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Seven months after the RNC released its post-2012 election autopsy report finding that the Republican Party had to do more to attract Latino and minority voters, the RNC has announced that it is hiring “Hispanic Engagement Staff” in seven states. In a press release yesterday, the RNC said they would hire Hispanic State Directors and Hispanic Field Directors in California, Florida, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia:
The engagement team will build a grassroots infrastructure and engage with voters at community events, as well as strengthen our ties with Hispanic Republicans. As part of the RNC’s effort to build a permanent ground operation, the RNC will work in partnership with state parties to ensure a year-round presence in Latino neighborhoods. Additionally, by the end of the year, the committee will make investments in 11 other states.
Naturally, we think this is hilarious, since Republicans in the seven months since the autopsy report have done next to nothing to show that they deserve support from Latino voters. Yes, 14 Republican Senators in June joined forces with Democrats to pass the Senate immigration bill in a bipartisan 68-32 vote. But House Republicans since then have only made excuses, stonewalled against action, and refused to pass immigration reform–even though the votes exist in the House to pass reform with citizenship. The forays they do make into the subject of immigration have been heinous, between Steve King’s amendment to deport DREAMers and Bob Goodlatte’s SAFE Act to criminalize immigrants. The RNC may be hiring staff to reach out to Latino voters, but it’s unclear what kind of message it thinks it will be able to promote. From where we stand, the Republican message to Latino voters is no better than it was this time last year–when Mitt Romney rode his self-deportation platform to a 23%-75% walloping among Latino voters. This lack of Republican self-improvement is reflected in poll numbers finding that two-thirds of Latino voters have grown closer to Democrats, and moved further away from the GOP, during this year’s fight for immigration reform.
Luckily, yesterday’s RNC press release came at a very opportune time, because it’s not too late to REALLY make a statement. Today in Washington, some ten thousand immigration reform advocates are descending on Capitol Hill to demand that Congress take action on real reform. If the RNC really wants to reach out to Latino voters, it can walk a couple blocks up to the Mall, join some of those voters, encourage House Republicans to support the bill that was introduced last week, and vow to do everything in its power to help pass immigration reform that recognizes the 11 million.
That’s what REAL outreach would look like.