Republican conference to Hispanics: your home is with the GOP
January 14th, 2011
08:15 AM ET
3 years ago

Republican conference to Hispanics: your home is with the GOP

Coral Gables, Florida (CNN) - How do you win over members of a group who may not like some things you stand for? You court them.

In the case of a national Republican group reaching out to the nation's Latinos, it doesn't hurt if that courtship includes a huge political kiss.

That's essentially what many people are receiving at the inaugural Hispanic Leadership Network Conference in Florida. Between Thursday and Friday, prominent national Republicans-like current Florida Gov. Rick Scott, his predecessor Jeb Bush, and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty – will tell the nation's Hispanics: don't abandon the GOP.

"This is not about politics, this is about the conservative cause," Bush told a small but supportive crowd at the conference kickoff at the swank Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables. "And if you look over the horizon over the next 10 to 20 years…without the active involvement of Hispanics, we will not be the governing philosophy of our country."

Bush stressed that his party's philosophy centered on limited government, lower taxes, education reform and maintaining U.S. competitive edge – all items, he said, that makes the GOP a natural home for Hispanics.

CNN asked Florida's current governor if the conference is a tacit admission that Hispanics are either leaving the GOP or turned off by many of its policies:

"The Hispanic community clearly believes in the Republican principles," Scott replied. "The principle that family is important. The principle that… we all care about, Hispanics care about religion. They care about building businesses. They focus on the same things I'm focused on: limited government, making sure we don't kill jobs through regulation, through too large a government."

While conference speakers are placing heavy emphasis on areas where Republicans and Hispanics agree, few people are talking about areas where they do not.

For example, the DREAM Act would have offered legal standing to immigrants who entered the United States illegally as children – under the age of 16 – and have lived in the country for at least five years. Hispanic groups strongly urged its passage. But the measure recently went down in Senate defeat, largely due to Republican objections that the bill amounted to "amnesty."

Equally divisive are fresh efforts from a large group of Republican state lawmakers who want to stop the children of illegal immigrants - born in the U.S. - from becoming U.S. citizens. Many people point to the 14th Amendment's guarantee of U.S. citizenship to any person born in the United States.

Many Latinos staunchly oppose the efforts of the Republican lawmakers. Clarrissa Martinez, director of immigration and national campaigns for the National Council of La Raza, recently told CNN that such efforts represent "a new generation of Jim Crow laws."

More broadly, many Latino groups urge passage of a fair, comprehensive immigration reform plan. But many Republican detractors recently blasted attempts at that, citing staunch opposition to granting illegal immigrants a pathway to U.S. citizenship.

It's likely that those issues help give Democrats a voting edge with Hispanics. In 2010, national exit polls show Latinos making up eight-percent of the electorate – with six out of 10 voting for Democrats.

In a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll from July of last year, 57-percent of Hispanics said Democrats agreed on issues that Hispanics care about. Only 32-percent of that group felt the same about Republicans. And in that same poll, 56-percent of Hispanics said the GOP is doing a bad job of reaching out to African-Americans, Hispanics and other minorities.

Speakers and participants of the Hispanic Leadership Network conference are not lost on those numbers.

In a recent Miami-Herald op-ed, Bush called on conservatives to do better at reaching out to Hispanics. He noted several wins by Latinos in the recent midterm election.

Then former Florida governor wrote, "Despite this success among candidates, conservatives continue to get unacceptably low support among Hispanic voters nationally." Bush noted that "center-right candidates have failed to win more than 40 percent of the Hispanic vote nationally since 2004."

"While the reason for such low numbers is debatable, the way to turn them around is clear: a long-term commitment to outreach and better articulation of our values by conservative leaders."

soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. Redleg

    Wouldn't this be more credible if a hispanic did the outreach?

    January 14, 2011 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  2. LGNY

    The story says it all. Why go for a party that keeps pushing laws to make life difficult for their group.

    My spouse is a Canadian immigrant and I have first hand experience with the mechanics of helping her obtain a permanent residency in the US. And this was pre-9.11 when the rules were more lax. Even with a perfect profile (marrying a citizen, college graduate, good technical job, no police record, ....) she still had to jump through many months of red tape.

    January 14, 2011 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  3. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Millionaire medicare scammer Florida Governor Scott, has been campaigning to make a Florida immigration law similar to Arizona. He is someone Hispanics can trust, that is if Hispanics like to be stabbed in the back.

    January 14, 2011 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  4. waldodio

    Actually, I'm pretty sure the Republicans' position toward Hispanics is that their home is back wherever they came from.

    January 14, 2011 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  5. Boo Rippublicans

    Hispanics will be fools to even give the repulicans their time of day,especially now that the teaparty is involved..duh

    January 14, 2011 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  6. Peter s

    After crushing the dream act!! the Republicans think the Hispanic people are that stupid? Common folks stop the hypocricy!

    January 14, 2011 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  7. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA - John "The Weeper of the House" Boehner

    Look at the republicans trying to pander to hispanics. It's pathetic. If they cared anything about the hispanic community, they would have pushed for members of their party in Congress to vote Yes on the DREAM Act. The republicans will never be diverse as the democratic party when it comes to minorities. Simple as that.

    January 14, 2011 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  8. Name king

    These repugs are some politics guru ain't they! They've stumped on the hispanics every chance they get now they are asking them to vote against their own interest just like the way they asked the American people to vote against their own interest. Then dump on them as soon as the election was over to kiss up to the rich. They have trampled on immigration reform that would have given state government billions of dollars toward the deficit blaming amnesty. I don't wrong them for trying because people usually lesson to extreme views and the repug have a knock to convince folks to go against their own interest.

