Swing voters. Are we interested in them? If you aren’t, you should be. They are the difference between a squeaker and a landslide.
Let me give you some examples. Lincoln managed to come out of nowhere in the election of 1860 by swinging the farm vote. He changed the dialog of the Republican party from abolition (“People are evil if they own slaves”) to “A man should be able to enjoy the fruits of his own labor.” The Republicans went from a 15% party to 45% and won. Reagan found the Reagan Democrats. They agreed with Republicans on most social issues. But they liked the entitlements. So Reagan said we have 7 safety net programs that must be preserved. Otherwise he intended to get the government off the people’s backs.
Notice that in every case, the successful candidate didn’t change his beliefs. He just changed the approach and the impact of what he proposed. Reagan didn’t placate the swing voters by saying he was going to expand the safety net. But he also didn’t say that if you depended on a safety net program you were wrong.
Okay, so digging around with some statistics I have discovered a potential bunch of swing voters. I want you to think, “could we work with this group?” This group hates debt. They have little personal debt and if you do they look at you like “is there something wrong with you, man?” They believe strongly that hard work is the only way to succeed. They are more traditional with family values than the average American. Sometimes they say they feel like old fashioned people compared to everyone else. They are anti-abortion. But, like Reagan Dems, they are fiscally moderate and want the safety nets. Do you think we could work with these folks and welcome them into our party?
Of course the group I’m talking about is Hispanics. And of course “Hispanic” is an artificial name. People of this group call themselves by their country of origin. “Hey, I’m Dominican.” “When you are Mex, you just have to work harder.” One out of 3 Hispanics is Mex, like our foster daughter.
Some people fear that Hispanics won’t assimilate. Well, listen to this statistic. 1/3 of young Hispanics marry across ethnic lines. That’s the fastest assimilation since Germans came to America in the 19th century and gave us all those new things we seem to think are American. There’s nothing more American than hamburgers, hot dogs and apple pie, right? There are 17M Hispanic children and 93% were born here in USA. They think of themselves as American as apple pie.
Yeah, but aren’t they often illegals? Of all Spanish speaking immigrant adults, how many do you think are illegals? It’s one in six. 10.5 million illegals and 57 million total Hispanics. The number of Hispanics has grown from 3M to 57M in 50 years. They have lots of kids and the group is young.
From the purely economic standpoint, that is good. Europe and Japan have aging declining populations with not enough workers to fund their versions of social security like us. Slow economies, meager labor force. Backbiting over shrinking government revenues. Japan lets nobody in and they have had 25 years of depression. In Europe, they have let Muslim Turks come to fill the worker gap who absolutely do not assimilate. USA has done 57 M abortions and replaced with 57 M Hispanic workers.
What about the border? The border situation was created when LBJ and the Dems disallowed migrant guest workers in 1967. It was to make the War on Poverty numbers look successful. You know, shut out some impoverished people and it looks like there is suddenly less poverty. So the Latino guys started to slip in. It became an epidemic. So, in 1986, Amnesty was passed with a promise to enforce the border that wasn’t kept. I asked a guy who came here legally what it cost. In 1990 it cost about $1000 in paperwork and lawyer fees and you waited 2 years to become legal. Now it’s $20,000 and you wait 12-13 years. Can you see how tempting it is to climb the fence? The median income of Mexico is $5000, by the way. Congress closed door legally but in practice we have open borders. Open borders lets in drug cartels and gangs, terribly poor and uneducated people and of course potential terrorists. At this point, we can secure the border but we can’t turn back the clock on what has happened. If we locked the border perfectly beginning tonight at midnight, Hispanics would still grow to 35% of population by 2050.
How do we deal with these swing voters? How did Cory Gardner and Ted Cruz win 50% of Hispanic vote in their elections in Colorado and Texas? Latinos are a passionate people and they like a passionate leader. They want to hear someone with sympathy and empathy for the sacrifices they have made and the situation they are in. Often cultural resonance means as much as stands on issues. If you heard Ted Cruz announce his candidacy with such passion and stories about how he came close to being another Latino kid with a single mom, you understand how he appeals. Emotion is kinda foreign to some Republicans, but it doesn’t violate what we believe. The word Deportation is a dirty word to Hispanics. Almost everybody has an illegal friend or family member. But they also want a secure border. Why? Because open borders means the Zeta gang comes in, too. And who do they prey on most? The Hispanic community! Crooks ruin life for the honest immigrants more than anyone else. Romney suggested he would make it so hard on Hispanics they would self-deport. He got 27% of Hispanic vote. Gardner speaks warmly of immigration and wants to deport only the bad guys. His election stunned the Dems by nullifying Pueblo and Adams Counties. I don’t know if you are acquainted with Colorado politics. All the state is red, red as Oklahoma except 3 metros, Denver county, People’s Republic of Boulder and Pueblo/Adams counties. Pueblo area is mining and smelting industry with lots of union “Hispanos”. Cory Gardner lambasted gun control. Hispanic union guys got hunting in their blood and worry about their jobs. God, Guns, and Jobs. Sounds like an Okie, doesn’t it!
You do not leave a messed-up country to keep living in the mess. You leave behind friends, family and your possessions. New country, new life. 32% of Hispanic immigrants leave the Catholic church and those who stay Catholic often are far more active than they were in the old country where it seemed you could only reach God through the Virgin Mary and the priest—who was in cahoots with the state.
Are there problems in the Hispanic community? Yes. One in five girls get pregnant as a teenager. That compares with 1 in 6 African Americans and 1 in 11 all Americans. They romance young and don’t abort. Dems offer free condoms and GED baby care. Republicans can do better. Maybe programs like W’s faith-based/state partnerships. Republican job fairs? R's can solve this. Education is another need. Many immigrants have only partial grade school education and they dream of better things for their kids. It could be noted that successful Republican politics also has included equal opportunity of reduced in-state college tuition. See George W. Bush and Rick Perry of Texas.
Maybe you don’t agree with all of this. I understand. There are a lot of right-and-wrong arguments. But, if you are an older, traditional American, and you are dismayed at society’s change and the family’s decline, then Hispanics are your allies. They could well be the dream of the Republicans as well.
One last thought. Estella Hernandez, our new Party Vice Chair, says that Latinos are ripe for re-registering. When Obama said in 2009 that he was “going to fundamentally transform America”, just about everyone who came to this country full of hope, said “What!! What needs change!!”