Editor’s note: Fernando Espuelas is the host and managing editor of the national talk show "Fernando Espuelas" on Univision Radio. He is also a political analyst on television, print and online. Espuelas is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute.
Watch In America's documentary about the race to capture the Latino Vote on CNN, October 2012.
By Fernando Espuelas, Special to CNN
(CNN) - Republican political lore has it that Latinos are natural GOP voters. Family-oriented and deeply religious in many cases, Latinos would seem to be a natural segment of the electorate to connect with the Republican social conservative ethos that dominates today's GOP.
But voting patterns have shown a different reality – so far, American Latinos have tended, election after election, to prefer Democratic candidates by wide margins. In the last presidential election cycle, for example, Barack Obama captured 67% of the Latino vote to John McCain's 31%. In key swing states such as Florida, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico, Latinos provided Obama's margin of victory.
It is clear, as we head into November's national election, that it will be very difficult for either the eventual GOP nominee or the president to win the election without a strong showing among this growing group of voters. Candidates are eagerly reaching out to Latino voters in South Carolina and Florida with Spanish-language ads and targeted events.
Yet, when I speak with Republican strategists, smart people with records of success in electing candidates, I am struck by how little they seem to know about American Latinos.
I hear the same theory over and over – American Latinos are like everybody else, interested primarily in economic issues and education. And there is truth to this. But then again, who isn't focused on economic issues? Or which group of Americans thinks that the crisis in our public education system is irrelevant?
Perhaps not as evident to these strategists is the enormous cost to the Republican Party of the avalanche of anti-immigrant rhetoric and legislation that has erupted across the country since Obama's election. The infamous Arizona anti-immigrant law, which can only be effectively enforced through racial profiling, stands as a powerful symbol of intolerance.
The copycat laws sponsored by GOP legislators that have sprung up in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina reinforce the idea that the Republican Party is the political umbrella for deeply offensive legislation that denigrates the dignity of Americans of Latino descent, even as the laws' authors claim that such legislation is focused on “illegals” - itself a term that is deeply offensive to many Latinos.
The several GOP debates in which the candidates competed to outdo each other as to who would build the tallest, most deadly border fence were a stark reminder of American political reality: You cannot win the Republican nomination for president unless you are a hard-liner on immigration.
Never mind that President George W. Bush bet the Crawford ranch on comprehensive immigration reform in 2006. At the time, Bush said "there needs to be a comprehensive bill in order for us to achieve the objective...And the objective is, on the one hand, protect our borders, and, on the other hand, never lose sight of the thing that makes America unique, which is we're a land of immigrants and that we're not going to discriminate against people."
And forget that Republican uber-icon Ronald Reagan found the idea of a border fence as antithetical to American values. As Reagan said in his farewell address, "I've spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don't know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and heart to get here."
Evangelicals, with Latino evangelicals among them, recently settled on Rick Santorum as a candidate, but the decision wasn’t as simple as showing up and repeating dog-whistle bromides about God and family. As National Journal recently reported: “Evangelical Hispanics, in particular, are looking for Republicans whom they feel comfortable supporting ... Religious conservatives say they wish more Republicans would adopt a moderate tone on immigration in the vein of [George W.] Bush. They also aren’t shy about supporting Obama’s immigration efforts.”
Can Republicans appeal to more Latinos than they've been able to attract in past elections? Of course.
But the Republican Party needs to connect the dots. Newt Gingrich, who said he makes a distinction between American families with some members who are undocumented and people with no ties to our society, just picked up the endorsement of the nation's largest Hispanic Republican group, Somos Republicans. Immigration policy is as important to the Latino community as social issues are to evangelicals. As the Rev. Gabriel Salguero, president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, said, the Arizona style anti-immigrant laws “are not just or moral laws, they make no sense and they don't benefit either the nation or families.”
It is time for Republicans to truly stand up for Ronald Reagan's values and end the poisonous anti-immigrant rhetoric. Not only could they then win more Latino votes, they may even bring our divided country together.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Fernando Espuelas.
It is offensive to reduce the complexities of a human being to a single label called "latino." It is dehumanizing. Show me the "latino gene" that determines how people think and feel, and maybe then I will start believing in this hogwash.
