Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Sights set on 2016, Hillary Clinton taps Latinos for likely presidential campaign


Though not yet having officially declared her bid for a place on the 2016 presidential ballot, Hillary Clinton has already begun enlisting Latinos for crucial campaign positions in early efforts to beef up her appeal to the fastest growing voting bloc. Trying to piggyback on President Obama’s 2008 and 2012 successes in attracting the Latino vote, Mrs. Clinton plans to name Amanda Renteria, an experienced political aide and first Latina chief-of-staff on Capitol Hill, to the post of national political director.

“Anybody who understands a national presidential campaign understands that the Latino vote is up for grabs,” said Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA). “And so if you’re going to disrespect us by thinking you can come in in the last two weeks and throw us a guacamole and tortilla chip party and say ‘Hola, amigo,’ and somehow we’re going to vote for you, it doesn’t happen that way these days.”

Trying to stay ahead of that curve, Mrs. Clinton’s early outreach is a strategy aimed at curbing the progress made by Republican presidential candidates in 2008 and 2012, Mitt Romney and Sen. John McCain, respectively, while newly appealing to the significant bloc. Jeb Bush, many democratic strategists fear, has a strong family history and message with which many Latino voters may be able to identify.

“[Bush] has very strong credentials,” said Harold Ickes, a strategist in Mrs. Clinton’s 2008 campaign. Jose Parra, a Democratic strategist on Hispanic issues, similarly noted that “Jeb Bush would be formidable” as an opponent should both Bush and Clinton win their parties’ respective nominations.

In any case, Renteria’s appointment as national political director should send a strong signal to all those watching the early phases of the campaign play out, and especially to Latinos looking for a presence on a campaign. But until official announcements of plans to run are made, these reports offer little more than speculation for what seems to be the nascent beginnings of a heated race.

The Wall Street Journal