Mitt Romney Bids to Attract Hispanic Vote with Día Uno Ad

Paul Harris, Guardian (London), May 19, 2012

Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney has launched an aggressive campaign to woo Hispanic voters away from Barack Obama.

A Spanish-language version of a campaign ad will air this week in key states—the first political ad produced by the Romney campaign since his last Republican rival dropped out of the race.

The ad is called Día Uno, which means day one in English, and features Romney speaking a Spanish-language version of the “I approve this message” tagline that all American presidential candidate put on official TV ads. “Soy Mitt Romney y apruebo este mensaje,” the former governor of Massachusetts says stiffly.

The move comes only days after the latest figures released by the US Census showed that for the first time there are more Hispanic and black and other minority babies being born in America than white ones.

Among US minority groups Hispanics are the largest and fastest-growing, now making up more than 50 million people, which is one in six Americans. Romney’s campaign is keen to make inroads into the demographic group, often stressing socially conservative issues such as opposition to abortion and gay marriage that chime with the Republicans‘ traditional white base as well as often devoutly Roman Catholic Hispanics.

There are also some senior Hispanic figures in the party. Marco Rubio is a junior senator in Florida of Cuban background. He is popular with the Tea Party base and often cited as an example that the Republican’s conservative message can resonate with Hispanic groups.

In lists of Romney’s possible vice-presidential picks, Rubio is frequently mentioned and seen as a way of attracting Hispanic voters. Another possible running mate would be Susana Martinez, the Republican governor of New Mexico. The party has also appointed Hispanic outreach directors in six battleground states. Romney himself even has personal links to Mexico as his father, George Romney, was born there.

But the task facing Romney is not going to be easy. In 2008 Obama won 67% of the Hispanic vote compared with Republican John McCain’s 31%. A Pew Research poll found that Romney’s position had weakened, with his support at 27% while Obama’s remained steady at 67%. A Quinnipiac University poll found Romney’s support even lower at 24%.

Those figures show that a socially conservative message, based on faith and traditional families, is not quite enough for Republicans to do well in Spanish-speaking America. “There is a faith-based small “c” conservatism that could make Hispanics into natural Republicans. But the problem for Republicans is that Hispanics are also liberal on issues such as social welfare and the role of government,” said Professor Shaun Bowler, a political scientist at the University of California at Riverside.

But an even bigger issue for the Romney campaign when it comes to wooing Hispanic supporters is immigration. During the nomination race Republican leaders jockeyed with each other to come up with the strictest plans for a border fence until Herman Cain even suggested building an electrified fence.

“There was some crazy stuff coming out,” said Bowler. In eventually winning the contest, Romney tacked far to the right, opposing a law that would have allowed the children of illegal immigrants to go to college, praising a controversial Arizona law that many critics have said is racist, and urging illegal immigrants to “self-deport” from America before a planned crackdown on benefits they can claim.

None of those sentiments will have endeared him to Hispanic voters. Indeed they even infuriated Martinez, who criticised Romney in an interview with Newsweek. “Self-deport? What the heck does that mean?” she told the magazine. She went on to say Republicans needed to change their language and adopt more nuanced policies on the issue. “I have no doubt Hispanics have been alienated during this campaign. But now there’s an opportunity for Governor Romney to have a sincere conversation about what we can do and why,” she said.

It will not be easy. Any softening of Romney’s hard line on immigration will see him anger his Tea Party base. However, many experts believe the long-term demographic trends of America mean the Republicans will have to work out a way of appealing to Hispanic voters eventually or potentially face a permanent exile from the White House.

“The Republican party is becoming older, whiter and more Protestant at a time when America is becoming younger, browner and less Protestant,” said Bowler.

Topics: ,

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • loyalwhitebriton

    The British Tory party tried to woo minority voters before the 2010 election. They failed.
    Minorities want two things:
    1. Welfare.
    2. Preferential treatment.
    It is in the psychology of minorities to want these things, because minority status is more conducive to fostering these attitudes due to the inherent self-centredness of all people; and this inherent self-centredness is made more manifest, made more poignant, when one can see that one is different from the majority.
    Point being: if you represent (at least ostensibly) a centre-right, pro-patriotic party, you should forget about appealing to the minority vote; you are simply ‘flogging a dead horse’

    • Sherman_McCoy

      3.  White girls and women for rape and breeding purposes.

  • BLACK AND TAN BABIES CANNOT VOTE CAN THEY

    Romney is going to become the next previous candidate for president just like John McCain.   Romney is Obama’s second term into the White House.  Rick, Newt, Boccman, Palin, Perry, and others would never have done this.  

    Everyone always thinks their nation is going to last  a thousands years.  Well not one of the governments that were around in the 1900s is around today except for the dying USA.  