Americans, on the whole, are not anti-immigration. That is a lie put forward by the amnesty crowd. Most of us ARE anti-illegal immigration. Pro-amnesty people can't or won't see the difference. Illegal immigration only allows employers to pay sub-subsistence wages to people who don't know the difference and can only survive on those wages by packing 20 or 30 people into a two bedroom house. Latinos are more than welcome to live in my neighborhood as long as they are here legally. I refuse to allow work crews work on my property if they hire illegals and will willingly pay a little more to keep from doing business with companies that hire them.
Members of ALL parties need to quit kissing up for votes and do the right thing, which is to protect the country from an illegal foreign invasion and the attendant crime and crushing weight to social services, schools, penal and healthcare systems that goes along with it. Deport all illegals upon apprehension, quit allowing them and banks to launder money back to their home countries, and felonize repeat offenders.
If Republicans want the Hispanic vote, they might try to stop the race-baiting. It's just an extension of the racist Southern Strategy. Only by disavowing race-based fear mongering can Republicans once again become a truly national party.
yeah right,as if race baiting is done by only the republicans.hell it's an industry for politicians of the two parties.we will always be divided when a good number of the populace choose to be party hacks.of course anything else is considered crazy by the same party hacks.divided we will fall.but i don't mind that much,we deserve it for our stupidity.
You can tell the article was written by a full blown wet-back. Not only slanted, but full leftist. Racial profiling? If you're looking for illegal Mexicans, you damn well better be looking at Mexicans. Idiotic!
You can tell this response was written by a full blown racist.
its really simple; if your rich,vote republican if your not rich vote demacrat, if you hate all of them just dont vote
MEXICANS ARE TELLING POLITICIANS , WANT OUR VOTES ? APPROVE AMNESTY--THE DREAM ACT--OPEN THE BORDER-–STOP ENFORCING THE IMMIGRATION LAWS, WHICH IS WHAT OBAMA IS DOING...OBAMA IS MOVING THE NATIONAL GUARD AWAY FROM THE BORDER JUST TO GET THE MEXICAN VOTE. THAT IN MY MARINE BOOK IS TREASON.
AM A HISPANIC GUY....NOT MEXICANS .. I'M A LEGAL U.S. CITIZEN... THE PROBLEM WITH MANY HISPANICS ? THEY DON'T WANT THE IMMIGRATION LAWS ENFORCE.. THEY WANT THE BORDER OPEN-–THEY WANT THEIR FAMILIES WHO ARE IN MEXICO TO BE ALLOW TO COME TO THE U.S. TO STAY WITH THEM... THEY WANT AMNESTY, THEY WANT TOO MUCH... I COMPLETELY DISAGREE WITH THEM...THEY BROKE OUR LAWS, THEY SHOULD BE DEPORTED.....I LIKE OBAMA, BUT HE IS TOO SOFT ON IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT... WE SHOULDN'T GIVE HISPANIC VOTERS WHAT THEY WANT IN EXCHANGE FOR THEIR VOTES, THAT IS WRONG.. OBAMA IS SELLING OUT THE SECURITY OF OUR COUNTRY , JUST TO GET THE HISPANIC VOTE. THAT IS WRONG.
where is willard's birth certificate?
GOP fights for the RICH, DNC for the not-RICH. Thus, I could never understand why fellow Latinos would vote for GOP candidates who want to deport our legal tan behinds. Claim whatever family values you wish, but GOP actions are proof in their belief that Black is Beautiful, and Tan is Grand, BUT WHITE is the color of the big boss man.
Wahahahahahahahahah! I'm laughing at the picture above where Newter is holding his arm in the air with his thumb up. Who is he looking at, one of his ex-wives! Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Or Perry, since he dropped out of the race and is now supporting him.
They're all so weird, how could anyone vote for any of them.
Look the gop is such a bunch of clowns they will not get the latino vote or the black vote because they don't care about us and I will never vote for those evil soul hateful full of greed DOGS!!
IS NOT THAT THE GOP DON'T CARE ABOUT MEXICANS–ILLEGALS , HISPANICS.. THEY DON'T WANT TO GIVE YOU AMNESTY, THAT IS WRONG. ILLEGALS BROKE OUR LAWS, WHY SHOULD YOU GET REWARDED WITH AMNESTY ? MEXICANS WANT AMNESTY. GOP IS SAYING YOU BROKE THE LAW , WHY SHOULD YOU BE REWARDED ? I AGREE WITH GOP AND I'M A HISPANIC GUY....
