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Ever since the election, the Republican Party has been talking about how they need to find a way to make inroads into the Latino community. They've also mentioned women and African-Americans, of course, but they seem to think that the big payoff will come from appealing to the Latino vote.

This is somewhat tricky, given that the conservative movement right now has a strong prejudice against Latinos, thinly veiled as concern over border security (in much the same way that their concern for religious freedom only applies to denying women contraception and their concern for voter fraud always seems to concentrate itself on areas with high populations of minorities.) But we are hearing about how they can't keep hammering away on "border security" and still expect to win any of the Latino vote. Republicans are talking about a "path to citizenship", and about how they need to have a proper grown-up stance on immigration reform if only because they can't win an election without it.

But when I hear this, I can't help but think that even the Republican attempts to moderate their racism are, themselves, racist. Because they assume that the primary concern of the average Latino voter is immigration, and that the party affiliation of this single-issue voting bloc will be determined by who best represents them on this issue. Which is a bit like assuming that you can win over all women by promising them birth control pills.

I would imagine that Latino voters are deeply concerned with immigration, simply because they have personal experience of the broken American immigration system (not necessarily first-hand, but personal--they know people within their community that have either had problems gaining citizenship, have been treated poorly because they are undocumented, or have been treated poorly on the assumption that they are undocumented.) But I would also imagine that they have strong concerns about improving wages and working conditions, because minority workers tend to be exploited by their employers. I would also imagine that they want a robust public school system and a sane policy on student loans because the path to success in America has always been generational--the immigrant parent ensures the future of the educated child. And yes, I would imagine that they care about birth control and family planning, because families with more children than they can care for have difficulty escaping the cycle of poverty. In other words, I would imagine that the concerns of Latinos are the same as the concerns of any other voter, because I would imagine that they are the same as any other voter. Shaped by their personal experiences, of course, but not focused entirely on a single narrow part of the political spectrum based solely on their race.

Of course, I do not speak for Latino voters. I wouldn't want to. That's why the title of this post is a question, not an answer. But I can't imagine that if I were a Latino voter and I heard the Republicans say, "No, we get it now. We heard your message loud and clear. Amnesty for immigrants, right?" that I would think anything other than, "No. You still don't get it."

I think that what Latinos want--what any minority wants--what any person wants--is to be treated like a person and not a demographic. And I don't think that treating them like a demographic to be courted is going to sound much better than treating them like a demographic to be demonized.

Originally posted to John Seavey on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 12:08 PM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  But, but, but... (15+ / 0-)

    A candidate with a Latino last name...that's what they need isn't it?

    Seriously? Yeah, they're serious. Because they really think Latinos and African Americans and women are that shallow and clueless.

    This is the same logic that brought you Sarah Palin to win over all the disaffected Hillary Clinton voters. Hey, she's a woman. And look: she's pretty! That'll win those wimen folk over!

    A complete and utter condescending disrespect for all non-white-male persons of any sort.

  •  Excellent post! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HappyinNM, Aspe4

    I believe that any attempts they make at outreach as you describe will be clumsy and uncomfortable at best.  The wolf (or in this case, the fox) can dress up any way he wants, but he's still a gnashing wolf (or rather fox).

    Aldus Shrugged : The Antidote to Ayn Rand. Tear Ayn, the GOP, and Fox News new orifices; laugh and enjoy. @floydbluealdus1

    by Floyd Blue on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 12:40:35 PM PST

  •  Trading one demographic for another (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HappyinNM, Mark Mywurtz, Aspe4

    Republicans are in a fix.  Their numbers at the poll are declining, and they need to pump them up.  Noticing the minute percentages of Latino support in the last election, they see that their numbers can only improve if they find a suitable front man.  Marco, perhaps.

    Their strategy has two flaws.  The first is based in a tendency to over-rely on figureheads, assuming the voters are too stupid to catch on.  The other is that the move towards Hispanics will alienate a substantial chunk of their support in the south -- the aging, white bigots.  The Repubs may consider this a suitable tradeoff, a growing demographic for a shrinking one, but it has substantial risk.

