The purpose of this open letter is to help Republicans and other politicians better understand the mechanisms and inner workings of the Hispanic community, hopefully assisting them to change their way of thinking and approach.
The 2012 Presidential election was a wake-up call for Republicans. We realized that if wewere to survive, even grow, we required a bigger Hispanic vote. One of the problems with the Republican establishment and some politicians today is that they are tone deaf. Despite the data, Republicans continue to push their Immigration reform agenda (amnesty); erroneously believing this will garner the necessary votes to ensure their future survival. The problem with their premise is that they believe the problem to be one of action, or so-called “doing stuff” for the Hispanic community.
Republicans think, “if only we show them we care and are compassionate enough, they will see that and vote for us.” Sadly, they could not be more wrong. Even prominent Hispanics such as Marco Rubio (for whom I have the highest respect) have failed to understand the inner workings of the Hispanic community.
Why am I writing this letter? Simple. I love my country and my Party. I was not raised a Republican; I was raised as a Christian Conservative. I believe the Republic party’s platform is the closest to biblical values. As a Hispanic, I am proud to be part of the Republican Party.
However, recently the Republican Party has suffered from being schizophrenic and is in danger of losing the principles and values that have made it the party I love.
How is this happening? Through corrupt Republicans that have rejected our long-held belief in Constitutional values and safeguards. These are the same politicians who believe that only by being Democrat light, will Republicans win another election. Our party has been sabotaged by un-principled, lazy, conforming, back room dealing, life-long politicians who no longer care about the country, but about themselves. We all know who these Republican establishment types are. These are the politicians who vocally go against the President and the Democrats but fully support them behind closed doors and sell out their country and party for their own political gain. They are a sham. They are best friends with the people they are supposedly against and covertly support their policies. Disgusting!
Do you want to know why the Republican Party is dying and has such a low congressional approval rating? Because they no longer have courage. We no longer stand on principles even if it means our demise. I realize the narrative among liberals and Democrats are that we (Republicans) need to become more “moderate” in order to survive. This could not be further from the truth. The truth is, we no longer inspire others by our un-willingness to stare political death in the face and say “Go ahead, do your worst.”
When did love of country give way to fear of losing an election? Senator Rand Paul’s historic filibuster was influential, not because of the filibuster itself, but because he was willing to stand for what he believed, despite attacks from his own party (see “whacko birds”).
People are hungry for leadership, courage, principle, and selflessness. Sadly, these values are no longer common, so when we see them being practiced, we feel a sense of pride, value, and patriotism. This is what America used to be. One where politicians stand for what is better for the country, even if it means they will lose an election. That is a patriot. Congressman Allen West is a great example of a man who has principle and is a true patriot. Do you want to save the Republican Party? Quit being pansies and cowards and start standing for what you believe without worrying about the political outcome. I will not vote for a party that has become the same as the Democrat party. The principles that distinguished Republicans from Democrats are being blurred. We will lose our base and become extinct. The answer is not to become more like Democrats, but to become the party that once was pace-setter. The Party of personal freedom, free-market capitalism, and personal responsibility.Returning to your roots is the key to survival. We have lost our way, our compass no longer points north.
Ironically, most Hispanics agree with Republicans on 95% of issues from pro-life to traditional marriage, so where is the disconnect? If this is true, which it is, where have we, Republicans, dropped the ball with the Hispanic community? I will outline a few powerful points that should help Republicans and politicians better understand the disconnect between the Hispanic community and the Republican Party. This will hopefully allow some repair for that broken line and begin making inroads into those communities. It is important to remember that all of these points have similarities and are interrelated.
- Hispanics believe that Republicans do not care for them, and Democrats do.
Let’s give credit where credit is due. Democrats have done a fantastic job at reaching out to Latino communities. Republicans, have not. This will be painful for Republicans to grasp, but real change cannot occur until we face the truth no matter how painful. We have exhibited with our actions, our words, and our demeanor, that Hispanics are not important to us. I am not saying to cater to their every whim. However, Democrats get it. The disconnect for Republicans is they believe, “If they agree with our ideas, they will vote for us. We will not pander to them.” Wrong! It is not about pandering. Do you want to know the secret to getting the Hispanic vote? Relationships.
What did Democrats do in 2008 and 2012? They had an amazing grass-roots campaign. They went door-to-door, attended events in the Latino community, reached out to them, and immersed themselves in their culture. Who do you think Latinos are going to vote for? Someone who just preaches self-reliance and says “thank you”, or someone who goes into a Latino neighborhood, drinks and eats their food, attempts to speak their language, and shows that they “care” for them? The reason why Republicans did the so-called “autopsy” report and have said it is an immigration issue is because it is an easy cop-out. It is easy to say, “They did not vote for us because we are against immigration.” It removes any sense of self-responsibility, the same thing we accuse others of doing. When we realize that we have come across as arrogant, indifferent, cold, and callous. Then we will be prepared to change.