What country are you from, Jose? Your English is laughable. And how could you possibly know what all Hispanics want concerning immigration? Did you poll all of them? Most Hispanics in the US have no recent connection to Mexico what-so-ever. Their families have been in the US for a few hundred years, El Paso, Phoenix, Sacramento, Los Angeles, etc – those names weren't chosen just a a lark.
The GOP has a better chance of keeping the vote of "Bill Cosby" like conservative blacks even after Newt's most racist of comments than gaining even slightest increase from the Latino vote.
GOP WILL GET MANY HISPANIC AND MANY BLACK VOTES.. WHY ? ILLEGALS ARE TAKING THE JOBS FROM LEGAL LOW INCOME AMERICAN CITIZENS....50 % OF AMERICANS ARE POOR, THEY HAVE TO COMPETE WITH ILLEGALS FOR THE SAME JOBS..
For being hispanic your sure don't quite get it do you? The illegals are not " Taking " our jobs, they are being GIVEN to them by unscrupulous EMPLOYERS!!! who know that they can get away labor law violations because the immigrants have no idea how to interpret these laws. Plus they're here illegally, so the employers can hold that fact over their heads too.
There´s no waythe republicans can win the Latino vote when you have "The Pilsbury Doe Boy" Newt Gingrich
saying things like English is the language of business and Spanish is the language of the ghetto . The
republicans are way too racist .
BWA HA HA HA HA! Latinos don’t vote republican because half the party hates their guts and they know it! They’re not friggen stupid for god’s sake.
Does it really take any more analysis than that to figure it out?
Exactly – a latino would be stupid for vote for any republican. Even if they don't like Obama – they still lean democrat.
The republican brand is suffering due to pandering to a uber-conservative , uber-white base. It is almost political suicide for a candidate to declare themselves as moderate. Rupert Murdoch is having a grand old time making these puppets dance to his freaky vision of society.If you want to be the part of Reagan you have to share all of his values not just the ones that appeal to your personal bigotry.
Other than a few octogenatian Cubans the Hispanics will overwhelmingly support Obama........
Hispanics coming from communist contries very solidly vote Republican. They know whta it's like to be under a regime of crippling control.
I agree 100%
No too fast, I am Venezuelan-American and I will never would vote for a socialist or liberal.
I am Latino, and I support the only candidate that has my interest as an individual.
Don't argue with me, I am well educated.
RON PAUL 2012: LIBERTY, JUSTICE, FREEDOM!
You're also hilarious – like your fruity name. Ron Paul should check into a retirement home and play checkers.
Honestly, if you're not rich or white you would be crazy to vote for any of the GOP candidates. I haven't heard any of them stand up and say the rhetoric that they are using is wrong. They say things like let's take our country back like immigrants and blacks have taken over the country. Also, they make remarks like the poor kids should work as janitors at schools and that the unemployed are lazy or envious of them, also they want to take state rights back to the 1800's when blacks were enslaved. Are you kidding me? These are the people that you want to be your president of the united states. If they think this way of Americans and other countries see this they definitely know they don't like or care for them. You would be a fool to vote for any of these clowns. They do not understand any issues causing conflicts with the middle class or poor. They are only concerned with big business and corporate greed.
Well, it's kind of hard to warm up to a political party that yells "illegal" to your face all campaign season and then on election starts calling your "friend."
Hispanic doesn't mean illegal, but there are millions of illegals from Mexico, Honuras, Guatamala, and Nicaragua walking into the USA.
It's impossible to generalize about Hispanic voters so why try? Just to give liberals a false sense of pride?
Obama has done nothing for Hispanics-nothing!
This is incorrect. If an illegal Hispanic is deported, a legal one just might get a job. My hubby doesn't care one whit about illegals and their "rights" but he does care about Americans, his tan, Latino behind included, losing jobs due to the cheap labor that illegals offer. And within the last two weeks, the Obama adminsitration announced easement of restrictions for illegals married to US Citizens that will greatly help them obtain legal status in this country.