    We shall see.

    Bene Scriptum, Bene Intellectum.

    by T C Gibian on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 02:57:52 PM PST

  •  I find the whole thing really humorous. (5+ / 0-)

    Do the Repukes think that Hispanics are all blind and deaf? That they neither hear nor read? Having the discussion openly makes them look really stupid. This calls for Romney's idea of having discussions in quiet rooms. They need to study their policies and figure out which ones aren't appealing. Once they get rid of those, perhaps Hispanics may consider them a viable, acceptable party. Without that, they're just making asses of themselves, and lots of Hispanics are laughing.

    •  The GOP seems unaware that many are (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elfling, True North, Aspe4

      women, and some are gay, and some are small business owners, and some are teachers, and some are cops, and some are fire fighters, and some are parents, and many of them have parents, who have worked and paid into social security, etc....

      The GOP clearly sees hispanics and latinos as poor and single, and most likely male, without aging parents.

      The GOP presumes their "target demographic" (man or woman) would have ZERO concern for a daughter, sister, or mother who was raped, or for an elder parent who relies on social security and a part time job to get by.

    •  There is really only ONE angle that can and does (0+ / 0-)

      recruit Hispanic  Republican voters.  That would be radical religion.  Ignorance has no racial bias.

  •  Aside from the Miami Cuban vote -- (7+ / 0-)

    and mostly the older generation at that -- the Hispanic Republican vote barely exists, barely more than the Black Republican vote.

    Miami Cubans have been a fierce and influential power in Florida, hence national, politics for 50 years. It is THEIR boycott. They want to go back to Cuba and reclaim what is "THEIRS".

    They are, in fact, the oligarchs under Batista who made Castro necessary. They may have voted for Mitt, but their hearts are with Francisco. FRANCO.

    This group aside -- who have nothing in common with other Hispanic Americans, and nothing but disdain for them as well -- the Hispanic Republican vote is barely 15%.

    Of course, Mitt chose a Miami Cuban as his Hispanic campaign co-ordinator. Republicans like WHITE Hispanics.

    Perhaps we shouldn't let them know that they won't get any Hispanic votes in California, Texas, Colorado, Arizona, etc, with a bolillo like Marco Rubio.

    Let them keep after the 5% of American Hispanics who "look just like them". Let them blunder along.

    Miami Cubans aren't above using THEM, so ... let it be.

    President Obama was strong with Hispanics when he ran against Hillary.

    Hispanics -- other than Miami Cubans -- will NEVER vote for a Miami Cuban.

    •  And for that matter... (5+ / 0-)

      ... the Cuban bloc is no longer a Republican monolith either.  Generational shift - the kids grow up in America for a few generations, and no longer are interested in fighting Grandpa's political battles.

    •  So True! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LilithGardener

      You wrote:
      "This group aside -- who have nothing in common with other Hispanic Americans, and nothing but disdain for them as well -- the Hispanic Republican vote is barely 15%."

      Precisely!  And well done, sir.  

      That this eludes the Republican strategists says a great deal about them and their party, none of it good.

    •  Diverse Latinos (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LilithGardener, Aspe4

      You are right on the money. Just shows how ignorant rethugs are that they think Latinos can all be lumped into one group. Other than speaking Spanish, Latinos are a varied group and as you say Los Miamis are the outlier. Ni pienso de ellos quando pienso de Latinos.

    •  Well, the Republicans certainly do not have to go (0+ / 0-)

      only to Florida for White Hispanic conservatives.  Each state in the SW has a network of ancient Hispanic families.  The Native Americans have married white soldiers settling down after the Civil War and also contain far, far older Conquistador/Spanish and Jewish bloods.  These old rancheros progeny often pass for white.
      A 100 years ago, all these Patrones were Republican.

  •  And FWIW, (5+ / 0-)

    I'm an old Anglo-Saxon lawyer in Memphis who's fluent in Spanish, and whose clients are almost all Hispanics, and almost all immigrants.

  •  A person is not a demographic (4+ / 0-)

    People will choose their political positions based on their own values and beliefs.  Some people will be conservative and some will be liberal.  One party favors the power of the few, another favors the power by the masses.  Nothing new there.

