Romney’s Message to Latinos: Don’t Get Emotional About Immigration and Let’s Talk About The Economy

By Alex Gonzalez

For a long time we have had paid advisers and Latino Republican operatives telling us that Latinos could be won over to Romney with an economic message. But, they were wrong 6 months ago and they are wrong today since the favorability for Romney among Latinos is the same as it was in April of this year.  As a result, Romney—and his Latino surrogates–will not get Latino vote if he insist in telling Latino voters  to shut down their emotions and merely think about everything in economic terms. Moreover, Romney and the RNC don’t want Latinos to be emotional about immigration but they want Latinos to be emotional about supporting Israel, they want Latinos to be emotional about abortion, and they want Latinos to be emotional  about gay marriage. Consequently, this mismatch, is precisely the problem with Romney’s deficit with Latino voters, he is chasing a false premise. Romney’s favorability will not improve among Latino because his advisers keep turning  an emotional issues into an economic one,  and thereby, wanting to force Latinos into giving up their emotion, demands that are not asked from pro-lifers, supporters of Israel, and anti-gay marriage supporters.

In March of this year Foxnews Latino had a poll showing that “immigration – and the tenor of discussions on the campaign trail about immigrants – clearly matters a lot to Latinos on a personal level. Indeed, for many Latinos, immigration is personal. Nearly half of these U.S. citizens take offense at the term “illegal immigrant,”

Too, the liberal Latino Decision polling had a similar poll. And just a month ago Gallup had a poll showing that for first generation of Latinos the issue of immigration is personal and emotional.  According to the Gallup, “Hispanics prioritize immigration, healthcare, and unemployment to equal degrees.” So the idea that Romney can improve his favorability among Latinos by having Marco Rubio talking about immigration while Romney himself talks only about the economy has not worked.  Just because Latino Republicans  repeat on TV the same thing over, and over, it does not mean it becomes true, and it is bad strategy because you are running a campaign against what voters really want to talk about.  And yes, it is, and will be emotional and personal for Latinos. Thus, Romney and those Latino surrogates that keep telling Latinos to shut down their emotions—don’t talk about immigration–need to take a page from the George W. Bush’s book of Rio Grande Family value, if they really want Latinos to warm up to Romney

Furthermore, for Romney and his high-paid advisers it is as thought the emotions of Latinos are not important because they presume Latinos can simply shut down their emotion and forget that care about immigration. In essence, Romney team’s and the RNC want Latinos to keep thinking in economic terms only while avoiding the fact the GOP Platform drafted  Kris Kobach contains all his progressive Big Government immigration amendments while rejecting the Texas Solution for a sensible Guest-Worker bill. But all those amended about immigration by Kobach are based on pure emotional “fear tactics”, not facts. But wait, Latinos are not supposed to focus on the fact that entire platform is base on impracticalities and heavily emotional rhetoric more than actual policy.

In reality, politics is as much emotional rhetoric that is how Kobach got his amendments in the RNC Platform because they have no applications to actual conservative policies. Thus, those advising Romney that politics is only about economics will soon wake up to the emotional reality that Latinos do care about immigration.  Here are the amendments to which Romney and the RNC don’t want Latinos to get emotional about.

The Rule of Law: Legal Immigration ( p.26)

  • Illegal immigration undermines those benefits and affects U.S. workers. In an age of terrorism, drug cartels, human trafficking, and criminal gangs, the presence of millions of unidentified persons in this country poses grave risks to the safety and the sovereignty of the United States.  
  • we oppose any form of amnesty for those who, by intentionally violating the law, disadvantage those who have obeyed it. through verification systems so that jobs can be available to all legal workers. Use of the E-verify program—an internet-based system.  When Americans need jobs, it is absolutely essential that we protect them from illegal labor in the workplace.
  • Republican Administration and Congress will partner with local governments through cooperative enforcement agreements in Section 287g …We will create humane procedures to encourage illegal aliens to return home voluntarily, while enforcing the law against those who overstay their visas.
  • In order to restore the rule of law, federal funding should be denied to sanctuary cities that violate federal law and endanger their own citizens, and federal funding should be denied to universities that provide instate tuition rates to illegal aliens, in open defiance of federal law.  

These amendments are purely emotional so why didn’t’ Romney tell the delegates not to be so emotional about immigration  and only focus on the economy?  So Forget about the fact Latinos are emotional about this issue and see this as a personal attack. Too, let’s just forget about the fact that Republicans politician and businesses in Texas and New Mexico openly reject E-Verify. Let’s just forget about the whole thing of States Rights and allowed all those eccentric delegates in Tampa tell to Republican governors (Texas) what to do about in-state-tuition for undocumented immigrants (the Texas Dream Act). After all, this is a state matter, as Rick Perry openly warned outsiders. Isn’t it?  And yes, now “illegal” will have to “self-deport” since we “will create humane procedures” for them to return home; and surely, the Tampa delegates and Kobach will pick the crops in the fields.  If those delegates would have just listened to Jeb Bush–“stop acting stupid”—Romney may have had a chance to woo Latinos.

