Conservatives need to make serious changes to their outreach efforts in order to attract Hispanic voters, according to several prominent, young Hispanic conservatives.
In a document released Thursday, Brittany Morrrett, the Project Coordinator with a conservative Hispanic group The Libre Initiative and Sam Rosado, a freelance contributor on Hispanic issues for Politic365, The Daily Grito and Misfit Politics, along with Michelle Lancaster, a blogger from Texas, and Ben Domenech, a co-founder of RedState, editor of The Transom, and a fellow at the Heartland Institute, provide a how-to guide for conservatives on changes the movement needs to make in order to attract Hispanic voters and why refusing to would be a horrible mistake.
The 2012 elections were a wake-up call to Republicans and conservatives,” they wrote in the manual. “While the chorus of blame and finger-pointing ran rampant on television, radio, the blogosphere and social media, one underlying issue was being commonly accepted: the GOP and conservatives must reverse the devastating trend with the Hispanic vote.”
The main issue for conservatives, they wrote, should be not to win the maximum amount of votes but to promote freedom to as many people as possible.
Nevertheless, they argue that there are concrete things that conservatives can do to show Hispanics why conservatism is important.
The biggest problem, according to Morrett and Rosado, is a lack of “ground game.”
The GOP lags behind the Democrats because for years, the middle-aged to elderly white voting class has been the most reliable voting bloc, and they have traditionally voted for Republicans,” the document says. “Therefore, conservatives and the GOP have never had the need for a major ground effort to bring them to the polls.”
The second step should be to stop “throwing out nothing but Spanish TV ads” and start engaging the Hispanic media.
The document criticizes the GOP for just translating ads into Spanish and sending them to Spanish-speaking areas because it’s the ‘easy’ way out. Instead, it argues, the GOP should actually work with the Hispanic media and approach Hispanics on a more personal level.
The third way conservatives need to change in order to attract Hispanics is to understand that speaking and communicating in Spanish is a ‘must.’
“We hate to break it to some, but while we and many others are of the agreement that English should be the language of government, many Hispanics prefer to speak Spanish within their community,” said Morrett and Rosado in the manual. “We say this only to address the hostilities some conservatives have towards the language. If you are going to reach out to the Hispanic community, Spanish must be a key component of it.”
Finally, the document says that policy does not absolutely have to change but the rhetoric surrounding it does.
Hispanics feel marginalized by the GOP because of the typical “deport them all” rhetoric that many members of the conservative movement promote. Other hard-nosed conservative lines, like calling the granting of citizenship to even one Hispanic immigrant “amnesty,” or refusing to reach a compromise on immigration reform, are doing more harm than good for the conservative movement.
“Racists exist in all movements and to say conservatives don’t have any is a lie,” the document says. “Take a look at several of the threats that conservative minorities get from other ‘conservatives’ and you will see what we mean. This racist and harmful rhetoric often includes terms like ‘anchor babies’ and classless jokes about wanting a ‘free ride’ or being janitors or criminals. These hateful people need to be publicly shamed lest they taint the entire movement.”
They also added that Republican Hispanic figureheads like Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Susana Martinez are ‘false trophies’ of Hispanic outreach because none of them won the majority of the Hispanic vote in their elections.
“It takes more than a Hispanic surname to sway Hispanic voters,” they said.
This document serves as a reminder that conservatives who are on the fence about whether the GOP lost the last election because of its failure to reach out to the the Latino population that they need to get with it before it’s too late.