After Years Of Right-Wing Media Mocking Latino Outreach, GOP Candidates Seek Latino Support In Nevada

After Years Of Right-Wing Media Mocking Latino Outreach, GOP Candidates Seek Latino Support In Nevada

››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G. Versión en español

While Republican presidential candidates scramble to attract the Latino vote ahead of the Nevada caucuses, right-wing media have repeatedly mocked GOP outreach efforts toward the Hispanic engagement in the past.

Republican Vie For Latino Votes In Nevada Caucuses

MSNBC Highlights The Importance Of The Latino Vote Ahead Of GOP Nevada Caucuses. During the February 21 edition of MSNBC's The Place for Politics, host Chris Jansing interviewed Mi Familia Vota's Jocelyn Sida, former chair of the South Carolina Republican Party Katon Dawson, and the Reno Gazette-Journal's Seth Richardson on the importance of the Latino vote and the impact that anti-immigration rhetoric could have on the Hispanic community. (emphasis added):

CHRIS JANSING (HOST): We know how important the Latino vote is here. This is a big test for many of the candidates. Where is the Latino vote now? Give us a sense of where the electorate is and how worked up are they?

JOCELYN SIDA: They're very worked up. As we've seen yesterday, they showed up, they participated. So it's a big victory for the Latino community to participate, be engaged. We wanted them to stand up for the issues they believed in. So if any candidate is going to want the Latino vote to show up, they need to start talking about the issues that matter.

JANSING: Which are?

SIDA: Immigration, health care, education. I mean, immigration is a big issue but it's not the only issue. We have health care. We need to make sure that we start addressing the fact that a lot of the people -- a lot of the candidates are trying to talk about how they want to take away the Affordable Care Act, which has helped a lot of Latinos in Nevada and around the country. They want to take away the Dream Act, which, again, has helped a lot of the Latino community and all the youth in our state and in the country. So those are the issues that are important, and they need to start addressing and having the conversation. One side has done that and as we saw yesterday, they were attracted to that, and that made them show up. So it's not about which candidate won the Latino vote. It's about the Latino winning the vote itself.

JANSING: And showing up and that is critically important. What we saw, Katon, at the end of the last election was the RNC putting out essentially, you know, a post-analysis of what happened in the election and one of the key points that the RNC made, is that they were very concerned and they wanted to put great effort into getting out the Latino vote, getting out the minority vote. Are you seeing any indication that they've made strides there?

KATON DAWSON: I'm not seeing much. I mean, we've started a campaign again with the rhetoric about illegal immigration and immigration, and that has a tremendous concern especially in the Hispanic, Latino population. And when you look at the general election race, it's about eight states. And you look at North Carolina that we lost and won, you look at Virginia, you come look at states like Nevada, Colorado, those are states as Republicans we're going to have to win and we have to expand the map, and that's going to be a lot of work for us right now.

[...]

JANSING: And even though and I think the point is well taken that Latinos, blacks are like everybody else, they care about the economy, they care about education. These issues don't change but they have lived the immigration story, right? This is something that in their everyday lives is a constant presence. So how is that going to play out here when we look ahead at the overall large Latino population?

SETH RICHARSON: Well, it's hard to really make inroads with that community when you're starting off the conversation by saying we need to build a wall. That's going to drive people away. You know, it's like Jocelyn said, they want to talk about health care, they want to talk about education, family issues. They're people, they have more than just immigration on the mind but when you start two steps back it's hard to really get them to support you.

JANSING: So Katon, is it too late for the Republicans?

DAWSON: No, it's not too late. Donald Trump and the rest of the Republicans, let's watch Marco Rubio --

JANSING: I mean, he's not going to stop talking about building a wall, a beautiful wall, and getting Mexico to pay for it, he's not, it's worked for him.

DAWSON: He's won't, it's worked, it's gotten him votes so far but as this primary goes down, and the debate cycles come, you got to get pretty serious about trying to win a general election of which one it is. So what Donald Trump has the market cornered on is jobs, economic prosperity, and the disgust that the public has with Washington. He'll stay on that message for a while. Will it resonate inside the Hispanic and Latino community? Jobs, economic ability do. The viability of having better jobs and a better thing -- So let's see what happens, but at the time being we've had a pretty tough primary with some rhetoric that the RNC, the Nikki Haleys of the world haven't really appreciated. [MSNBC, The Place For Politics, 2/21/16]

NBC News: Republicans Have Begun Reaching Out To Latino Voters. A February 21 NBCNews.com article on the upcoming GOP Nevada caucuses reported that Republicans are actively reaching out to the Hispanic community in advance of the caucuses:

There has been little GOP candidate activity here in the past couple of weeks, when Democratic activity was ratcheting up around its caucus. But there was some work going on to draw Republican Latino voters to Tuesday's caucus.