    A demographic group is not either conservative or liberal.  Its members are, as individuals.  Democrats got large majorities from Latino and other minority voters because the GOP has been so determined to drive them away.  If they stop doing that, they will begin to get votes from individuals who hold conservative positions.

    Great diary.

    A new birth of freedom..

    by docterry on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 05:28:52 PM PST

  •  Guess which voters are the most supportive (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skrekk, kyril, LilithGardener, Aspe4

    of marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples?

    In most polls, it's Latino voters (although there is division along religious lines)...in most polls, Latino support for marriage equality surpasses white support.

    Now I don't think that marriage equality is as important as immigration but it is in the mix...particularly as the Latino vote skews younger

  •  They'll need more than "outreach" . . . (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kyril, quetzal, wasatch

    I don't think the Republicans are going to get very far with this half-hearted "outreach" to Latino voters. While every post-mortem that I've read from pundits on the right acknowledges the Republicans' Latino problem, scant few dare suggest that some policy change or reconsideration of ideological principles may be in order.

    No, the consensus seems to be that they can just shut up already about the border fence & "self-deportation", & maybe slap a Hispanic in the VP slot in 2016, & then this problem will be solved, or at least enough of a dent made in the numbers to get them to 50% + 1 on election day.

    But here's why I don't think it's going to work. The Republicans seem to think that they can base their appeal to Latino voters on their strident social conservatism. Also, now that they're trying to make nice, they've suddenly taken to viewing the immigrants they once scorned as Randian strivers who feel morally superior to all the "moochers" around them. Thus, the thinking goes, Latinos must share their scorn for health care reform, the social safety net & labor unions.

    On both counts I suspect they are quite mistaken. Even assuming for the sake of argument that a majority of Latinos are opposed to abortion, I've not seen much evidence to suggest that many of them are moved to be single-issue voters by it. And Latino support for Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, etc. & for unions is stronger than in the American public at large. So I don't see how very many Latinos would support a party that is ruthlessly, incessantly opposed to all those things.

  •  I think they want amnesty so that certain (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kyril, Aspe4

    industries have workers. I assume they were being pressured before this election. Immigrants actually boost the economy. They pay sales taxes, buy things, work, etc.

    I suspect the fact that Latinos are voting is an added push for the GOP and they are using it as an excuse.

    What I don't understand is the continued insistence on the "border security". That, to me, is over the top and slows down commerce on both sides.

    •  Certain industries should be off limits by law to (0+ / 0-)

      immigrant workers.
      Americans need to wrestle back some of the types of work that in the past, has provided a dignified living.  We need to decentralize that work.  It may be difficult to regulate small local producers, but that is the only way to integrate certain jobs back into communities where people live.
      Example, butchers and meat cutters.  They could be regulated like restaurants are regulated now.

  •  WOW! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jdld

    Thanks for all the great comments, and thanks to the folks who put this in the community spotlight!

  •  According to Rush just play Feliz Navidad (0+ / 0-)

    That constitutes outreach. He must think Latinos are pretty fucking stupid.

    The only thing we have to fear is fear itself - FDR. Obama Nation. -6.13 -6.15

    by ecostar on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 02:36:24 AM PST

  •  It's a first step. (0+ / 0-)

    Aside from the strategic disadvantage to us Dems of having a sane and less racist GOP, it's better for the country if they start reaching out.

    Honestly, I don't think it's going to be that hard for them to pull up their numbers with Hispanics if they can  bring themselves to marginalize the Sheriff Arpaios and the Jan Brewers.  They will do that eventually anyway.  It's just a matter of whether they can do it in four years or fourteen.

  •  I said pretty much the same thing (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    True North, Aspe4, Miggles

    Here.

    Republicans talk about Latino voters as if they are simple peasants who only care about one issue. It's pretty clear how much respect they have for them.