What exactly can he do for illegal immigrants when there are much bigger issues (uh like war) going on. Of course you would say he hasn't done anything for hispanics, because what he is trying to do for our country is for everyone, not just one group. On the other hand, repulicans don't want anything to do with anyone that is not white and sometimes poor. But they will use the poor whites to do their bidding while sending jobs over seas. Open your eyes!
Obama has done many thinhs for mexicans . He wore a big mexican hat the other day and said andele andele!!! Many mexicans loved it. You know lack of self-esteem
Espuelas is a shill for Univision, a foreign owned conglomerate whiose very existence in the US media market depends on expanding their Spanish speaking audience. The really only way to do this is by espousing an ethnocentric policy that promotes keeping Spanish speakers from having to learn English and expands their numbers by promoting illegal immigration, amnesty and impunity.
As a Hispanic born in a Hispanic culture, and as a US citizen and former member of the US armed forces, I would beg the question of any simpleton that votes along these tribal lines espoused by these spokepersons of Mexican media: What has Hispanic culture done for youo that you want to cling to it while living in a country with a decidedly different culture and why do you feel that your hosts should adapt to you and not the other way around? Is that how you allow your visitors to treat you at home?
Let's not be coy. Mr. Espuelas is talking about amnesty, AKA: comprehensive immigration reform... As Shakespeare once wrote, a rose by any other name is still a rose, and rewarding criminal acts (illegal immigration be it by sneaking in or by using a visa requested under false pretenses is still a crime) is still creating a culture of delinquency and impunity like they've had in many Latino and third-world countries. This is a land of laws and while I can understand the "one tiem only" amnesty of 1986, by not enforcing the law, our partisan hacks in Washington have created the same problem all over again, just that now it is bigger, better financed and with a propaganda arm that counts Mr Espuelas and its employer among that fifth column that seeks to undermine and subvert our rule of law into the kind of travesty one might see in Mexico.
This is one Hispanic who is not supportive of rewarding criminals. An amnesty is allowing illegals to return to their homelands and when they apply for a visa to come back we won't hiold against them the years taht they've been breaking our laws... Maybe we should fine them and compel them to give up their employers and landlords so we can fine and incarcerate them according to present law and use those monies to finance the deportation of those who won't leave. That is an amnesty scheme I can get behind... Otherwise, these foreigners who are here illegally are the wards and responsibility of the country that has their citizenship. And don't get me started on anchor-babies...
Dude, you are so white! This is white rhetoric at its best. Good try you plant. Ps Im Asian and I care.
TOO TRUE Lee All Too True
First of all – the report of this story looks mad white. Maybe he is birracial. On another note, what will happen when Latino countries get back on the feet (it's possible) and take their countries back from the drug dealers and other criminals. What will happen if the US and UK take those countries over the the American flag is flying higher than the native flag. Then Latinos will try to run back home only to get jobs still waiting on Americans. So sad – I see it coming.
Thank you Carlos for so articulately expressing what your thoughts are on this issue. They are they same as mine. US citizens for the most part care about maintaining a high level of respect for the rule of law in this country as it is responsible for much of our high standard of living we have achieved and is what sets our country apart from many others. To look the other way and exonerate tens of millions of people who have willfully violated our immigration laws as well as a host of other laws for which ordinary US citizens would be prosecuted had they violated them is wrong.
The semantics of pro-amnesty organizations and persons have not been fooling us lately; allowing people illegally in our country to remain in the country is by definition amnesty. Amnesty is a slap in the face to all who would like to immigrate here but remain in their own countries, and it erodes the rule of law in our country as you noted.
Unfortunately, there may be a small but growing body of US citizens who arrived illegally, received amnesty, and who now essentially don't care about following the rule of law because of selfishness. It is sad that so many people and organizations don't realize or care that our nation might decline due to the erosion of the rule of law here.
Each may say that they are for amnesty but not for open borders, however the consequence of not enforcing our immigration laws, repeated legalization/amnesties, and not enforcing our workforce to keep out people working illegally IS defacto open borders. Unfortunately so few of these people love this country enough to see the long term consequences of repeated widespread lawlessness as well as the consequences in the long term that we will have with an enormous population. We are already the third-most populated nation in the world.
Univision is brain washing mexicans to vote for Democrats. Univision is an anti-american Network .