I know many right now are saying “This guy is a compassionate conservative and wants us to cater to the Latino community by passing laws that favor them by sucking up to them.” Wrong. I am a Conservative in every sense of the word (3 prong). You are misunderstanding me. It has nothing to do with legislation and everything to do with how we come across to others. I, as a Hispanic, feel extremely welcome in the Republican Party, but I am not your typical Hispanic. I was born and raised to be a Conservative. Latinos are creatures of habit and family. You win one over and that usually multiplies into several more.
The key to the Latino vote is building meaningful, long-term relationships where they feel you really care for their well-being. Again, this is different from pandering. They have been taught to associate the Republican Party with the rich, white male, and evil corporations who do not care for the poor. We have a monumental battle in front of us, but it can be overcome. I am not saying that we will garner 70% of the Hispanic vote, there are ideologues in every culture, but we can make serious in-roads into the Latino community, especially in Florida, Nevada, and Ohio.We can win a large chunk of the Latino vote; it will just require substantial work and time.
Advice: Be smart…Listen! Visit Latino communities and ask the difficult questions such as “What can we do to improve?” “Why don’t you vote for us?” and “How do we come across to you?”
- Hispanics have bought the narrative that the Republican Party is the party of the rich, and corporations.
As stated in the point above, Hispanics have been fed the narrative that Republicans are heartless, cruel, un-caring, evil, and [insert any other negative comment here]. They have bought it hook, line, and sinker. Why? There are several reasons.
One, their news channels Univision, and Telemundo lean very left. There are no formidable conservative alternatives to these channels.
Second, they have seen with their own eyes what the news is telling them. I am not saying that Republicans are these things, but when there are left leaning news agencies proclaiming bad things about a party, Hispanics already have a pre-disposition to view Republicans negatively. Add the Republican Party’s inability to properly articulate a simple idea, and you have what seems like a believable narrative. We, as Republicans, carry much of the blame. We put inarticulate people to explain our positions. That is an unwise move. President Reagan was a masterful communicator. Speaker Newt Gingrich was also a masterful orator. Today, none of the establishment Republicans can speak a sentence that makes sense. However, there is hope. We have brilliant young Republicans such as Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Mike Lee and so forth. These young Senators should be placed in the forefront to speak on behalf of the Republican Party on difficult issues. Instead, we have the McCains, Grahams, and McConell’s speaking out against them. Despicable!Advice: Learn to articulate your positions before you speak. Find your best communicators and use them vigorously and stop attacking your biggest assets (The Tea Party is not the enemy).
- Hispanics believe that Democrats are for Immigration reform and Republicans are not.
Believe it or not, this is not the biggest issue. More important than the issue itself, it fits into the bigger narrative that Republicans do not care for the poor. Now, we know this is not true, but in politics, perception is reality. This is all about marketing, nothing more. Democrats have branded themselves as the Party that fights for the common man, the oppressed, the poor, the bullied, the minorities, etc. We know this is not true, but they control the narrative and have for some time. What matters is not what we know or think, but what Hispanics think is true. Grab that narrative and add the immigration issue, and you have a winning argument for the Democrats. We must be smarter and start changing the narrative, not by passing amnesty, but by displaying our true heart. How we love them and want to show it through free-market principles and how that is the greatest compassion we can show to the average person. How these principles, when properly allowed to flourish, lift the poor from poverty. We truly love them; we just have to show it.
- Hispanics are used to big government, we have to show them the alternative.
Cuba, Nicaragua, Mexico, El Salvador, take your pick. All these countries have a morbidly obese government that is full of corruption. These governments have become experts at controlling the masses and managing their discontentment. How? Through handouts (aka government programs, and incentives). These countries have abysmal unemployment. Do you want to see real wealth inequality? Look at Latin America. It is in the government’s best interest to keep people poor and hungry. This creates a perpetual cycle, where the government keeps people poor, thus people need the government.
We, as Conservatives, must show them how great the alternative is. They have been taught that America leeches off the poor. They have not been introduced to the true principles of free enterprise, freedom, and personal responsibility. These are foreign concepts to them and are not easy to understand. Many cannot see why this will help them escape poverty or make their lives better. Remember, they have been taught all their lives that government is the answer.
Advice: Do not get upset. Be patient. Understand that their culture and background make it difficult for them to understand these concepts. Teach them the American way and how it benefits them.
