Friday, July 19, 2024

Gingrich Leads Conservative Outreach to Latino Voters

On the heels of the Republican sweep of the recent mid-term Congressional elections, the former head of House GOP members, Newt Gingrich, is trying to make inroads with one group of voters that rejected the conservative message – Hispanics.

Last week, Gingrich’s newest venture,, a bilingual political blog, hosted its first annual conference in the nation’s capitol.  According to the site, Americano seeks to “engage with like-minded individuals who value traditional principles.”

Among the several dozen speakers at this multi-day event were the former prime minister of Spain, Jose Maria Aznar, the Mexican ambassador to the U.S., Arturo Saukhan, and former Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez.  Jeb Bush, Jr. headlined the young conservative panel.

Topics covered in the panel discussions included “Why Hispanics are Natural Conservatives” and “Hispanics and the American Experiment: The Greatness of Conservatism.”

Gingrich’s name has been included on the long list of Republican hopefuls for the 2012 presidential nomination, and while he won’t confirm or deny his aspirations, he does tell a reporter for the Washington Post, “There’s a substantial number of Latinos now in Iowa. You can’t have a major party that doesn’t pay substantial attention to the most rapidly growing single part of the country.”

However, if Gingrich’s plan is to replicate former President George W. Bush’s success with the Hispanic electorate, he has an uphill climb ahead of him.  Despite the Republican victories last month, some of the most closely watched races, particularly the re-election of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada and the defeat of E-Bay CEO Meg Whitman in her try for Governor of California, were decided by the strong and overwhelming support of Latino voters for Democrats.

While national media is citing a figure of 60% as the rate of support that the Democratic Party received from Latinos, the polling firm, Latino Decisions, which specializes in measuring the Hispanic vote, puts the percentage breakdown as closer to 76-24 in support of Democrats in two party congressional elections.

Despite the lopsided advantage enjoyed by Democrats, Jorge Ramos, Univision’s well-respected anchor says of Gingrich’s efforts, “”It’s a matter of respect.  Newt Gingrich understands that.”

This is a far cry from some of the former speaker’s earlier stances.  Only a few years ago, Gingrich made headlines when he “described bilingual education as teaching ‘the language of living in a ghetto,’ and he mocked requirements that ballots be printed in multiple languages. “

Now, the Newt Gingrich of 2010, tells his interviewer, “Estoy cansado porque viajar para seis de los siete dias de esta semana.” (“I’m tired because I traveled for six of seven days this week.”)

In contrast to many in his party, Gingrich has embraced the need for comprehensive immigration reform saying he supports a “path to legality” for “many” undocumented immigrants.  And while this position may earn him some ire from members of his own party, he said his concern is making “sure he’s not too Latino for Latinos.”

Washington Post

El Americano

Washington Post 2007

Latino Decisions