In an article entitled, “How Mitt Romney Lost Latinos,” POLITICO’s Glenn Thrush details how the Republican presidential frontrunner may have sealed his fate with Latino voters by fully embracing the vision of anti-immigrant architect Kris Kobach. (In other news, Kobach is coming under increased fire back home for gallivanting around the country waging a crusade against immigrants instead of doing his job as Secretary of State in Kansas. Yet another thing for the Romney campaign to worry about.)
Today’s article adds to the growing number of observers who realize that Romney’s embrace of Kobach and his vision for a national “self-deportation” policy are putting the Latino vote completely out of reach. Thrush also highlights the fact that Romney is currently polling at 14% among Latinos, according to a recent Fox News Latino/Latin Insights survey, and points out that this is just one-third of the support George W. Bush garnered in 2004.
As longtime Republican strategist Ana Navarro put it: “In 2008, John McCain paid the price with Latinos for what other Republicans…had said and done. Romney could very well pay an even higher price with Latinos, but it will be for things he’s said and done. The tragic part about it is that he’s done it to win over the very conservatives, and they still [aren’t supporting him].” The article also quotes an unnamed “top GOP operative,” who responded to the Latin Insights poll with a terse but salient point: “We lose Hispanics this bad, we lose the whole election. Period.”
The Romney campaign dispatched Jose Fuentes, its Hispanic steering committee co-chairman, to answer the charges. But after sticking close to the campaign’s talking points and claiming that Romney’s pledge to veto the DREAM Act has been misrepresented, even Fuentes admitted that Romney’s association with Kris Kobach is hurting him politically:
Kobach is a supporter of Mitt Romney, and so am I. Neither of us get paid by the campaign. I don’t think he represents the candidate. … We can understand where he’s coming from, but we don’t necessarily agree with the extreme positions he’s willing to take. And Democrats do a phenomenal job of packaging all that language into a nice little firebomb and blowing it up in the middle of the crowd.
In other words, Romney’s immigration advisor is not really his immigration advisor? That’s a good one. According to POLITICO, the Kobach-Romney relationship goes back at least to 2007, when Romney called Kobach to “express admiration for [his] get-tough approach.” In 2012, that phone call is certainly coming back to haunt him.