Maybe all those dreams I had in the Fall with Mitt Romney confirmed my hunch that he and I have a connection that goes beyond politics, that we are connected deep in our psyches. As I have written most recently in 'Dream a Little Bigger', Unless You're a DREAMer, I have been asking when the Romney campaign would engage--if ever--Latino voters especially after Tejas gave him the numbers of delegates needed to become the Republican nominee.
[Insert the sound of crickets]
And into this voter vacuum, the Obama campaign has inserted itself since last summer, aggressively trying to engage Hispanic voters by inviting Latina bloggers to the White House including your faithful scribe, hosting town halls throughout the country, and ads. Different contexts, same campaign message: Hispanics have done well under this President and will do better if you vote for him and give him four more years.
¡Caramba hasta Marc Anthony with a tattoed wedding ring (¿?) is trying to convince me!
Click here to view Marc Anthony en inglés.
Finally, the Romney campaign announced "Juntos con Romney," those who "stand with" the former guv of Massachusetts and are charged with helping him peel away some Latino voters in November. The likely GOP nominee needs all the help he can get: the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows President Obama up 34 points with registered Hispanic voters.
All's not well in paradise as Boston.com's Political Intelligence notes the number of heavy weights who support legislation Romney opposes--the DREAM Act. They are: Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Former sunshine state Senator Mel Martinez, and Florida Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Díaz-Balart.
It's interesting to note that the Latino leaders who support the DREAM Act on a national and state level on this list are Cuban-American. With political asylum granted to Cubans who flee the Castro regime, they don't have a dog in the immigration fight. Yet, these leaders understand how emotional this hot button issue is nationally and in their battleground state of Florida which is experiencing the same demographic tectonic shifts as the non-Cuban Latino community and voting bloc grows.
Another problema not just for "Juntos con Romney" but also Marc Anthony's pro-Obama ad en español: although a nod acknowledging the power of Spanish-language TV i.e. Univision and Telemundo, both fail to grasp that the real political "get" is the U.S. born and English dominant Hispanic--people like me, Lil' Sis, Big Bro, and my gaggle of nieces. We're the ones leading the boom, with 50,000 of us turning the voting age of 18 each month.
Although behind, "Juntos con Romney" is a start. But it's not enough. Mitt Romney, if you want us to believe you're taking Latino voters seriously, engage us--invite us to a town hall, to campaign headquarters. Let's kick back some Iced Teas on your campaign bus.
Let us ask you face to face about your record and if what you stand for jives with our values and that of our familias.Is Spanish the way to reach Latino voters?