.
Opinion: How the GOP could gain the elusive Latino vote
Somos Republicans endorsed Newt Gingrich, but Fernando Espuelas says GOP candidates need to learn more about Latinos.
January 18th, 2012
05:22 PM ET

Opinion: How the GOP could gain the elusive Latino vote

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.

FULL POST

Opinion: Fernando Espuelas: Test of institutionalized racism heads to the Supreme Court
The Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether Arizona can enforce its controversial immigration law.
December 16th, 2011
01:50 PM ET

Opinion: Fernando Espuelas: Test of institutionalized racism heads to the Supreme Court

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

By Fernando Espuelas, Special to CNN

The Supreme Court's decision this week to review the constitutionality of Arizona's anti-immigrant law is a seminal moment for Americans of Latino descent. This case - like other historic cases before the court at critical moments, cases that redefined America's social compact - will have repercussions beyond whether Arizona gets to keep its racist law on the books. It is a test of whether America legislates racism.

Most Latinos across this country see the immigration laws passed in Arizona, Alabama and Georgia as an attack on Latinos, both Americans and undocumented immigrants.

FULL POST

November 23rd, 2011
12:17 PM ET

Opinion: Debate revealed Republicans' path to Latino vote

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.

By Fernando Espuelas, Special to CNN

(CNN) - In the GOP debates, it has been hard to watch as the candidates repeatedly tried to out-do each other in “quien es mas macho” when it comes to maltreating undocumented immigrants.

How refreshing, then, to hear former Speaker Newt Gingrich in the latest CNN debate get off the GOP rhetoric hate-train and speak to real solutions to real problems in our nation's broken immigration system.

Gingrich made a distinction between American families that may include undocumented people and people with no real ties to our society. He supports the Dream Act – one of the most American of ideas, the concept that innocent kids should not be held responsible for the actions of their parents, that they should be given the opportunity to serve our country as they earn their path to citizenship. Gingrich recognizes the humanity and moral import of never splitting up families – a family-centric value system that the Republican candidates loudly tout but seem ever-ready to toss when it comes to the “illegals.”

FULL POST