By Reince Priebus, RNC
Latinos are the fastest growing demographic group in the United States. This year alone, 500,000 Latinos will turn 18, making them eligible to vote. And after more than three years of President Barack Obama’s policies, most Latino voters are demanding a new direction. A majority of likely Latino voters now say that America is on the wrong track, according to a recent Tarrance Group survey.
Republicans are working hard to engage with the Latino community and to offer that new direction. Obama may have won the Latino vote in 2008, but his record of broken promises makes him a less formidable candidate in 2012.
The Republican National Committee announced a dramatic expansion of its Hispanic Outreach program earlier this year — including new staff, new initiatives and a new social media strategy. We have launched an innovative bilingual mobile messaging campaign, recruited activists and volunteers and continued taking our message to Spanish-language radio and TV stations.
We’ve deployed state directors for Hispanic Outreach in Colorado, Florida and Nevada. We will add Virginia, North Carolina, and New Mexico by the end of April. These directors will oversee a network of staff and volunteers and work in conjunction with the RNC’s National Hispanic Outreach director and state parties.
They are charged with reaching out to Latinos and building a network of supporters that will drive our get-out-the-vote operation. We are planning town hall meetings, roundtables, rallies, house meetings and precinct walks.
The GOP is dedicated to building a long-term relationship with the Latino community.
For more than three years, Democrats passed policies that have hurt Latino families and businesses. They are struggling, like all Americans, with higher prices for gas and groceries. But Latinos also face an unemployment rate that is higher than the national average. Yet, rather than listening to Latino voters’ needs and desires, Obama has done the opposite.
Roughly 85 percent of Latino voters say they are concerned about the federal government’s spending and debt, according to the Tarrance Group polling. Almost 55 percent say the government should focus on spending less to reduce the deficit instead of spending more for other reasons.
Republicans agree. We are working to end Obama’s reckless spending. He promised to cut the deficit in half, but instead he has run trillion dollar deficits every year he’s been in office. His own budgets were so bad that they received unanimous bipartisan rejections in Congress.
Not only is this irresponsible and contrary to the will of the American people, but it also jeopardizes our longtermlong-term economic security and threatens our children’s future. The very American Dream that drew so many Latinos to the United States may not be attainable for their children.
Latino voters understand this. A majority, 56 percent, say that less government involvement would help them achieve the American Dream. Only 33 percent say the opposite.
But Obama still insists on more big government programs like “Obamacare” and federal regulations that strangle Hispanic small businesses and raise insurance costs for families. Obama demands more government spending, even after his massive stimulus failed to create jobs.
Today, Latinos own 3 million U.S. businesses. Latinos have started new companies at a rate three times the national average in recent years, bringing energy and vitality to the U.S. economy. But Obama’s policies are undermining this entrepreneurial spirit at every turn.
He has staked his reelection campaign on empty, divisive rhetoric. He refuses to hold himself accountable for his failures, instead making empty promises for a second term. After one term of broken promises, though, none of it is believable. “Hope and change” ring hollow now that Obama has failed to deliver on everything from jobs and the economy to energy and housing.
We cannot afford four more years of this. That’s why Republicans will be working to engage with the Latino community across the country — especially in battleground states. Our bilingual engagement will focus on interacting with voters where they live and where they work, while building relationships that last for years to come.
Reince Priebus is the chairman of the Republican National Committee.
[Photo By The Rachel Maddow Show]