This is Gonna Be Good! Republicans, Politics, Hispanics, 2014 & 2016

Posted: Apr 22 2014

Remember the swift and resounding Mitt Romney loss heard around the world? Yup, not hard to forget.  A large part of Mitt’s loss was attributed to his being out-of-sync with working class voters, many of which are Hispanics. Take a look at Mitt Romney’s percentages. Hispanics cast their vote with 27% for Romney and 71% for Obama. With such a resounding statement made via the ballot by Hispanic voters, Republicans have been re-evaluating their game plan ever since, throwing their hats into an all-out effort to court Hispanic voters as they look to not just the presidency, but also 2014 mid-year elections. 

With that in mind, this November 2013’s elections had a lot riding on them. Would their newly ‘Hispanic’ campaign efforts work? As a great illustrative point - the ‘San Francisco Gate’ and ‘Business Insider’ put it this way in an article this week, ‘We’ve never been to a Republican campaign rally before where it was difficult to interview the attendees over the blaring salsa music’. Yep, it’s a new world with a new voter demographic for Republicans and they’d respectfully love your vote.

These new efforts by Republicans to attract a new audience panned out 50/50 on voting day this month. The RNC took New Jersey, and they gave up Virginia. In Virginia, a hard extreme right stance on issues, and a closed candidate selection process via convention vs. a primary led Republicans to, as the Washington Post so eloquently put it, ‘the [Virginia] Republican ticket failed after being sabotaged by the establishment’. McAuliffe garnered 66% of the Hispanic vote, whereas Cuccinelli picked up just 29%. That’s almost par on Romney’s national showing.

The bright star in this is Governor Chris Christie’s win in New Jersey. Now there’s the something the Republicans can rest their laurels on this year. Not only did they capture 51% of the Hispanic vote with Christie’s win, they did so while running against Barbara Buono and her Latina running mate, Milly Silva. In fact, Christie captured an increase of 19 percentage points of the Hispanic vote this year over four years ago. So right now, you betcha Republicans are taking a look at both campaigns and studying how New Jersey went right, and how Virginia went so very wrong.

Christie launched a targeted Hispanic vote campaign this year, including a Spanish-language ad campaign, as well as reaching out to Latino leaders, and even talking in Spanglish on campaign stops. Could this be Ronald Reagan’s words, still holding true even today?  Reagan once said ‘Latinos are Republicans – they just don’t know it yet’. Now remember, Reagan took home a record setting 35% Hispanic vote (record setting at the time for Republicans). 

Okay, this is several decades later, times have changed, but if there’s anything I know for certain, the Hispanic vote is up for grabs in 2014 and 2016 and not to mention 2020. So quite frankly, I’m going to sit back and watch, ‘cause this is gonna be good.

-Zee Diaz
Zee is a writer for Hispanic.com. 

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