    January 14, 2011 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  9. Al-NY,NY

    the only group the zenophobes have a monopoly on are the south Florida Cuban exiles since they talk a tough game against Castro. The rest is a lost cause. Dream on GOP. You've alienated them beyond repair with the nationalistic posturing and anti-anything remotely resembling reasonable imigration reform. Go ahead and plan mass deportations to satisfy the sheep. Where's the $??? Certainly not in the making since you've already reneged on your campaign promise of $100 billion (million) reduction in spending

    January 14, 2011 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  10. RdclCntrst

    "While the reason for such low numbers is debatable, the way to turn them around is clear: a long-term commitment to outreach and better articulation of our values by conservative leaders."

    It is true that Hispanic and Latino voters do tend to skew socially conservative, but I don't think that not being conservative ENOUGH is the GOP's problem with Spanish speaking voters. You also might want to try NOT vociferously pursuing policies that try to kick them out of, or keep them from entering, this country. Just a thought.

    January 14, 2011 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  11. ABM

    and the lies begin......

    January 14, 2011 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  12. vic nashville tn

    Don’t abandon the GOP. Wow GOP abandon Hispanics in 2006

    Hispanics voted for G.W.Bush in 2000 and 2004 what they got 287g, SB1070 no dream act
    GOP didn’t count Hispanics in 2010 because they didn’t need Hispanics votes but 2012 they need them very badly

    January 14, 2011 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  13. T'sah from Virginia

    [Bush stressed that his party's philosophy centered on limited government, lower taxes, education reform and maintaining U.S. competitive edge – all items, he said, that makes the GOP a natural home for Hispanics.]

    Everybody wants the above???? Limited Government is the ONLY concept that differs from the Left that the RepubliCAN’Ts scream loudest about but when it gets down to LIMITING the government – what are they cutting?

    RepubliCAN’Ts do not have to "court" Hispanics with a "big political kiss” because the Hispanics that are here legally are most likely already Republicans – All they need to do is to resolve Immigration Reform with a HEART!!

    January 14, 2011 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  14. Juanito Notfooled

    That's why it's the REPUBLICANS who are trying to pass legislation to keep Hispanics out of this country! Who do they think they're fooling! Who in their right mind would believe them at this point! Yeah, right, they're sure trying to court Hispanics to get into office and then pass laws against them, huh. Sure, those who are totally uninformed about their agenda might actually fall for that. But just look at Arizona! So, think again!

    January 14, 2011 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  15. Mickey, NY

    Yeah, and after getting the Hispanic vote, they'll be thrown under the bus just like they did with the Tea Party.

    Here's an idea for the GOP: Stick to canvassing trailer parks for votes.

    January 14, 2011 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  16. Bob from Pittsburgh

    How would anybody believe the republicans are on the side of Latinos.. the answer is clear.. ""NO"" , just listen to Rush, Jan Brewer and her hateful rethoric alog with the many lies, and others such a the Republican pundits, and ask yourself, why would latinos support the very people that say such horrible things about us Latinos?..

    January 14, 2011 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  17. SA in OO

    I didn't see Jan Branch on the program for the Hispanic Leadership Network Conference.
    Shouldn't she be the Keynote speaker?

    January 14, 2011 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  18. Ann

    jjajajajjjhahahhaha what a joke! They need our votes, that is all. I am sorry they will not have mine.

    January 14, 2011 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  19. Dave

    As a former republican turned independent the way you court them is to stop having your members talk down to them. Stop treating all of them like they are illegals. Stop treating them like second class citizens. Stop treating them like they don't have a brain. Plain and simple: Treat Hispanics like human beings. That is always a good start.

    January 14, 2011 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  20. welches, oregon

    I believe all Latino Americans are too smart to believe this.

    January 14, 2011 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  21. Rsprings

    Those Hispanics who are in the US Legally need to wake up and realize the illegal immigration will impact them and their children. They need get on board with those who want to stem the rising tide of illegal immigration. I am not anti Hispanic. I think illegal immigration from anywhere needs to be stopped. There is a legal way, so use it.

    January 14, 2011 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  22. rs

    Given how Republicans demonize Hispanics (especially in my state of Arizona), are out to overturn the 14th Amendment, simply can't abide anything resembling Immigration reform, or something to help blue-collar workers, along with their wacky English-only, no ethnic studies laws, I tend to think they are not playing with reality here. The GOP is a rich, white party, and that's pretty much it. They can't even acknowledge that Obama is the legitimate President of our country (right Issa?). How in God's name do they think they will embrace Hispanics?

    January 14, 2011 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  23. Marcus

    There are people who come legally and illegally to the US. Those who are here illegally represent a problem and a challenge for the various branches of government, and so far the Republicans only presented Constitutionally challenged (at best) answers to the problem.
    But only those who came here legally and here stablished their lives, and eventually became CITIZENS, have the right to vote in the many elections that happen in the US.
    So THAT is the GOP' strategy: 'Dont bother about our answers, they don't affect you (right?), to the ones that are here illegally, you (voters) are the one that counts'?

    January 14, 2011 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  24. NOT one more BUSH

    I find it funny that republicans choose Coral Gables in Miami to tell Hispanics that the GOP is their home. Only the Cubans feel that way about the GOP, most other Hispanic will vote Democrat.

    January 14, 2011 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  25. Jill American

    The Republicans stop the DREAM Act and don't work on immigration for 8 years while Bush was in the White House and now they ask the Hispanic population for their vote? Are you kidding me?

    January 14, 2011 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
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