Government & Politics

How Conservatives Can Win the Hearts and Minds of Hispanics and Women

The Left has a perceived monopoly on female and Hispanic voters. But there's hope.

Sep. 3, 2014

The Left has a perceived monopoly on female and Hispanic voters. After all, it has its “war on women” refrain and the push for amnesty for illegal immigrants. Leftists proclaim the government gospel for the common man, and in so doing, they have won the hearts and minds of the downtrodden – or so they assume.

The conservative movement needs to rebrand and return to its core values to snatch this near-victory from the Left.

Examine the numbers and it appears the Democrat Party has picked the demographics to pander to in order to win for generations to come. Women outnumber men in this country 161 million to 156.1 million, and women are more likely to vote, with 63.7% of them voting in the election that gave Barack Obama his second term. The turnout for men was 59.7%.

The Hispanic population has climbed steadily since the 1970s. There are now 54 million Hispanics in the U.S. In the next 30 years, whites will become a minority, something that probably leaves the Left tickled pink because 78% of Obama’s support came from minority groups. Indeed, Pew Research Center said the Hispanic population surpassed the white population in California this year.

These numbers appear likely to produce long-term wins for Democrats, but demographic groups this large fracture into subgroups that conservatives can reach with their message. In essence, conservatives should take advantage of the Democrats’ own divide and conquer strategy, winning those who are receptive to Liberty. Not all women want the Left’s version of “reproductive rights.” Not all Hispanics are illegal immigrants or wards of the state.

Mike Gonzalez, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, believes if conservatives vigorously reach out to Latinos, they can find allies in the Hispanic community. He recently released a book about his fellow Hispanics called “A Race for the Future: How Conservatives Can Break the Liberal Monopoly on Hispanic Americans.”

“Nobody came here to be Balkanized into different neighborhoods,” Gonzalez said. “They came here to succeed.”

Mexican culture has been with America from the beginning. Mexicans lived inside Texas when it was incorporated into the rest of the states, for example. The tortilla is just as American as hamburger (German), pizza (Italian) and apple pie (Dutch).

Don’t think Hispanics are one homogeneous group. Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens. Cubans landed in Florida to escape communism. And remember: Liberty is colorblind.

Gonzalez said the word “Hispanic,” as used to describe all people hailing from the Spanish-speaking world, only came into use in the 1970s when the government designated “Hispanics” a minority group. This time of social upheaval and the influx of Latino immigration created the heavy Democrat support found among Latinos, according to Gonzalez:

“That millions of immigrants, the majority from Latin America, began arriving just as the United States was being hit by a social and cultural tornado receives surprisingly little analysis. This whirlwind, after all, ripped up norms that had been in place for generations.

"These new immigrants had no memory of what the country had been like. In the media, in schools and in entertainment, they began to hear dubious reinterpretations of America and a denigration of traditional values. For many of them, ‘assimilation’ meant adopting the emerging standards of a rapidly evolving country.”

And Democrats have treated women in the same manner – as ignorant dupes who can only vote Democrat. Thanks to the Left’s rhetoric and polices, women view the Republican Party as “stuck in the past” and “intolerant,” according to a Republican study leaked to Politico. The study found 49% of women dislike Republicans, while only 39% view Democrats with distain. But those numbers almost flip if women are married and possess a college education, with 48% supporting the GOP and 38% backing Democrats. No wonder Democrats want to destroy marriage.

R.R. Reno of First Things offered a thoughtful response to the Politico story, and an even better rebuttal to a Slate rejoinder.

Reno argues Democrats tap into women’s sense of vulnerability:

“[M]y explanation of the profound difference between single and married female voters involves a final assumption: The Democratic Party is the party that promises to expand government to take care of people whose lives aren’t working out. This doesn’t mean Republicans are cold-hearted. It’s just that, for many different reasons, Republicans don’t think government can or should take care of all our needs.

"Put those assumptions together, and I have an explanation for why single women vote so heavily for Democratic candidates: Their inability to achieve a core life-goal (marriage) makes them feel vulnerable, and so they vote for the party that promises to use government to protect the vulnerable.”

America has people – the poor, immigrants, single moms – that are vulnerable. They’re afraid that if rules and regulations are thrown back, then the more powerful – the big business, the men with fists – will grab power in the vacuum and do harm. And how will the weak get more power without the benevolent power above that keeps them safe? They don’t realize progressives need to keep them poor and weak in order to preserve their own power. The question for lovers of Liberty is this: How do we empower people to pull themselves up through hard work, to self-govern?

This is where the conservative movement must rebrand. Instead of poorly delivering the same message, hoping that minorities are convinced into voting for the same white male politicians, conservatives must embrace more diverse leadership and show that conservative policies made that advancement possible. Let’s welcome female politicians who support Liberty and conservative ideals with their own unique governing style. Let’s fill the school boards with concerned mothers and town councils with Latino businessmen. Then, let’s unfetter the people by decentralizing the government – kicking the power back to the local level. And we’ll see who will be the party of the people.

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