanic-Americans and Latinos, especially in the area of education, small business and healthcare. A deeply religious tradition means that many Hispanic-American and Latino parents would prefer to send their children to parochial schools that work rather than the failing public schools in their neighborhoods. We stand with these parents in demanding quality educational opportunities for their children.

We also stand with the entrepreneurial class so characteristic of the Hispanic-American and Latino communities. The purveyors of big government would choke small business owners’ ability to grow jobs and wealth, with union mandates, health insurance penalties, crushing tax rates, and suffocating bureaucratic red tape. For those who want to start a restaurant, a landscaping company, a law practice or a travel agency, partnering with the GOP is the surest bet to get the government out of your way and out of your cash register, and to usher in business-friendly conservative principles to your community.

When it comes to the health of our families, many Hispanic-Americans and Latinos want their money supporting a system governed by conservative values, meaning the freedom to choose a doctor who speaks their language or attends their church, a faith-based hospital that respects life and the rights of parents, a clinic with extended hours to help out workers, or an insurance plan with just the right amount of coverage for their lifestyle and their wallet. In other words, the GOP’s core principles of freedom and choice are a natural match for Americans of all stripes who want to choose healthcare that’s right for their own families, rather than have those choices made by bureaucrats in Washington.

With all this common ground, there are more reasons than ever for Hispanic-Americans and Latinos to vote Republican. But inclusion is about more than votes – it also means ownership and leadership. That’s why the GOP leadership has redoubled our efforts to recruit talented Hispanic-Americans and Latino candidates to run for public office, including top-of-the-ticket talent like Brian Sandoval and Susana Martinez, both gubernatorial candidates in Nevada and New Mexico. The American people are about to elect ten Hispanic Republicans to the Congress, two governors already mentioned, two lieutenant governors (John Sanchez in New Mexico, and Abel Maldonado in California), one U.S. Senator (Marco Rubio in Florida), and many more at the state and local levels. Working hard to recruit and support these candidates from the Hispanic community all the way to victory was not just the right thing to do, or the politically smart thing to do. It was the only thing to do.

But all of our outstanding candidates need the support of hard-working Americans who are rightly demanding more jobs, lower taxes, and responsible government. I encourage everyone who cares about preserving the American Dream for future generations to exercise your right to vote. In this Republic, the people are king. Our children and grandchildren are depending on you.

Unlike other countries, America wasn’t founded along tribal, ethnic or geographical lines. Instead, we were born of ideas – heroic ideas of liberty, equality, and opportunity. Our unity is not in our skin color, native language, or where our parents came from, but in the conservative values of our founding, the same values that still secure the most freedom and prosperity for the most people. As RNC Chairman, I have committed to listen to all Americans, to their unique stories, and to refuse to treat people as faceless members of some identity group. We may share cultural and religious traditions with some Americans, but we share the American dream with all Americans. The GOP serves that dream hand-in-hand with Hispanic-Americans and Latinos as our candidates, partners, and brothers-in-arms to save America for future generations.


  1. I am a Latino voting on Tuesday and I am going DEMOCRAT!…how can the GOP make any case to capture the Latino vote if they’ve been spewing hateful anti-Hispanic rhetoric for the last several months! ridiculous….

  2. Republicans are the Pary of the big fat NO! and you’re asking me to vote for you really?! You support the issues important to Hispanic families??? REALLY?! so what happened the day you shut down the DREAM Act just recently??? what about all the anti-immigrant legislation out there in the works including SB 1070??? i could go on all day…I will NOT be helping out Republicans in these elections because your party has done nothing in turn except hurt Hispanics.

  3. Mr. Kaizer says

    Have you heard of the souther strategy? Republicans strategically alienated black voters to pander to the white vote for decades in the south. A republican party that welcomes tea party and irrational politics is not welcoming to me. How can i support someone that wouldnt even welcome me to their own home or to their dinner table. GOP is not welcoming to young latino folks like me. Dem all the way

  4. While I appreciate that Mr. Steele took time to share his thoughts, how does he think we Latinos are going to support the party of SB 1070 of Arizona Senator Pearce and Meg Whitman?!?!?

  5. I love this counterpoint series on La Plaza.

  6. I don’t believe that kids need to pay the price for their parent’s actions. But we should consider that they have lived here all of their life and know no other way other then the american way..GET that DREAM ACT passed..