@WEEKNOW absolutely 100% of course people w havent murdered and rape or treason to country
If you have to sit around and play games to get ah vote! My guess would be you want get it trying to cheat! All the GOP has to do is come out front and address this immigration issue! Then will see who's for you and who's with you!
People turn to CRIME BECAUSE OF THIS NO JOBS and no Money SYSTEM! this SYSTEM covert's people to do crime against us Been like this for Generations
-NO. Becoming a criminal is a choice; there are ALWAYS ways to make an honest living. people turn to crime because they are too stupid and/or lazy to apply for (then hold) a steady, honest job. Don't get it twisted.
Like i said YES,they are Living TOO and they have a "RIGHT" ,LIKE i said "THIS BIAS NO JOBS SYSTEM" Which COVERT people into doing a CRIME JUST to A BUCK to LIVE! BEEN here all my LIFE to know this is to be TRUE! Period
-NO, people turn to crime because it is easier then finding a steady job or earning honest pay in this tough economy. They make the choice to turn criminal. FACT.
Fernando is right on the money , i'm a republican in my DNA , i'm an Evangelical Christian , against abortion and with very strong moral values , but because of all the anti immigration laws ,i have to stand behind the democratic party . This time around , depending on the republican party nominee , i will vote for the republican party .If Gingrich is the nominee , he has my vote and i urge every latino to vote for the republican party as well .In case Romney win this one , i'll have to swallow Obama for another 4 years and i will tell everyone else to vote for him again .
Since when to you think Gingrich stand behind anything he says, he is just a reg repub, lies to get what he wants.
Latinos in my opinion have an aristople history. As far as the French and Spainard wars. So I can see a vote for repub thinking. However. Repubs have used imigration as a scapegoat on many issues. In this country they are no longer considered a minority but a hughe majority.
Why do the pro illegal natural assume all Hispanics support illegal immigration?
there is a difference between Illegal and Legal immigration. All sides of the immigration debate need to recognize that distinction in order to hold productive debate.
I am tired of this topic. Both parties are playing games. They see no problem if American citizens with brown skin and Spanish surnames are deported by accident in the haste to to clear out illegal immigrants. The government calls those people "collateral damage." And they expect me to reelect the one doing that? LOL And Romney is a hypocrite. His Mormon family got amnesty in Mexico. He's an anchor baby, so he should deport himself.
other vs. Cubans: Is There A Double Standard On Illegal Aliens?
One thing I know about Fernando Espuelas, is that he is anti-Republican, you call his show and the only thing he wants to hear are the opinions of those whom agree with him, and, they must say something or everything negative about Republicans, Mr Espuelas defends Obama "With claws and teeth" to say the least, probably has not noticed that it has been almost 4 years and Mr Obama simply DID NOT DELIVER! They still blame everything on the last President and say that "because they do not have the support of the republicans there is nothing they can do about immigrants" To me it is very simple, Mr Obama is the worst choice as president, and when it comes to latinos, HE DOES NOT CARE! So, a piece of advice, LATINOS, VOTE REPUBLICAN! DEMOCRATS HAVE THE WORST FAMILY AND MORAL VALUES!
And republicans care about Latinos and other minority groups...how?
Delu I completely understand your point. Republicans as a whole have alienated a lot of minority groups and are eroding their own platform. This is in general due to the neoconservative theory, which is neither conservative fiscally or socially. I am no straight ticket voter (and I suggest everyone never vote that way as there are poor choices on either sides of the aisle in most cases). I have a great deal of hope that Ron Paul's influence with the delegates he takes to the Republican National Convention will help steer the party platform back towards the good of the people; even if some of his ideas seem strange. In memory of Dr. King Jr., and with hope that I am not abusing this paraphrasing; I sincerely hope that people will start to judge thier elected officials by the content of thier character and not by their political party.
Hahaha...Juan..the worse family and moral values??? Really? So Newt just has such wonderful family and moral values? What a joke. Talk about morals, why is it that President Obama and the Democrats are always fighting for the middle class and the poor? Unlike the GOP, they're only for the rich! So, I refuse to take your advice and never vote for a Repuke! I guarantee you that President Obama will come on top with the Latino votes. Just a little FYI..Notice all the debates that the GOP have had, you never see a diverse crowd or when they're out and about campaigning. That should tell you something!
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