Mitt Romney’s polling numbers with Hispanic voters are abysmal. The media has attributed this to his extreme statements on immigration. This is only part of the story. Romney’s campaign outreach to Hispanics faces deep structural and policy deficits. His campaign does not have the necessary tools to present his best case to Hispanic voters. From a policy standpoint, his stance on the DREAM Act is complicated at best and his embrace of the Ryan Budget puts him at odds with Hispanic voters on education and Medicare.
Romney’s sagging numbers in Florida and Obama’s considerable lead among Hispanics in Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona shrinks his electoral map path to victory. This electoral map reality makes Romney’s lack of outreach to Hispanic voters all the more baffling.
Buzz Feed puts it best: “A full year after Romney launched his presidential bid, the campaign doesn’t have a Spanish version of its website, nor has it hired a Spanish-speaking spokesperson. Romney boycotted a primary debate on Univision, leading to the event’s collapse, and, to date, he has only done one sit-down interview on a national Spanish network.”
The Republican National Committee (RNC) has constructed a Spanish language tumblr which mostly trashes the Obama Administration in Spanish. It is fine to disagree with the President’s policy decisions, but to present no policy recommendations of your own is a bit hypocritical. Although you can’t really blame the RNC for not presenting any policy recommendations for Hispanic voters, as Romney’s campaign has not done so itself. Romney’s campaign does not have a policy page yet because they have not worked out where they are on issues important to Hispanics. A perfect example of this is the DREAM Act.
Speaking at the White House’s Cinco de Mayo reception, President Barack Obama called on Congress to pass the Dream Act –a measure deeply popular with Hispanic voters. The Romney campaign has repeatedly stated that he would veto the DREAM Act if it came to his desk as President. Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a possible vice president pick for Romney, is currently advancing his own version of the legislation. Romney has declined to endorse the legislation and as of this writing was “studying” the legislation.
While immigration is important to Hispanics it is by no means the only issue they vote on, Medicare and education are deeply cherished institutions to this voting bloc. Romney is far to the right of where Hispanic voters are on both issues. Romney has publicly stated that Congressman Paul Ryan’s budget plan was “Marvelous.” His campaign has indicated that he would be running on a plan similar to Ryan’s in the general election. The Ryan Plan certainly is marvelous, as long as you are fabulously wealthy. However for those in the country who rely on a good public education or Medicare it is disastrous.
On education, the Ryan/Romney Plan would eliminate money for 200,000 children in 2014, according to an analysis by the National Education Association. On Medicare, the Ryan/Romney Plan would cut spending on the poorest by about $5 trillion over 10 years from Medicaid and other programs that Hispanics and the rest of working class Americans use. On the other hand, the Ryan/Romney plan balances the budget on the back of the working middle class while giving $4 trillion in tax cuts to the most-wealthy Americans.
While some may disagree with this analysis, even a casual observer can see that the Romney campaign has put zero thought into their Hispanic outreach. The worst thing about Romney’s presidential campaign is not their Tumblr page (which is actually an RNC production), nor their lack of Spanish language content/spokesmen, but rather there has been no new ideas about how a Romney Presidency would help Hispanics. Romney’s team has indicated that the Hispanic vote is important, but when will he ever actually reach out to them? At this point is it even possible for Romney to reach out without flip flopping completely on past stances? It is perfectly O.K. if Romney wants to engage on other issues with the Hispanic community, he may have a great energy plan…. at this point he just needs to engage.