Back in 2008, Mitt Romney included a Spanish version of his presidential campaign site. Back in 2002, he had a Spanish version of his campaign site for governor. But this year, nada.
Romney’s not the only Republican candidate to take that route. Only has-been Newt Gingrich has posted a Spanish-language site (assuming he’s still paying the bills by the time you read this). There, Newt says he is still “mirando a Tampa” (looking toward Tampa) where the Republicans will be holding their convention in August and Newt still thinks he’s going to have clout.
Why the Romney team chose not to have a Spanish version of the campaign website is hard to fathom. Romney hasn’t shied away from Spanish-language ads in Florida and elsewhere. Perhaps a Spanish version will come online as the conservative Mitt Romney2—who ran away from the moderate Mitt Romney1 so he could gather collect some right-wing votes in the primaries—transforms his Etch-a-Sketch candidacy into an even fuzzier Mitt Romney3 for the pivot into general election mode.
If he doesn’t do something to seek out those Latino votes, Andrew Kaczynski says, it could add one more problem to his chances of election in November. Exactly what would that be? Romney could make every speech from now until November in Spanish and still lose the Latino vote. What should he expect given his opposition to the DREAM Act and his harsh stance on immigration? Translating those views into Spanish won’t translate into votes.
Any Republican candidate for the presidency would have a rough go of capturing that vote. Thanks to California Gov. Pete Wilson’s support for the anti-immigrant Prop. 187 in 1994 and other GOP initiatives since then in other states, Latinos haven’t exactly been flocking to Republican candidates over the past couple of decades. In 2008, 31 percent of Latinos voted for John McCain.
As Markos has shown, the party is going to get shellacked by Latino voters come November.
A March poll showed 69.6 percent of Latinos would vote for Obama and only 13.9 percent would vote for Romney. And even if Romney were to put the GOP’s rising star, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, on the ticket, only 24 percent of Latinos say that this would make it more likely they would vote for the Republican candidate, with 65 percent saying it would make no difference or make it less likely they would vote for him. A rather bitter pill for guys whose fathers were born in Mexico and Cuba.
Perhaps Romney’s consultants aren’t making a mistake at all. Perhaps the decision has been made not to put up a Spanish-language site touting Republican policies because they don’t want to make the voter gap even larger.
The Obama team has had a Spanish-language version of its campaign site since April 2007.