OKLAHOMA CITY, July 31, 2013 ― As the number of U.S.-born Hispanics grows, there is no telling how powerful the Hispanic vote will be in a generation. The 2012 presidential election showed the power of the Hispanic vote as Hispanics came out in full force and let their voices be heard through the voting booth.
There is no hiding from the fact that outreach from the Republican Party is crucial to the Party’s success. Even President Reagan knew that outreach to Hispanic voters was important. Reagan once said, “Hispanics are Republicans, they just don’t know it.”
Hispanics are socially conservative; they believe in family values, hard work, and do not believe in government intrusion into our personal lives. The Republican National Committee (RNC) has its work cut out to attract Hispanics, but it starts from a strong position if it understands that essential conservatism.
Why then does the Republican Party struggle to reach to this growing demographic? The RNC seems not to understand Hispanic culture, nor to understand the cultural experiences that bring Hispanics together.
There is no doubt, however, that the RNC is making an effort to reach out to Hispanic voters and strong Hispanic Republican candidates. Even the College Republicans are realizing that the Hispanic vote must not be forgotten. Yet the outreach has been limited and making slow progress.
The biggest news from the RNC with regard to outreach is the appointment of GOP veteran strategist Jennifer Sevilla Korn. Korn will hold the title of Deputy Political Director and National Field Director for Hispanic Initiatives for the RNC.
Besides the new appointment to the committee, other Republican figures are making headlines outside the committee. Former U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez is making the voices of pro-immigration Republicans heard by serving as Chairman of Republicans for Immigration Reform. Florida Senator Marco Rubio has gone the distance by leading a group of senators on the issue of immigration reform, even going on Rush Limbaugh’s show to discus a decent formalized immigration reform package
The voices of Hispanic voters are growing louder; the 2012 election was a wake up call. The RNC understands the problem. It is making a start at resolving the issue by placing an individual with experience to lead the efforts for the Republican Party to capture Hispanic votes in the upcoming elections. The RNC may not understand Hispanics or the full scope of the challenge facing it, but it has made a commitment to reach out to Hispanics, and that’s a beginning.
Can the RNC learn and change quickly enough to benefit from the Hispanic vote in 2014 and 2016? If the immigration reform issue is not resolved soon, the GOP’s share of votes from a swelling Hispanic population will shrink. Knowing that should help focus minds at the RNC.