As a new election cycle rolls around, Latinos once again seem to be on the minds of Republican candidates — this is especially true in states like California and some of the presidential battlegrounds states. Traditionally, Republicans need at least 34% to 40% of the Latino vote to capture the White House — these figures vary depending on the percentage of Latino registered voters in each given state. Highlighting the important role that Latinos will play in this election is the recent Census numbers, citizenship and voter registration efforts occurring throughout the country.
As the political strategists begin to develop their political plans, one such group they should focus on are Latina moms.
In the past, Republicans have focused their efforts and messaging on “Soccer Moms,” and after 9-11 it was “Security Moms,” this election cycle Latina moms will play a pivotal role in helping elect the next president of the United States. According to a recent study, Latina moms’ top concerns are jobs, education, healthcare, national security and immigration. They are very tech-savvy, they get their information and are interested in reading topics from a Latina point of view.
I grew up in a family of eight, made up of four brothers and one sister. Even with men outnumbering women, it was my mom’s opinion that dominated at the dinner table. My Latina mom shaped my perspectives in politics and most importantly my values.
For too long, Republicans have ignored Latinos and Latinas. We constantly hear the same old tired phrase from Ronald Reagan “Latinos are Republicans. They just don’t know it yet.” Those words were said over 30 years ago, and still to this day, Latinos “don’t know it yet,” because Republicans have failed to make the case.
This strong disconnect is especially true because there are so few Latino/a Republicans elected to public office. The National Association of Latino Elected Officials list over 1,300 Latinos elected into local office in California, yet it only lists a less than two dozen Republicans — with no such individuals found in state office.
If Republicans want Latino voters to hear their solutions, then it is imperative to be culturally sensitive, focus on the issues most important to our community, and have a clear understanding of how our customs and traditions play a key role in our decision making process. Especially before we head out to the ballot box — helping elect a few more Latinos to local office can only help down the road.
As you are putting your vote goals together, remember it’s the Latina moms that can instill Republican values in our children. Latina women show up at the polls in higher numbers than Latino men — and they represent a swing vote than can make a powerful difference on election day.
Miryam Mora-Barajas is a Republican strategist.[Photo By banspy]