The Republican State Leadership Committee announced last week a $3 million dollar initiate to recruit 100+ Latino candidates through their “Future Majority Project.” The effort caught the attention of many, including my friend and political opposite, Matt Ortega, who wrote a piece for the Daily Grito, a blog on politics and media with a Latino slant. Read Ortega’s piece – “GOP seeks to recruit 100 Latino candidates nationwide
I wrote the following counter point for the Daily Grito:
In a recent post on the Daily Grito discussing a new effort by the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) to recruit 100+ Latino candidates and empower Hispanic leaders, Democrat operative Matt Ortega focused on some extreme statements by a few Republican politicians. Ortega’s effort to paint all Republicans with the same wide brush stroke is just as bad as the examples he uses in his posts of negative immigrant rhetoric. Assuming all people are the same, because of one unifying characteristic is wrong – in any context. Let’s be honest: Democrats too have had their share of mistakes in connecting with Latino voters. From President Barack Obama’s broken promises on immigration to a Democrat Member of Congress telling Hispanics, “You all look the same,”when it comes to politicians, stupid statements are never in short supply.
The truth is that the RSLC’s plan is part of a continued effort to engage and connect with Latinos that has been underway for the better part of this century by top Republican leaders. President George W. Bush, RNC Chairman Ken Mehlmam, Mayor Giuliani, Senator Martinez, Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, Governor Jeb Bush and others have all routinely worked on projects to bring more Hispanics into the Republican Party.
The diversity of thought within the Hispanic community is more varied than our countries of origin or our football/fútbol allegiances. In California, a PPIC poll found that the largely Latino Democrat electorate was “ideologically conservative.” A survey of Texas Latinos demonstrated that more than half of Hispanics identified as conservative. Just last week, a survey of young Latinos (18-29) stated they where interested in limited government and reducing federal spending, which are basic Republican principles. Millions of Latinos identify with conservative ideology and Republican principles. In 2010 we saw a surge of Republican Latino candidates. Thousands more are waiting in the wings. They just need some additional support. That is when groups like the RSLC can help.
In an interview with Politico, Chairman Ed Gillespie talks about the RSLC’s minority recruitment program called the “Future Majority Project” – aimed at making a national impact, one state at a time.
“Gillespie said the project will also aim to rework Republican messaging to Hispanic voters.
“A lot of it is: What do you lead with?” he said. “And I think we need to lead with the fact that we are the party whose policies lead to greater economic opportunity, upward mobility, national security and the kind of family values that a lot of Latinos who come to this country share.””
As a Republican operative and a Latina, I understand both the challenges and opportunities of connecting with Hispanic voters. My philosophy in regards to the immigration debate is simple —“it’s a lot harder to talk bad about Latinos when we are in the room.” We need more Hispanics involved in the political process and in leadership roles in both parties. I welcome programs like the RSLC’s Future Majority Project to identify, recruit and train talented Hispanic leaders to elected office and the Republican Leadership. While Republicans have a long way to go with Hispanics, I look forward to seeing the GOP’s continued efforts to connect with Latinos and implement a full-scale program to engage, communicate and activate Hispanic voters.
Cross posted in the Daily Grito.