What Romney’s 47% means to Hispanic voters

A new wave of national and state-level polling data does not look promising for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Post-convention trends show President Obama leading by several points, with a small but significant lead in battleground states. Romney is faring even worse among Hispanic voters, 60% of whom have said they will vote for Obama. In light of these numbers, Romney has recently attempted to court Hispanic voters by releasing Spanish-language radio and TV ads and featuring Hispanic speakers at the Republican National Convention. However, a closer examination of Romney and the GOP platform reveals that as president, Romney would enact policies that would detriment the Hispanic community across the board. The Republican presidential candidate’s failure to present Hispanic voters with a persuasive platform on healthcare, the economy, and immigration issues illustrates his lack of concern for the Hispanic population.

Romney’s proposed repeal of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) will take healthcare away from 9 million Hispanics and threaten access for millions more. The GOP’s threat to repeal ACA will affect 750,000 young Hispanics who would lose coverage under their parents’ plans and 4 million elderly and disabled Hispanics who are now eligible for expanded preventive care under the act.A repeal of ACA would also endanger access to preventive care that could mean the difference between life and death for 47 million Hispanics, who are disproportionately affected by chronic diseases and are more likely than other Americans to die from preventable diseases. Moreover, Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan proposes increasing the age of eligibility and creating a voucher-like system where premium support payments to enrollees would be paid to private insurers. This changewill increase the cost of Medicare for Hispanic seniors, who tend to pay more for health care in private fee for service plans.

Romney’s stance on the economy will also disproportionately disadvantage the Hispanic community. Paul Ryan’s tax plan is likely to increase middle class taxes while cutting taxes on the rich. Because fewer Hispanics are represented in the wealthiest income brackets, they can expect a tax increase under the Ryan budget. As members of the middle and working classes, the Hispanic community has reason to shudder at Romney’s recently disclosed disdain for those who “are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them.” We need look no further than Romney’s derisive comments about  47% of the American population to know that he does not have the best interests of the middle class, and thus the Hispanic community, at heart.

Romney’s tough anti-immigrant stance clearly indicates his lack of understanding of the complexity and importance of the immigration issue. During the GOP primary, Romney turned off Hispanics by taking a much harder line on immigration than any presidential candidate in recent history. Earlier this month, Romney attracted criticism for his endorsement of immigration hardliner Rep. Steve King of Iowa, who has notoriously compared undocumented immigrants to dogs. Romney has also vowed to veto the DREAM Act, a bill backed by Democrats that would provide a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. Romney’s myopic policy proposals also include official English legislation and a repeal of President Obama’s recently implemented Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which could provide temporary relief to 1.7 million undocumented immigrants. The former governor has said that, if elected president, he will implement his “own long-term solution that will replace and supersede the president’s temporary measure.” His lack of support for the program has deterred many eligible immigrants, who fear that they may face repercussions for applying if Romney is elected.

During his time in office, President Obama has demonstrated his commitment to Hispanic voters by expanding access to healthcare with Affordable Care Act, cutting taxes for middle class families with the Recovery Act, and granting temporary relief to undocumented immigrants through Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Mitt Romney has suggested that he will overturn each and every one of these programs if elected, replacing them with policies that will do a great disservice to Hispanic population.

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