Gaining Hispanic Voters
Republicans are contemplating how they can gain Hispanic support in the next election. Some analysts have said that they can't compete with giving away benefits to Hispanic voters, since the Democrats already have that locked up. So many millions of Hispanic voters are being supported by the Democratic Party that coaxing them away may be hopeless.
To some extent this is true. But there are ways the Republicans can begin a campaign to move Hispanics away from Democrats. This campaign can begin immediately, and can strike at the heart of Hispanic support.
The fact is Hispanics come here for a better life and the Democrats have given it to them. There is no doubt that illegal immigration is a demographic/electoral strategy Democrats have consciously and very aggressively pursued, as I have explained here before.
Simultaneously, Hispanics in the U.S. are becoming disenchanted with the Democratic promise of paradise in "el norte." While Democrats have encouraged Hispanics to move to such cities as Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago, they have directed them toward barrios, the newest ghettoes. Life there is just as bad as it has been for inner city blacks and in some social indicators is now worse.
As Hispanics become more discontented there is an opportunity for Republicans to make them more aware of their conditions, without blaming their plight on the Democrats. There are many large media outlets in the Hispanic community, and an effective but subtle campaign can be implemented by the Republicans to sow discontent among Hispanic voters.
That Hispanics are suffering in Democratic-run cities is not widely known. Democrats and their media minions painstakingly avoid any discussion of the issues; preferring instead to feature newspaper stories on Hispanic culture and cuisine. This refusal to depict reality presents an opportunity for Republicans.
Some issues that can be addressed include the teen pregnancy rate among Hispanics: it has now crept above that of blacks. (Between two worlds: How young Latinos [Hispanics] come of age in America. Washington, D.C.: Pew Research Center, p. 69.) Similarly, there are high rates of gang membership and weapons use. (Between Two Worlds, p. 84) Most importantly and tragically for the long-term economic conditions of Hispanics; the dropout rate among Hispanics is nearly twice that of blacks. (Between Two Worlds, p. 48)
All of these issues affect family life. Short dramas, taking place over the kitchen table, can be written to inform Hispanics that their concerns are recognized, understood, and shared by the GOP. Government brought Hispanics here, and the government can help them. This is the message Republican ads need to communicate to Hispanics.
The first step is to give voice to the concerns of mothers and fathers in Hispanic communities who see their daughters becoming teenage mothers. Today, one in four Hispanic teenage girls is a mother by age 19. (Between Two Worlds, P. 69) Spanish TV and radio stations are popular in such cities as Chicago. It would be easy to produce a short radio or TV ad featuring a mother who tearfully says to her daughter: "We came here for a better life. Your father and I have worked very hard for you to get a good education, and now you are a mother and a school dropout. This has never happened to anyone in our family before. What is happening to our family?"
The sons are showing similar signs of social decay: gang membership. The city of Chicago, the third largest in the U.S., now has an official Public Enemy No. 1, for the first time since Al Capone and the bootleg liquor days. Only this Public Enemy is a Hispanic drug lord, who is enlisting young Hispanic men to protect his drug territory and sell drugs on the streets of Chicago.
Other ads can be simply informational: noting that Hispanics have a high dropout rate, for example; short documentary ads.
This approach will work since no one has given voice to, or shown concern for, the social conditions of Hispanics who are living in barrios in the large cities such as Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. Democrats dare not discuss the social plight of Hispanics. Their emphasis has been upon making more and more programs available to them. The GOP will have this approach to itself.
Proof that it will work comes from the experience of blacks in the north. While northern cities did promise job opportunities after WW I, since then many blacks have been confined to ghetto neighborhoods. Many are beginning to realize that there is little chance of a good education, good income, and self-improvement in these areas. While once hopelessly locked into Democratically-controlled ghettoes, they are now leaving them and returning to the South. From 2000 to 2010 large numbers of blacks left the North and moved south.
Hispanics who now live in the segregated neighborhoods of Chicago are realizing that they too are being sequestered into lives of single motherhood and crime. It is not the Hispanic people who cause these problems, but the politicians who create this environment for them.
Once these ads are run, it would be very difficult for the Democrats to respond to them. Democrats have monopolized the promotion of illegal immigration; now this monopoly control can be used against them. These ads must not be political but social and family-oriented in focus. Every Hispanic knows that Democrats provide benefits for them, but many now realize their families are in trouble. Democrats cannot blame Republicans, as Obama is fond of doing, that Republicans brought them here and are responsible for them: then they would give up their position as the ones who are helping them. They cannot have it both ways, although they will try.
Once these messages are brought into the community, and awareness is established, it will spread very quickly.
This must be a continuous, never-ending campaign, since the major fault of the GOP in the 2012 election was in not presenting themselves as an understanding, viable alternative to the Democratic Party. They also failed to establish an effective, nationwide ground game.
Of course the Democratic ground game is funded by dozens of local, state, and Federal programs earmarked for Hispanics. And they will no doubt remind their Hispanic voters of all this support. This must not deter the GOP, however, from pursuing their goal.
This strategy should begin with the GOP backing Republican candidates in small elections, such as aldermanic seats in Chicago and L.A., and Congressional races in heavily Hispanic Congressional districts. Right now the GOP gives up on these contests since they are so heavily outnumbered. But the focus should not be on winning elections. Rather, these small contests must be seen as opportunities to spread the message described here and expand community organizations.
GOP campaign strategists who only analyze polls and calculate the likelihood of victories are fighting the last century's battles. Like Democrats, Republicans must now aggressively create voters in communities, not simply accept the electorate as a static group that can't be changed.