- Hispanics are receptive people, if you just listen.
The Latino community wants what everyone else wants, a better life for themselves and their families. To this end, we must learn how to properly communicate to them. Speaking the same language is not the same as proper communication. American men and women speak the same language, but as we all know, men rarely communicate with women effectively. The reasoning is the same. We must learn their culture, norms, beliefs, and customs to better understand them. Once we understand them,we will be able to begin to effectively communicate with them.
Advice: Quit being selfish. Go outside yourself; learn their culture and how they communicate. It will offer you a different perspective and help you appreciate their state of mind. Then we can begin explaining our principles in a way they will be able to understand.
- Hispanics have real concerns; they are very family oriented, not individualistic. You win one, you win several.
We, as Conservative Republicans, are extremely short sided. We need to stop adding and begin multiplying. The blessing and curse of Latin communities is that they are collectivistic. This can be both beneficial and hurtful. For every Hispanic we bring to our side, three more cross over (the opposite is also true). Hispanics rarely come alone. They listen to family members and clergy. Family is power, which is the glue that keeps them all together. I can tell you this from personal experience. We can show them how to become more individualistic, however, family is everything. This is our stronghold; here is where we should be making our stand.
Advice: Appeal to our commonalities. Show them we are no different than them and have mutual interests. We are fighting for the same goal (More money and freedom).
- Democrats have met Hispanics on their level, Republicans have not.
I somewhat alluded to this on some of the above points. However, I know some Republicans are fuming and saying “liar.” It is not my intention to belittle anyone, or to claim that Republicans do not care about Hispanics. However, the truth is that we have come across as though we do not care. Again, the solution is not more legislation (amnesty) or repealing voter ID laws but a change in our way of coming across and reaching out. Republicans would benefit from a great marketing campaign. A smart grass-roots campaign into Latino communities could potentially change the political landscape in swing states. We need to exhibit interest in listening to the plight if the Latino community. We have failed in this area. We do not have to agree with everything they tell us, but listening goes a long way. This will better help us understand how we are failing.
Advice: Go down to their level. Eat their food, speak their language, and display empathy. Show genuine interest in helping their community.
- Republicans believe that ideas will win in the end.
This is the biggest lie ever told. I wish it were true, but sadly, it is not. As a Conservative, I realize our ideas are better and right. I whole-heartedly believe in the free-market, capitalism, personal responsibility, lower taxes, a strong military, fiscal responsibility, God, and the Constitution. These are the tenants of what makes America the greatest country on earth. The disconnect lies in that we erroneously believe that the Latino community’s vote is based on whose ideas are better.
Remember that Latin American politicians rarely win based on ideas, but on bribery, lies, and sabotage. The average Hispanic does not believe in the political process. They vote because they are told how important it is or what will be lost if X candidate wins/loses. They are naturally skeptical, and rightfully so. We need to properly articulate our ideas and show them how we, as Americans, are different than where they come from. How beautiful our political process is and how great our country really is.
If this was just a war of ideas, then I believe Republicans would overwhelmingly win every time. This is not to say that Republicans are better than Democrats when it comes to implementing our beliefs. We have added to the deficit almost just as much as the Democrats, we need to show we are different, that we have learned from our mistakes.
Advice:Understand that this is not a war of ideas v. ideas. It is, as previously stated, a matter of relationships.
I would like to end this open letter with a few thoughts. I personally believe relationships or lack thereof are the reason why we are losing the Hispanic vote. It sounds simple, but it is quite complex. You do not form relationships overnight or in a week. We also have to be genuine, and truly show that we care. This is no simple task; it will require us to take a painful look at how we come across.
You will be dealing with Hispanics who are naturally skeptical of authority figures and will be skeptical of us (Republicans). We will need to win them over. This can be accomplished through an honest, genuine, and smart grass roots campaign. We need to meet them where they are, learn their culture, eat their food, and hear their stories. Only then, will we be able to properly understand how they think, thus allowing us to properly and effectively communicate our ideas. This will allow us to make major inroads into the Latino communities.
Make no mistake, this will not happen overnight, but if the Republican establishment can pull its head out of the sand and actually do some work, we can begin changing the political landscape for the Republican Party. This will pay huge dividends in the long run. May God be with our country and our Party. I pray this letter finds its way to open minds and open hearts.
We live in the greatest country this world has ever known. It is our duty to show others why this country is so wonderful. We are living in trying times, where our freedoms are being abridged. Let us band together and fight the good fight. Stand up and Fight for freedom! Let us rise to meet the challenges before us, and if it means our death, then so be it…let it come. For we will die with honor, like the great one’s before us.