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Former RNC Chair: Big Mistake for Republicans to Blow Off “25,000 Hispanic activists and leaders”

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For once, I agree with former RNC chair Michael Steele on something!

Those Republicans who read the census data say the current paradigm of tough talk and no outreach is troubling.

I find it curious that no one decided to go visit or have a conversation today with 25,000 Hispanic activists and leaders gathered from around the country. We can’t afford to miss those opportunities. I get the whole thing with La Raza but people are people and we can find common ground,” Michael Steele, the former head of the Republican National Committee, told HuffPost, alluding to the organization’s presumed affiliation with Democrats.

“If I listened to people tell me, ‘Oh, you shouldn’t go talk to the NAACP people,’ that is just crazy,” he continued. “That’s not what politics is about. Politics is about the art of engagement.”

Michael Steele is correct, politics IS “about the art of engagement.” Except for Teapublicans, that is. So much for increasing their share of the Latino vote in 2012; such a shame!!! LOL

You gotta love the Republican presidential candidates’ lame excuses for why they didn’t attend this important gathering of Latinos from all over America, though. Thus, Romney characteristically (pathologically?) lies and flip flops (first his campaign says he was never invited, then when confronted with proof that they declined the invitation, “the spokesperson clarified that there had been a scheduling conflict”); “Bachmann, Gingrich and Huntsman did not respond to requests for comment;” and Pawlenty blames a “scheduling conflict” (true, he’s very busy — getting his butt kicked in Iowa!). Meanwhile, President Obama does the right thing, and also the smart thing politically, by showing up and speaking to the convention. For video of that, see above. Oh, and I’m looking forward to seeing states like New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, and others with large Latino populations, back in the “blue” column in 2012, 2016, and beyond!  

  • Tom

    As hard as I’ve tried to get anyone in my local or state party committees or campaigns even mildly interested in a serious attempt at Latino outreach, I have consistently received little more than a blank look, even when I’ve offered to help engage a bi-lingual Dem. Latino Organization of Va. officer to help prepare Spanish language lit. to use at the Old Town Manassas Latino Festival the 18th of Sept. The most positive response I’ve received so far is that they are aware of the Latino population growth and their “professional” paid staff are “working on that”. And then they blow off any offers to organize a Latino Outreach effort as if to say that the Latinos are already a given so they don’t have to do anything more. What they don’t seem to understand is that the Latino voters never heard from any campaigns in the GOTV efforts in the last election cycle so they simply didn’t bother to vote, partly because no Dem. candidate’s campaign bothered to tell them their votes and their volunteer support were needed.

    I’ll keep trying to convince the several campaigns I’m directly or peripherally involved in to make a really concerted effort to get the Latino community involved, but it’s still a major struggle to make them to understand that they have a goldmine of opportunity out there and all they have to do to “mine the gold”is to just let the Latino community know they are wanted, needed and are an important part of what we stand for. They just want someone in the Dem. party power structure to reach out to them and invite them into the Big Tent.

                          T.C.

  • RebeccaJ

    The last election cycle, members of our constituency group helped make 12,000+ calls for Gerry Connolly and helped with Spanish language voter protection. During Session, we helped write Talking Points for legislators and coordinate with Non-profits and other groups concerning anti-immigration bills that were, eventually killed. We helped the DPVA release approximately 5 Press releases on Session and other issues — several bilingual.

    There is now the start of a bilingual section to the DPVA web site and we are in discussions with the DPVA of helping to set up Spanish-language virtual phone-banks that campaigns can use across the state and developing a “What Democrats have done for Latinos” bilingual piece of lit to be used statewide this November. Several members are working individually on campaigns and some are even running for office — “walking the walk” by hiring Latino and other minority staffers and being careful about sending out bilingual materials.

    DLOV members are traveling around the state, trying to get materials translated by volunteers as requested by individual candidates and committees. They are helping to set up phone-banks and connecting Latino candidates with fundraising sources and people.

    Yes, it is a painstaking process but Latinos only started getting increasingly active in the political process with the Kaine and Obama campaigns and the Latino Caucus only got on the DPVA Steering Committee less than a year ago. But, with Latino candidates running for the House of Delegates, Senator Warner Co-Sponsoring the Dream Act and releasing announcements in his own newly acquired Spanish, with the bilingual Gov Kaine returning to VA politics, with more and more state and local Democrats who care about the Latino communities needs and issues stepping forward, with a DLOV membership that is trying to become more active with every election and a Democratic leadership that is more and more responsive — things are getting better.

    Are things perfect? Not at all. But, for a 2 year old Caucus, with no state-wide Latino elected officials, DLOV is doing pretty well and looks forward to doing better every day. Keep in mind that all of this is being done by volunteers with their OWN money and personal time.  

    I know that there are individuals and groups that have made their own hand-outs and items — they have taken the initiative. With Google translate, a computer and Kinko’s there is no reason why a short little brochure can’t be created by anyone who is interested in doing something while an ENTIRE INFRASTRUCTURE is created by a handful of volunteers trying to make state-wide progress.  

    Our email is DLOVirginia@gmail.com and we also have a Facebook Page, where you can keep up with all our activities:  www.facebook.com/DLOVirginia.