presidential election in November if he doesn’t get substantial support from Hispanics.
“It spells doom for us,” Romney said at a fundraiser last week.
Romney’s sobering revelation is right on point — and for once, I agree with Romney.
Doom is a powerful word for a politician who is running for the nation’s highest office; it implies a sense of finality. The definition of doom says it all: “fate or destiny, especially adverse fate; unavoidable illfortune.” None of these terms sets an uplifting tone for a national political campaign.
Romney, the soon-to-be GOP nominee, didn’t say he may be in trouble if he doesn’t win-over Hispanics; he didn’t say it still might be a close election if Hispanics don’t turn out for him.
He didn’t mince words.
It’s because Republicans did the math. They know Hispanics are the country’s fastest-growing minority group, with a 43 percent increase in population from 2000 to 2010, and are expected to nearly double their population by 2050. America’s Latino populace is now 50.5 million people. Between now and Election Day, 50,000 Latinos are due to turn 18 each month and some political strategists predict that 12.2 million Latino voters will turn out in November.
Polls show President Barack Obama with a substantial 47-percent margin over Romney among Hispanics. And worse, Romney is having serious trouble delivering his message –whatever that is – to the Latino electorate. This week, for example, during a Republican National Committee roundtable designed to emphasize the GOP’s Hispanic get-out-the-vote effort, RNC Hispanic Outreach Director Bettina Inclán couldn’t clearly articulate Romney’s position on immigration.
“I think as a candidate, to my understanding, that he’s still deciding what his position on immigration is,” Inclan said about Romney. “So I can’t talk about what his proposal’s going to be, because I don’t know what Romney exactly — he’s talked about different issues. And what we saw in the Republican primary is that there’s a very diverse opinion on how to deal with immigration. So I can’t talk about something that I don’t know what his position is.”
What? Here’s the director of Hispanic outreach for the RNC who doesn’t know what Romney will offer Hispanics if he’s elected president? What an insult to Hispanic voters – and another half-baked attempt by Republicans to pander to an electorate it doesn’t really care about.
“What we’ve seen is some Hispanics feel [that] the Republican Party isn’t doing enough to include them in what we’re doing, to reach out to them,” Inclán acknowledged after her train-wreck of a press conference. “What we’re trying to do is rebuild that relationship.”
Good luck with that.
If you believe Howard Dean, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, courting Hispanics successfully will never happen because Republicans “don’t like Latinos” and “don’t care about the average working American.”
“They don’t like Latinos, they want to take money out of college students’ pockets,” Dean said. “Their priorities are not the right priorities for America.”
It will be very difficult – if not impossible – for Romney to garner the same support from Hispanics the way Obama has done already. Last month, the Obama campaign announced a new initiative, “Latinos for Obama,” designed to mobilize Hispanic voters – “the largest ever national effort to engage Hispanic Americans in their communities and involve them in the upcoming election through voter registration, volunteering and voting.”
The first in a series of 30-second Spanish language television and radio ads features first-person tributes to Obama and will air in Colorado, Florida and Nevada.
“It’s very, very clear,” Rep. Charles Gonzalez (D-Texas), chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, told The Huffington Post. “Romney has not in any way advanced any affirmative immigration policy other than to criticize this president.”
In a press release announcing the ads, the Obama campaign said the health care law would make affordable health care available by 2014 to up to 9 million Latinos who previously did not have health care insurance and will allow 736,000 Latinos to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans.
That’s a plan.
And to make matters worse for Romney, the Republican-controlled House pushed through an amendment this week that would stop the Department of Justice from bringing new challenges to nine state racial profiling, anti-immigrant laws.
“It’s no secret that Latinos will be a deciding factor in this election,” said Jim Messina, Obama’s campaign manager.
I guess Romney didn’t get the memo.