Thursday, April 18, 2024

Comentarios from Maria: “Is the GOP dominating Latino recruitment?

While it would certainly be great to see more Latino Democrats running and winning in Senate races and gubernatorial races (though Rick Perry should look out, San Antonio Mayor and newly minted DNC Convention Keynote Speaker Julian Castro is nipping at his heels), nothing could be further from the truth.

Dems have worked closely with Latino elected leaders at all levels all across the country to recruit great candidates for office.  As a result, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus will likely see the largest jump in Membership in its history come November.  From Joaquin Castro (Julian’s twin brother) running in TX-20 to Astronaut Jose Hernandez in CA-10 to Michele Lujan Grisham in NM-01 or Joe Garcia or Gloria Romero Roses in FL-26, Democratic Hispanic candidates for Congress are running strong and will add to the Democratic voices in Congress who are on the right side of the issues most important to Latino families.

As a Latina, I think it’s great that Latino candidates are being elected in both parties – the more both parties fight for our votes, the better it is for the community at large.  And it is high time Republicans are diversifying their ranks – welcome to the new demographics of the 21st Century GOP!  But there is no question in my mind that from a substantive and issue stand point, the GOP is still in the dark ages as it relates to being relevant to Latinos and even understanding how to speak to our community with respect.

The big difference between Latino Democratic elected officials and Latino Republican elected officials, putting aside that Latino Democrats still outnumber Latino Republicans by 10 to 1, is that Latino Dems are connecting with Latino families on policies that will help those families get ahead.  From jobs (reducing the Latino unemployment rate from a high of 13 percent that came from the Bush recession) to healthcare (the ACA gives 9 million Latinos health care coverage that didn’t have it before and Latino GOP electeds want to take that away from Latino families) to education ($5 billion investment in Head Start which is used by more than a third of Latino children, 150,000 Latino students with new Pell Grants, both programs that GOPers want to cut), to immigration where the entire GOP Senate turned their back on the same legislation that 23 GOP Senators supported just a few short years ago.

And it is worth noting  that the damage done to the GOP by extreme voices like Kansas State Rep Virgil Peck who stated that the fix to immigration would simply be shooting “illegal immigrants from helicopters like they do feral hogs…” will not easily be undone no matter how many new Latino faces the GOP recruits if those faces and more importantly the GOP leadership do not stand up to those extremists and say “Basta!” which means “Enough!”  Until that happens, you will not see more Latino voters flock to the GOP anytime soon.  The latest poll has Romney at 22 percent and Obama at 70 percent with Latinos.  Unless Romney can get to at least 40 percent, which he is certainly not making a concerted effort to do so, he will never see the inside of La Casa Blanca, no matter how many Latino GOP candidates are elected elsewhere.