Sadly, Romney’s adviser are letting all the outlandish delegates score all the bad points with bad immigration policies and they pretend nothing is happening . For example,  Politico wrote that the Top Republican Floridians are advising Romney not to mention the” I” word.

They cautioned against mentioning the politically charged “I” word in his address to the nation…. “I don’t think tomorrow night is the speech to address immigration … I don’t think you can sidestep it between now and November simply because it continues being the elephant in the room, but tomorrow night is for all Americans,” Navarro said at the event. “It’s that speech to unite all Americans and bring in themes to make us all believe that he can turn this thing around… I think it’s about going big.”  

Thus, The way the Romney’s adviser see this is very simple: don’t talk about immigration, and tell Latinos elected official not to talk about immigration in their speeches. The advisers even sent Ann Romney to a Latino voters in a luncheon speech on Wednesday, suggesting the

Hispanic community They are mistaken if they think they are going to be better off with Barack Obama as their president,” she said. “There really is only one way for prosperity, for small business, and that is this is the simplest way I can say this: If Mitt Romney wins, America wins.”

Therefore, Mitt Romney’s advisers and the outlandish delegate, who irresponsibly drafted insensitive views that are offensive to Latino voters, are the real threat to Romney’s campaign. But, when the Party acts “stupid”, Latinos Republicans–like those who spoke at the Covetion–are supposed to remain quiet and keep taking about the economic; and that is how you want voters over. Really! . According to Jeb Bush, “The future of our party is to reach out consistently to have a tone that is open and hospitable to people who share values,’’ he said, adding “the conservative cause would be the governing philosophy as far as the eye could see … and that’s doable if we just stop acting stupid.”   

The Real problem is the RNC Tampa Convection was nothing like the party of George W. Bush that Latinos were so emotionally endeared to. Moreover, while Team Romney does not want Latinos to be emotional, these “Tampa Republicans” actually have become more culturally conservative than the party of W. Bush, and thereby, pushing for purely emotional issues, like aborting and anti-gay marriage amendment. Moreover, while attempting to suppress the emotion of Latinos voters and immigration, the RNC and Romney displayed a  video Israel and Jewish flags to thousand of viewers. So when it come to emotional  issues important to Romney and  the RNC, such Israel, aborting and gay marriage,  Latinos need to throw away their economic concern and focus only on the emotional issues the outlandish  delegates dratted in their national party platform such abortion.  Can Romney ask Jewish voter not to talk about Israel, and pro-lifers not talk about abortion and merely focus on the economy?

As the WSJ argue this Tampa Republicans, and religious conservatives have become a core part of the GOP coalition.  But it also means adjusting its rhetoric and policies on immigration. A cranky, crabbed view of immigration sends a cultural message.  And this cultural message will matter when Latinos vote. Therefore, immigration, Israel, abortion, and gay marriage are equally emotional and they all involved and high degree of emotionally charged discussion than cannot be suppressed with simple economic talks or speeches. As a result Immigration, for Latinos, is personal, cultural and emotional and you cannot just shut it off with a speech.

More importantly, asking Latinos to restrain their emotions on immigration while sending them subliminal messages than they have to care about Israeli flags will not help Romney with Latinos. In fact, Romney needs to come out tight circle of advisers from Florida and come to border community in southwest and do what W. Bush called the “Rio Grande Family values” approach.  Only with the combination of Rio Grande family Values, and the suppression of “acting stupid”, Romney may have chance to get the 38% Latino vote required to become President.

Marco Rubio talking about immigration helps Marco Rubio, not Romney.  Kudos to the Republican Texas delegation for trying to insert the Texas Solution for a pragmatic guest- worker program for all those here with family roots and with no cranial record but evidently Kobach was the strongest in Tampa.

Also, this week many Republican leaders like Jon Huntsman, Jeb Bush and Mel Martinez argue that this is the perfect time to talk about immigration—based on economic needs. Thus, rather ordering Hispanic Republican not to talk immigration, Romney need to embrace this emotional issue if he really wants becomes President. The economic Party policies alone will not woo Latinos. The party needs leaders that make voters feel comfortable and connect their emotions with the party views. Thus, it is essential that Romney “work with is heart and soul” speaking with Latino voters  about immigration , not only his Hispanic Republicans surrogates .

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