What is it with George Will and Latinos?

By Alex Gonzalez

While  the  establishment Republican and GOP strategists are advising Mitt Romney to improve his image with Latino voters by possibly selecting a Hispanic to the VP position, conservative columnist George Will argues that picking a Hispanic as VP will be a “faux” reality  to get Latino vote.

In his  WaPo Column on Sunday Mr. Will argued that

Faux realists will belabor Romney with unhistorical cleverness, urging him to choose a running mate who supposedly will sway this or that demographic cohort or carry a particular state. But are, for example, Hispanics nationwide such a homogeneous cohort that, say, those who came to Colorado from Mexico will identify with a son of Cuban immigrants to Florida (Sen. Marco Rubio)? Do these realists know that, according to exit polls, Nevada’s Hispanic Gov. Brian Sandoval, a Republican, won only about a third of the Hispanic vote in 2010?  

Mr. Will’s contention for a possible Latino VP candidate on the Republican ticket is that in the last election only  1/3 of Latino voted Republican  in Colorado; thus, Romney should not considered a Latino for the VP position since it won’t help to get Latino voters. But the actual Latino vote in Colorado was only 19%. Also, Mr. Will argues that Mexican-Americans in Colorado—who are the majority of Latinos—will not vote for the “son of Cuban immigrants”.

However, these are the very same reasons Mr. Will mentioned that the Republican Party needs “new flesh”, a new breed of optimistic Republicans leaders—candidates and elected officials—to  woo Latinos into the Party.  Mr. Will seems to forget that one  of the basic  rules of politics is coalition-building of voting blocs to win the majority, more than 50%, even if it is only  by a margin of 2 points.   For example, Colorado does not have large Hispanic blocs like the ones in California or Texas where Latinos already make a 22% share of the total state registered voters. In Colorado, Latinos are only 13% share of the total state vote—about 200,000.   In the 2010 senatorial and gubernatorial races in Colorado, both races were decided by a margin of 2 points 49% to 51% in favor of democrat candidates.  So If 40% of Latinos, as opposed to only 19%, would have voted for a Republican governor or Senator, Colorado would presently have a Republican and Governor and Senator.

 Moreover, in Colorado Latinos voted 81% for the democrats and only 19% voted Republican in 2010.  However, the only reason that 81% Latino voted democrat was not so much against the Republican Party as much as it was against Tom Tancredo who ran under the Constructional Party.  He was also known for volatile comments on immigration, and he was overshadowed by the Republican nominee Dan Maes.   Similarly, In Nevada, Latino vote was more against Sharon Angle than against the Republican Party.  In fact Sandoval received about 33% of the Latino vote, but Sharon Angle got only about  8 % of the Latino vote in the state. Than is In Nevada,  Gov. Brian Sandoval has twice vetoed the maps approved by the legislation, He argued that the maps, without a Latino majority district, violate the spirit of the Voting Rights Act, which bans racial discrimination in voting practices.

Therefore,  it is exactly what George Will opposes what the Republican Party needs to woo Latinos to the Party.  The Republican Party needs to tout candidates like Brian Sandoval and Marco Rubio as a new breed of Republicans, and it needs to move away from the Tom Tancredo and Sharon Angles if they want to win the presidency, even if it is by 2 points.   Colorado has only 9 Electoral college Vote and  50% of Latinos voting in the state can make the big difference since they are 13% of the state voting bloc.  Mr. Will does not think that the Latino vote is important enough to be courted in swing states. Conversely, Mr. Will has supported all legislations that have created a rift between the GOP and the Latinos community for the last 3 years. Even if the laws were unconstitutional.

In his article titled A Law Arizona Can Live With, Mr. Will argued that SB1070 than law may “inconvenience” some citizens.  This law was acceptable: “Arizona’s law might give the nation information about whether judicious enforcement discourages illegality.  If so, it is a worthwhile experiment in federalism.”  So Will thinks that the rights Latino of citizens–who mostly would be hurt by this law — can be infringed upon just to collect data.  Moreover, Mr. Will too, wants to change the Constitution to bar American citizens born on U.S. soil to undocumented parents from acquiring citizenship. He believes that the 14 Amendment needs to be “corrected” from its “misinterpretation of that amendment’s first sentences.”  Both of these issues have been the most devised between the Republican hard-liners and Latino community and Mr. Will feel comfortable suggesting the bogus legality of both laws.

It is puzzling why George Will cannot see the importance of wooing the Latino vote to the GOP. He presumes that Republican Mexican-Americans cannot vote on the issues.  Well perhaps if those like Mr. Will, Tancredo and Angle talk more like Reagan and W. Bush, the GOP would not have this problem in the firsts place.  He does not understand that the idea behind selecting someone like Rubio to the VP is mostly to unify the party and mend rifts that have emerged between Latinos and the GOP thanks to Conservatives  like himself  who have capitalized so much on the anti-Latino anti-immigration wave.  Latinos in Florida, Colorado, and Nevada are  just like any other group that wants candidates to listen to their pressing issues so they can  vote for those who pay heed to them.  And, this is not pandering; this is the way politics work.

comments at: alex@latinosreadytovote.com

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