    Have a flagon and discuss the news of the day at the sign of the Green Dragon, or hear me roar on Twitter @MarkGreenFuture

    by Dracowyrm on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 06:23:00 AM PST

  •  Little more than a condescending pat on the head (0+ / 0-)

    For many of us ... the ones that can vote ... immigration is on the list of top 10 issues but it is not the first or even the second item on the list which includes jobs, healthcare, education and security (try being targeted by police and others ALL the time).

    And don't get me started on Jindal's "If we want people to like us, we must first show them we like them." All the while he does everything he refuses to set up a state health exchange and guts the education system.  

    Hello!! Latinos are poorer, younger and growing in numbers ... but not STUPID.  Wrapping up the same old garbage in new, pretty words and unconvincing smiles ain't gonna work.

    "Life without liberty is like a body without spirit. Liberty without thought is like a disturbed spirit." Kahlil Gibran, 'The Vision'

    by CorinaR on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 07:23:39 AM PST

  •  Republican logic is like a Beauty Pageant (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    True North

    They believe that parading Rubio before the public will cause the Latino population to significantly swoon and swing to Republicans. Path to citizenship? Go for it. Ha!

    It is economic issues that drive Latinos to Democrats just like all other demographics.

    Mr. Florida needs to shake off the tea party that nourishes him, IF he is ever to make strides with Latino voters.

    After all is said and done, a lot more is said than done.

    by Brahman Colorado on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 08:44:24 AM PST

  •  The GOP's Latino problem (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    True North, Aspe4, qofdisks

    The GOP's Latino problem in a nutshell:  When Republicans think/sees Latino's, the first thing that comes to mind is immigration.  

    Same with every other demographic the GOP has lost.  The GOP's fundamental philosophy is a caricature.  

  •  "They all look alike to me..." (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aspe4, Miggles

    The very fact that most white, old GOP guys think that one Hispanic face fills all niches shows how ignorant they are.

    Rubio is Cuban. That's different from Equadorian, Chilean, Mexican, or Colombian.

    And your last sentence "to be treated like a person and not a demographic" is very telling. You see how far Palin got in getting the woman's vote.

  •  They'll screw it up (0+ / 0-)

    Since they'll view it always through their own restricted cultural filters.  They won't see it from anyplace of "inside" a culture.  They are culturally tone deaf.

    "It's too LATE to stop now!" - John Lee Hooker

    by Rolfyboy6 on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 05:07:19 PM PST

  •  Immigrants have been crossing the Rio Grande (0+ / 0-)

    since ancient times.  There have always been immigrants or refugees crossing the Rio Grande.
    We have been living with Mexicans since forever.  We have had period economic and climate refugees of various European pedigree.  They are all strong and smart.  Bring on the small dark illiterate Indians.  Marry them.
    I am a product of Native American and European bloods for several generations.  My tiny and dark maternal grandmother married a giant German man, Pompo Joni.  They had 5 of the most beautiful daughters of the Mesilla Valley.  The youngest is my mom.
    I grew up with Mexican servants and field hands.
    The problem is that large employers replaced American workers with the cheap and easy exploitation of undocumented people.
    One solution would be to restrict type of employment reserving higher paid and more skilled positions for American citizens first.  
    It sounds like a caste system but, the caste already exists.

  •  Not to mention (0+ / 0-)

    ...that they lump "Latinos" into one big tent. Not so fast, GOPers. A Cuban is not a Puerto Rican is not a Dominican is not a Mexican is not a Central or South American.They come from different backgrounds and have different concerns. My Brooklyn-born Puerto Rican ("Nuyorican") son-in-law is pretty much a yellow dog Democrat and is outspoken in his distaste for Marco Rubio, not  because he's Cuban-American, but because he doesn't feel Rubio speaks for him or any other Latino who came up the hard way, though he might claim to. The Hispanics around here (mostly working class, of Mexican or Central American descent) don't seem to care for Republican policies much either. The whole Republican attitude, not to mention their approach, sounds patronizing and ignorant to me, an Anglo; I can only imagine how it sounds to my son-in-law or my neighbors.

    Being "pro-life" means believing that every child born has a right to food, education, and access to health care.

    by Jilly W on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 08:44:28 PM PST

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