    • IstvanIN

      England, by itself, has had a pretty good run post-Oliver Cromwell.  And Monaco. Otherwise I can not think of a major or minor country that hasn’t undergone some major upheavals over the last 100 years.  Even countries with long standing royal families, such as Japan, have had their actual governments tossed and turned.  The US has only been stable since 1865, at gun point, and the UK as a whole since 1922. Sad state of affairs.

  • anmpr1

    Obama is the fast burn.  Romney the slow.  I say get it over with quickly.  Why prolong the inevitable?  The US is doomed.  Better for it to fall apart and those that can make something better of it.

  • The__Bobster

    Paul Harris of The Guardian? Well, his country is already screwed. We don’t need any lessons from him on screwing up ours. We’re doing a good enough job on our own.

  • Johnny Reb

    I think Romney will do well with hispanics if he just acts like a man, quits pandering and has real plans to put money in Pedro’s pocket. 

    Pedro and his pals voted for Obama because he’s mulatto like most of them.  But the mulatto thing doesn’t put tacos on the table.  They’re about as sick of this incompetent man-child as whites are.

  • I wonder if all this effort to “woo” Hispanics would even be necessary if this country would simply enforce our immigration laws. Something to think about…..

  • JackKrak

    If these people are eligibile to vote, they are – technically – American citizens.

    Why are these ads in Spanish?

  • Romney is a politician
    SO HE’S a liar.
    Instead of lying to whites all the time
    NOW POLS lie to mexicans

    let them suffer

  • A bit OT, but has anyone been paying attention to this mess that started on Sunday?

    I’ve been wondering who precisely is the next Obama, the next mulatto messiah the world is supposed to fawn over.  Turns out the answer is Newark Mayor Cory Booker.

    It’s obvious that he wants to challenge Krispy Christie for Governor of NJ in 2013, so he’s trying to triangulate himself away from the left-Democrat’s vituperative toward Wall Street, because a good chunk of the stock trading industry on the back end is situated in NJ.  From there, he can run for President in 2016 or 2020.

    What’s nauseating about it is that the Republican establishment has made a big hero of what is essentially Obama II.

  • JohnEngelman

    As a member of the employer – investor class Mitt Romney wants more Hispanic immigrants to drive down wages. 

  • Robert11110

    There are so many things wrong with this article, where do I start?  First off, there are not 50 million Hispanics but around 30 million Hispanics who are US citizens or authorized to live in the US via a green card.  Remember, the Census counts anyone in the country regardless of whether they’re legal or not.  There will be 50 million if we get another amnesty and once they’re able to sponsor their relatives over here it will mushroom to 150 million or more in a very short time. 
     
    Second, how can Romney appeal to Hispanics with social conservative values when he’s not socially conservative himself?  He said in 1994 when he ran for senator that he wanted to be more liberal on gay rights than his opponent, Ted Kennedy.  Gay marriage became law under his watch in Massachusetts and he invented the $50 abortion.  Think he’s changed or maybe he’s just lying to win over white conservatives?  Well, look at what’s been in the news lately about some of his surrogates.  Take the former Sheriff Babeau of Arizona who resigned among allegations that he threatened his gay illegal alien lover with deportation if he tried to “out”  him.  Another one of Romney’s rainbows, a Richard Grenell resigned, allegedly due to conservative pressure.  Maybe I’m naive but I expect a campaign staff to reflect the values of the candidate but then again it probably does.  Can you imagine someone like Santorum staffing his campaign with people like that? 
     
    No matter how hard the GOP tries, the majority of Hispanics will never vote Republican unless they start competing with the Democrat Party for more entitlements and handouts and illegal alien amnesties.  I have noticed that most Hispanic voters that vote Republican are people with Spanish ancestry not Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Guatamalans, Salvadoreans or any of the other various mixed race nationalities. 
     
    Mitt Romney is not supported by the Tea Party and never has been.  He has a credibility gap with conservatives and the far right because he flip flops on issues.  I honestly believe that if conservatives and the far right don’t fight his nomination at the convention this election will be over before it even starts and no I’m not a Ron Paul kook either. 
     
     
     
     

  • The could care less about “saving” this country. They care about saving their political careers. If it means being a traitor to this country, while appealing to foreign invaders, then so be it. They are more than willing to do that!

  • Romney will give an amnesty to Mexicans,because he is kind of Mexican,when he was living in Mexico as Mormon he had sex with a lot of them,so he has tides to that country,Calderon the Mexican president said he will support Romney with illegals votes,that happened in Florida a lot of illegals and dead people voted for George w. Bush and he won that election against Al Gore,and this time is just like before,because Bush already endorsed him,so he will be working for Bush and Chaney,which is good for wars and invasions,plus reconstruction or rebuild over seas; in the other side Romney will make a lot more profit and he will invest in:Mexico, Colombia,Panama,Venezuela,Ecuador,Argentina and Bolivia. Because all those countries don’t like Obama,because they want more help than what they receive today.When Bush was president he helped Colombia with a lot of money for Social Problems the Plan Colombia,which is the plan that Obama don’t want to support.