We're starting to hear it over and over again. If the GOP would just grace the Spanish speaking media markets with bigoted social messages they would do better:
It does mean that a group that is a natural fit for the GOP on social issues, must in someway be made to feel comfortable with the GOP."
Indeed, they've thought this for years. Here's an article quoting Ronald Reagan:
In 1984, Ronald Reagan pointed out to his friend, Lionel Sosa, that conservatives needed to "remind Latinos that they are Republicans; they just don't know it yet." The basis of his observation was that Latinos are socially conservative and that in time they would realize that their conservatism was most in line with Republican politics. This hasn't happened yet -- certainly not this year -- but will it happen in the near future?
A Washington Post blog in December of last year even asserted that a certain percentage of Hispanics are social conservatives....without attribution, of course:
Despite Republicans losing the Hispanic vote in every presidential election back to 1972, Hispanic views on abortion and religion, immigrant deportations and jobs offer potential avenues to winning Republicans support. Hispanics express greater opposition to abortion than the public overall, and more than six in 10 say religion is very important in their lives, compared with about half of all those who lean Democratic and just over four in 10 white Democrats.
There is no doubt that courting the socially conservative Hispanic will be the next thing they will try. And they'll also try to pick off the more affluent Latinos, using their typical anti-tax, anti-big government messages. Fortunately it won't work. Let's visit the other side of the orange Schnoerkel to find out why:
1. Abortion rights. One would think that since most of this group is Catholic, most of them would be anti-choice. And there's also that troublesome assertion from the WaPo above! But there is completely conflicting data on this, and fortunately more recent.
First, from the Huffington Post in January:
A majority of Latino voters -- 74 percent -- agree that a woman has a right to make her own personal decisions about abortion without the interference of government, according to a recent survey by the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health and the Reproductive Health Technologies Project. The data shows that a majority of Latinos in the U.S. hold a sympathetic view in regards to abortion.
There's also the ABC News exit poll from Tuesday:
Exit poll results found that about two-thirds of Hispanics (66%) said that abortion should be legal while 28% disagreed. Among all voters, a somewhat smaller majority (59%) would allow legal abortions while 37% were opposed.
2. Gay Rights. After all, minorities hate teh Gay, right? I'm sure it's a characterization many of us believe, considering the 50/50 LA County vote on Proposition 8 in California, and a "National Election Pool" exit poll which showed more than half of Latinos supported it. Even though the NEP exit poll may or may not have been terribly accurate, according to later studies, the Washington Times printed it
, thus the conservatives will believe it. At any rate, whatever one thinks of the Latino vote in 2008, there is ample evidence to believe that the subject group has come around on this issue as much as the overall voting populace has. To wit:
ABC News Exit Poll
Nearly six-in-ten Latino voters (59%) said their state should legally recognize same-sex marriage while 32% said their state should not. But among all voters, about half (48%) favored legalization of gay marriage while nearly the same share said they would oppose it (47%).
Non-Hispanic whites were the most opposed to states legally sanctioning same-sex marriage (47% favored but 50% were opposed). Among blacks, half (52%) would support while 40% opposed state support for gay unions.
Okay, so now it's really just white evangelicals who hate us gays, I'm glad to say. And it looks like they won't find any sympathy elsewhere! So what other Latino beliefs on "social issues" might be a "natural fit" for the Republican Party?
3. Immigration? Do I really need to go into this? I'll point out that any GOPer who ends up offering guest worker programs or something like that will be eviscerated and eliminated from the primaries. And at any rate, anything the GOP offers to try and attract Latinos will be co-opted by the Democrats anyway.
4. Education? I think there's some potential here for the GOP. Schools in poor minority areas have historically underachieved. There is a perception that Democrats have done nothing about this. Republicans have offered "fresh, new ideas," which while fresh and new aren't necessarily any better and are probably worse. But as long as the complete data set isn't in, it's an issue that might be exploited.
But let's be real. When Republicans say "social issues," they're talking about abortion and gay rights. And they imagine that the numbers are in their favor because Latinos are Catholics and thus they must be Republicans without knowing it yet. But the real and most recent numbers tell a different story that will provide real comfort to Democrats and would provide real distress to Republicans were they not such good deniers.
The meme that the GOP is a natural fit for Hispanics needs to be squashed. I encourage you to cite numbers in response to any media where you might find it!