The Nevada Republican Party held a Hispanic Republican caucus training Feb. 16 in North Las Vegas, an incorporated city on the edge of Las Vegas. Its population is 39 percent Hispanic.

Jesús Marquez, a Republican political analyst in Las Vegas, said the event was the first one focused only on Hispanics and was part of the Republican National Committee's effort to raise Latino involvement in the party.

He said about 40,000 Republicans overall, not just Hispanics, were expected to participate in the caucus.

"There's a lot of need in the community for this type of information and training," said Marquez, who also has held a caucus training at his home.

About a dozen or so people attended the training, some also bringing family. [NBCNews.com, 2/21/16]

But Right-Wing Media Have Repeatedly Mocked Republicans' Latino Outreach

Laura Ingraham Characterizes Spanish-Language Outreach As Anti-Assimilation. During the February 22 edition of The Laura Ingraham Show, host Laura Ingraham slammed Republican efforts to reach out to Spanish-speaking voters, mocking Spanish-speakers and claiming outreach in Spanish goes against the argument of "immigration is good because it's a melting pot" as it shows assimilation "[is] not working:"

LAURA INGRAHAM (HOST): I think the whole notion of our candidates -- speaking in Spanish to American citizens who are supposed to be assimilating -- your whole argument is that immigration is good because it's a melting pot, that's your whole argument, that it's a melting pot and it amounts to everybody's benefit and they spend money, and it's going to be good for the economy and then you spend millions of dollars with a push into the Hispanic community speaking Spanish. Well, how is that working, how is that assimilation working? It's not working. So I understand a lot of people speak Spanish and they rely on Univision for their news, I get that. But I think then we get to the point of, is that a good thing? [Courtside Entertainment Group, The Laura Ingraham Show, 2/22/16]

Rush Limbaugh: "Republicans Foolishly Believe" That They Have To Court The Hispanic Vote. During the September 2, 2015, edition of his show on Premiere Radio Networks, Rush Limbaugh criticized formerRepublican candidate Jeb Bush for doing campaign appearances in Spanish, dismissing the importance of the Latino voting bloc by saying "Republicans foolishly believe that they can't win unless they get the Hispanic vote":

RUSH LIMBAUGH (HOST): Jeb Bush. What planet are we on? Jeb Bush is doing campaign appearances in español. Somebody's got to explain this to me. I mean, beyond the obvious. I mean I know that the Republicans foolishly believe that they can't win unless they get the Hispanic vote. And, given that, apparently it is believed that habla en español is somehow a magnet for Hispanic, Latino votes. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 9/2/15]

Limbaugh: Hispanic Vote A "Non-Factor." On November 21, 2014, Rush Limbaugh denounced Republicans for being concerned with whether their opposition to Obama's executive action on immigration would alienate the Latino vote, calling it a "non-factor" (emphasis added):

RUSH LIMBAUGH (HOST): Mitt Romney got 27 percent of the Hispanic vote. How much more can they be alienated? So you see, the great fear inside the Republican establishment was not what Obama was going to do and not the result, not the impact on the country of what Obama was going to do, no, no, no, no, no -- the big fear of the Republican establishment was that certain hotheads in the party would overreact and alienate the fastest-growing group of voters in 2016, thereby signaling that the only thing that matters is winning elections, and however we have to do that we're going to do it, and if it means punting on core beliefs and issues, then we'll do that. But don't you guys, you hotheads run out there and screw it up for us, by making these Latinos think that we're like you, and don't like them. Meanwhile, you cannot find a single national poll showing a majority support for what Obama did. So why in the world is the Republican Party, in the face of yet again another majority opposing the president, why is the Republican Party running around and worried about something that is completely a non-factor? [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 11/21/14]

Fox's Brian Kilmeade Agreed With Trump's Criticism Of Jeb Bush's Use Of Spanish Language. On September 3, 2015, Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade said he agreed with Donald Trump's criticism of former GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush's use of Spanish to reporters during a campaign event. Trump reportedly said Bush "should really set the example by speaking English while in the United States," and Kilmeade agreed, saying when you overhear reporters speaking in Spanish you think, "What country are we in?":

BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): I tell you, I agree with Donald Trump because I've been in the locker room before when there is Spanish speaking, especially the soccer locker room and now the baseball locker room, and when the Spanish reporters are talking to the player in Spanish, we sit around and go 'what's going on here? What country are we in?' I think that unless it is a Spanish speaking group of press, I think Donald Trump is 100 percent right. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 9/3/15]

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