The GOP is failing the Hispanic community in a number of politically important ways. They have refused to reach out to Hispanics at a grassroots level, which has fostered a more recent and noticeable decline in GOP support; This was most evident during the 2008 election when John McCain lost the headway previously made by George Bush with Hispanics in the south-western states. The GOP have also failed to address the fabricated image of being the party of and for the rich. This image is responsible for conservative Hispanics registering as Democrats. And lastly, Republicans have not underscored the point that they share many moral precepts with the Hispanic community - precepts vital for a genuine and lasting alliance. If Republicans expect to capture more of the Hispanic vote in future elections, they need to take these problems seriously and resolve them before Hispanics make the left a permanent home.
According to the 2003 U.S. Census Bureau, the national median income level for Hispanic households was $34,241, about $15,000 less than non-Hispanic households; 21% of Hispanic households fell below poverty level, which was twice the level of non-Hispanic whites; and the uninsured rate for Hispanics was at 32%, about three times the level of non-Hispanic whites. The statistics suggest that the Hispanic community continues to be a struggling demographic, a fact that has been exploited by the Democrat Party for decades.
The most recent example of class exploitation was fueled by Politico’s interview with John McCain when they asked how many homes he had owned, an answer he deferred to his staff. Notwithstanding, Obama exploited the gaffe defining McCain as out of touch with working families. Taking care note of the gaffe, the AFL-CIO hurried out bulk mailers that highlighted McCain’s wealth and a presumed inability to identify with the working class.
This example is no exception to the rule of liberal politics. By dividing the nation into a neat, rich-poor dichotomy, Democrats have taken a play from the Marxist handbook. During hard times, they use their media accomplice to overstate crises in order to mobilize the proletariat masses for radical change. In particular, business owners take the brunt of the onslaught. They are not viewed as those who provide jobs and financial stability to working families; they are the “other” that routinely manipulate, harass, and greedily exploit their employees for unadulterated profit.
In November of 2008, Barack Obama secured 66% of the Hispanic vote, besting John Kerry’s 59% four years earlier. The disparity has caused many to reconsider the Democrat Party’s continuing success with Hispanic voters. In particular, foreign born Hispanics tend to be the more serious problem for the GOP. This demographic represents 33% of all Hispanic voters, and they are 50% more likely to register as democrats. The kicker is that foreign born Hispanics are more likely to see Hispanic culture through a traditionalist lens. This should be an advantage for the conservatives, but it's not translating into success.
These statistics suggest that conservatives need to formulate a good plan of attack to address the Hispanic community. The first step ought to include a widespread grassroots effort to make a meaningful connection with Hispanic voters. Distant or lazy marketing will not work, but would only serve to reinforce the stereotype of GOP elitism. Just as discussion is easier among those who share interests, a grassroots effort can only work by expressing and reinforcing common values found within Hispanic culture. If any GOP leaders are listening, it's time to celebrate Hispanic culture, not suppress it.
As it stands, conservatives and Hispanics share a common culture of Christian faith, the right to life, a traditional family structure, and a solid work ethic. If the Christian faith is the common connector with the Hispanic community, then it’s logical that a grassroots effort is best served through church-sponsored gatherings. This means that conservative politicians need to reach out to Hispanic pastors who are willing to serve as a liaison to Hispanic congregants - not to promote a particular candidate, but to provide greater clarity to a politician’s moral and civic positions. More importantly, politicians ought not to wait for election season to get familiar with Hispanic groups. Hispanics should be treated like part of the family. This means that when Hispanic non-profits or other community organizations invite politicians to events that are mutually beneficial, Democrats shouldn’t be the only ones showing up. This is one of the more disturbing problems in GOP leadership today.
The second stage of attack should include a focus on exposing democrats for their role in class exploitation – in particular, their assault on those who provide jobs. It is often said that the GOP is the party for the rich. This is not true. The GOP is the party for entrepreneurs and businesses; this distinction is important and should be reinforced. Entrepreneurs and small businesses are the muscle that turns the economic wheel, not unions or the federal government.
Each minority group has developed their own unique hang up with the GOP. For African-Americans it’s racism, and for Jews it’s religion. These obstacles are deeply ingrained into their collective conscience through family and culture, and they are not likely to go away soon. For Hispanics, however, their loyalty to the Democrat Party is superficial and not reinforced by values in Hispanic culture, but is rather a response to the behavioral tendencies of the GOP and an unchallenged stereotype grounded in class divisiveness.
Far too long, the democrat party has divided our country for political power. A populist message designed for the unlearned ear can only be defused by proper education and wise marketing. But this must occur at a local grassroots level. Hispanics need to know that there is someone in their corner, providing them with the right tools to fight against today’s adversity and to preserve traditional Hispanic culture. With liberals at the helm of Congress and the White House, there isn’t a better time than the present to fight for the soul of the Hispanic community.