Can Republicans Ever Win the Latino Vote?

While the media touted the potential punch of the Latino vote, at least one person seems to have been thoroughly blindsided by it:

The former GOP presidential hopeful [Mitt Romney] told ‘Fox News Sunday’ that he knew his campaign was in trouble when exit polls suggested a close race in Florida. Romney thought he’d win the state solidly.

Obama ended up taking Florida and won the election by a wide margin in the electoral vote.

Romney says there was ‘a slow recognition’ at that time that President Barack Obama would win — and the race soon was over when Obama carried Ohio.

Romney says the loss hit hard and was emotional. Ann Romney says she cried. …

Romney says his campaign didn’t do a good job connecting with minority voters, and that Republicans must do a better job in appealing to Latinos and African-Americans.

Uh, duh, Mitt.

Yet it might be too late for the Republicans to win back Latinos, at least the younger generation of Latinos.

While Latinos over 40 are generally in the GOP’s wheelhouse, those under 40 tend to be more progressive, supporting hot-button issues like gay marriage, abortion rights, marijuana legalization and fairer immigration reform.

Plus, young Latinos dominate social media — even more so than their non-Latino peers — using it to receive news and spread ideas. And in case you missed the last election cycle, social media isn’t exactly the GOP’s strong suit anymore.

Not only was the anti-immigrant rhetoric during the Republican debates largely viewed as anti-Latino, but the party also has an image problem when it comes to women (despite Romney’s secret binders). Add to that that Latino women are the most progressive creatures on the planet, and the GOP’s chances of winning over Latinas appear negative 2 percent.

That’s really the party’s most serious obstacle in gaining Latino support — its social views.

For all the talk that Latinos’ entrepreneurial spirit, work ethic, religiosity and family values make them natural born conservatives, Latinos still don’t like it when people are discriminated against, because it’s quite easy for them to empathize.

Latinos don’t like to hear a party labeling struggling families as “takers,” because a lot of those struggling families have Spanish surnames.

Latinos don’t like hearing a party say it wants to cut education spending (or do away with the Education Department entirely), because a lot of Latino kids go to the inner-city schools that need such funding the most.

True, Latinos are more conservative when on abortion and gay marriage. But even then, they don’t like hearing a party say it wants to place bans on such issues perceived more personal than public. Mamá y Papá may lean pro-life or anti-gay, but it’s for them to discuss and maneuver — and not for the government to mandate. (Anyone with a Latino parent knows that while your mother or father might give you an earful over something you did or didn’t do, they’ll be damned if someone else criticizes their kid.)

And, as if it needed to be reiterated, Latinos don’t like to hear a party saying it wants to make life hell for the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States, because most of that 11 million are their co-workers, neighbors, friends and relatives.

Clearly the Republican Party has an elephantine problem concerning its plans to win over Latino voters ahead of the 2014 midterm elections — mainly, that it’s the Republican Party.

GOP principles — which the party has every right to uphold and advocate — simply don’t gel with much of the Latino population, especially the younger generations. Younger Latinos who’ve only known a Republican Party on the extreme right and vitriolic toward Latino immigrants are unlikely to ever vote Republican in their lives. People naturally hold grudges, and it’s difficult for sheep to believe the wolves that insist they’ve gone vegetarian.

At the end of the day, the party can either give up on the issues it’s championed since forever in hopes of winning minority voters (and, thus, the White House), or it can continue to champion those issues and give up on winning minority voters (and, thus, the White House).

Republicans are quite literally between a rock (its principles) and a hard place (minority voters).


[Photo: DonkeyHotey]


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