Analysts: Hispanic Voters Care About More Than Immigration

Monday, 28 Jul 2014 06:35 AM

By Elliot Jager

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To make inroads among Hispanic voters, the GOP needs to emphasize its economic platform, particularly education, writes Josh Kraushaar in the National Journal.

The conventional wisdom is that Republicans must embrace immigration reform to win support among Latino voters. Some analysts say immigration is not day-to-day the top priority of the Hispanic community, and what matters is showing the party is genuinely interested in Hispanic concerns.

With immigration reform continuing to be a stumbling block in Republicans efforts to win over Latino voters, the party needs to reach the community in other ways that accentuate policies that can help Hispanics move into the middle class.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is targeting his message on "economic mobility, college affordability, tackling poverty, and middle-class economic challenges," according to Kraushaar.

"To win over Hispanics, you have to show you're a candidate that cares about the community. Show they're a natural part of your campaign, and you're not just spitting out some talking points to win their votes," Joanna Burgos, a former National Republican Congressional Committee official, told the National Journal.

George W. Bush was able to garner Hispanic backing for his presidential campaign by pointing to his ties to the Texas Latino community and his message of compassionate conservatism, Kraushaar wrote.

Education is an economic issue for Hispanic immigrants who want to enter the middle class. That is a reason why former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and current Florida Gov. Rick Scott, as well as Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, among others, stress education in their speeches, according to the National Journal.

"Education is an issue that polls significantly better with Hispanics. Every child of every immigrant is in the United States to get an education to have a better economic future. It's the major reason why they come to the United States," said Burgos.

The party can also call attention to the fact that among governors and senators there are more Republicans of Latino heritage than Democrats, Kraushaar wrote.

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