Having political conversations with both family and friends, while mentioning that I’m a Republican gets the usual response. “Why?”
Porque si son racistas (Why would you, if they are racist), why would you ever be a Republican? Don’t you know they do not like Hispanics? They (Republican Party) want to deport us all (Hispanics). The conversation usually spirals downward to basically denigrating my support for the Republican Party.
Interestingly, the responses just mentioned come as no surprise to me, given that 71% of Hispanics voted overwhelmingly for President Obama and the Democratic Party; that said, I wouldn’t want to want to highlight this as being the experience of every young Hispanic. I can only speak about my own experience.
Truth be told, I cannot blame those who question my political affiliation, for the most part Spanish (and English) media tends to focus on liberal Hispanic voices while labeling the Republican Party as a “self-deportation” and “anti-immigrant” Party. The media also likes to highlight more of the negatives in the party versus the positive. Over time this leads to the perception that the Party on a whole is bigoted. As someone who knows many Republicans; I know this is not true.
Our media loves to highlight those individuals who hold strong viewpoints on immigration; often they are the ones making incendiary remarks. These remarks are then picked up and broadcasted all over the Spanish speaking world (not just America) rarely does the media have speakers who are immigrant friendly on such as Senator Marco Rubio and former Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez.
I do agree that we have to fix our immigration system, secure our borders and prosecute undocumented criminals who are causing trouble in the U.S. and send them back to their home country. But, I also strongly believe that the Republican Party can do this while also bringing in more young Hispanics to the Party; in order for them do this, they need to open up and work on a solution to immigration that doesn’t start with “self-deportation.”
Former Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez has even established a Political Action Committee called “Republicans for Immigration Reform” to increase the number of Hispanics in the Republican Party. I am the first to admit how herculean the task will be. When your own 2012 nominee (a moderate) stands up and uses “self-deportation” rhetoric; the road appears even harder.
Yet, despite all this, I maintain my stance that Republican Party is both immigrant and Hispanic friendly; and this despite the rebuttals by those affiliated with the Democratic Party. One only look at history to show proof of this. Before President Clinton took office Nixon was on record as having hired the most Hispanics to his administration; and President Reagan is the only U.S. President to grant amnesty.
In a previous post on my blog I mention four points that should advocated from the Republican Party to increase young Hispanics to join the Party; which are immigration, free market capitalism, community engagement and education. Being a young, Hispanic and Republican is nothing to be ashamed about. It is better to stand alone; as an individual, rather than follow the crowd.
The future of Hispanics and Republicans must start today. Both, the Hispanic community and the Republican Party must speak honestly to one another. Hopefully, such honesty talk will lead to effective policy that will lead other young Hispanics to consider supporting the Republican Party.
With regards the media coverage of Hispanics and Republican, it will always do what it needs to do for higher ratings. The real question: will (despite perceptions) young Hispanics be more open to joining the Republican Party in the near future? I cannot guarantee a drastic change but having an open conversation could be a great start. Don’t you think so?
Jose L. Fulgencio is Publisher of El Republicanos “Hispanic Center-Right Commentary, News & Politics” blog Follow me Twitter at @jful51
© Jose L. Fulgencio 2013 © El Republicanos 2013