Seriously, on the wake of great losses by Republicans during the most recent election, many people seem to have now all the answers! Where were they, you ask? Well, they were running the party, running for office, or running campaigns.
I have been reading so many articles written by people who were heavily involved in the decision-making process of those campaigns that I find it almost comical to read what they think Republicans should do to win.
Republicans need to recognize that there is a problem. The problem is not Hispanics, or Democrats; as a matter of fact the problem is within.
- Rosario Marin, Former U.S. Treasurer
This is most funny when it comes to the issue of the Hispanic vote. There is a lot of finger-pointing and some of them take a holier-than-thou attitude when they talk about immigration. Now this newfound wisdom seems almost hilarious because in fact some of these same consultants were the ones doing the advising as to what candidates needed to do and say regarding this issue.
The divisiveness, the conniving, and ultimately the loss was due to the fact that these consultants convinced candidates that in order to win the primary, they had to go to the right on this issue only to move to the center after they won the primary. I did talk to many people about how that strategy was going to bite us in the general election, as it had in the past, but the only thing I and my Hispanic Republican friends would hear was: “We have to get out of the primary.” Well, we were right and they were wrong, and unfortunately we lost.
Now those same people write about how Republicans need to attract Latinos. Well, first of all I am glad that they are beginning to realize that their strategy failed. In order to deal with the problem, just like in the AA world, Republicans need to recognize that there is a problem. The problem is not Hispanics, or Democrats; as a matter of fact the problem is within.
There will be many other campaigns, some we will win and some we will lose, but one thing we know for sure is that the Democrats have been diligent in procuring the Hispanic vote. Whether it was through genuine interest or just mere pandering, they have convinced Hispanics so far that they are welcome there. We as Republicans have failed to do that, and in the process we have hurt ourselves.
There are a lot of renewed efforts to bring about the immigration discourse to a level that is palatable to most of us. For many Hispanic Republicans, just as for many other immigrants, the rhetoric on the Republican side was absolutely offensive. It doesn’t mean that providing blanket amnesty to everyone here illegally is the answer; no, but what we all want and we are right to demand is a respectful debate on an issue that, by its very nature, is contentious.
We will go a long way if we deal with this issue in a thoughtful and deliberative way. Giving it the right tone will facilitate our efforts to reach many who would otherwise continue to spurn us.
Rosario Marin served as the 41st US Treasurer under President George W. Bush. She is the author of "Leading Between Two Worlds Lessons" from the first Mexican-born Treasurer of the United States.