President Barack Obama won the election with the help of the Hispanic vote, which went more disproportionately for Obama than any other ethnic group other than African Americans.
The GOP made more efforts to reach out to Latinos in 2012 than in 2008, but the Republican Party’s measures were weak. The GOP spent 2012 scrambling to catch up with the Democrats’ well-thought out Hispanic outreach campaign and the party talked about issues that, frankly, don’t appeal to the majority of Latinos at all.
The Hispanic, and yes, legal Hispanic, population is growing exponentially in the United States. According to the 2010 census, more than 25 percent of Americans between the ages of 19 and 35 are hispanic.
If a Dream Act is passed in Congress that provides a pathway to citizenship, it will only serve to increase the number of Hispanics who will legally be able to vote in 2016.
If the Republican Party fails to attract Latino voters, it will lose such a large portion of the electorate that it may never win another election.
The GOP needs to realize that it does have ways it can appeal to Latino voters without abandoning conservative values. This can be done in three major ways:
1. Put together a coherent plan on immigration – It has been said before but it needs to be re-emphasized. The United States needs a plan on immigration that makes sense, that respects the value of human life and that will bring economic stability to America. Republicans need to come up with a system that will reduce, if not get rid of, illegal immigration while promoting the same kind of legal immigration that made it possible for America to succeed in the first place.
2. Pose serious solutions for illegal hispanics already living in the United States – An estimated 11 million illegal immigrants live in the United States, according to the Department of Homeland Security. We are talking about a group of people larger than the entire populations of Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada combined. To insist on immediate deportation of this incredible number of people, some of whom have lived in the United States from infancy, would be simply un-American, not to mention impossible. This is not to say that the U.S. in any way needs to offer amnesty to illegal immigrants, but they need to offer a path to citizenship, like the one often championed by Senator Marco Rubio (R – Fl.), so that immigrants who are willing to work hard and become citizens, have that opportunity.
3. Boost underfunded Hispanic conservative groups – The GOP has strong conservative think-tanks and action groups, but the movement doesn’t do enough to boost their Hispanic or spanish-language sections. If the Republican party hopes to win over Latino voters, information about what it means to be a conservative is available to Hispanic immigrants who, so far, have only been spoon-fed Left-wing ideas. Major conservative organizations need to take the lead and devote more money, time and energy into increasing the reach of these great initiatives.
Whether the GOP is willing to admit it or not, the demographics of the United States are changing and if political platforms refuse to adapt, they will be left in the dust.