It’s been almost a year since the 2012 election, and Mitt Romney has had time to do some thinking. In an interview with CNN last Friday, Romney talked about the failures of his 2012 campaign and said that his largest error involved his outreach to Latino voters.
As he told CNN:
The largest strategic error was not investing sufficiently, particularly in Hispanic TV and Hispanic outreach to help Hispanic voters understand that ours is the party of opportunity.
I think my position and the position of our party is not well understood at the Hispanic community. I want to see immigration reform. I said that during the campaign. I want to make sure we have a legal immigration system that brings, in my view, more people legally to our country. I’d like to do that.
So, Romney understands that he made a serious mistake by not doing more to attract Latino voters (whom he lost by more than a 3-1 margin). That’s a solid first step. But his interview still makes it clear that he still doesn’t get it, still hasn’t learned anything in his year away from the spotlight. Romney didn’t lose Latino voters because they didn’t understand the Republican position on immigration well enough. Romney lost Latino voters because they understood the Republican position on immigration perfectly well. This was the candidate who campaigned on vetoing the DREAM Act, pushing self-deportation, and making Arizona’s SB 1070 “a model” for the nation. It is no mystery why Latinos didn’t vote for Romney, only a mystery that he somehow apparently still hasn’t managed to figure out (or admit) why.
Plenty of Republicans in the last year have demonstrated that they do get it, and have tried to explain to their colleagues why you can’t attract voters while promoting policies that harm them and their families. As Marco Rubio said last year:
It’s really hard to get people to listen to you on economic growth, on tax rates, on health care, if they think you want to deport their grandmother…Policy matters too, but rhetoric is important. You need to understand that we’re speaking about human beings.
It would seem obvious, but Mitt Romney–and House Republicans–have still not learned this lesson. House GOPers are dragging their feet, refusing to act on real immigration reform, while considering enforcement-only bills like the SAFE Act, which would make racial profiling easier and criminalize all undocumented immigrants. Republicans are still the party actively pursuing policies that hurt Latino voters and Latino communities. And they wonder why these voters aren’t more receptive to the GOP.
Watch Mitt Romney’s full interview with CNN below: