Latino Leaders Held a Convention, but Only One Republican Candidate Came
The sure road to the White House - ignore the voters you don’t have but need in order to pander to the voters that will probably never vote for Democrats in their life.
An obvious place to start would be the nation’s annual “Latino political convention” here this week in Las Vegas, where more than 1,200 Hispanic leaders have gathered for, among other things, a presidential candidates forum.
Yet out of the GOP’s 16 declared or likely presidential candidates, only one — retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson — showed.
The absence of the others — including former Florida governor Jeb Bush, who made outreach to Latino voters a central theme of his Miami campaign launch Monday — illustrates the gulf between the GOP’s urgent need to present a more welcoming face to Hispanics and how far those running to be the party’s standard-bearer are willing to go to do so.
Many campaigns cited “scheduling conflicts” for skipping the 32nd annual convention of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO). Instead, at least 13 GOP candidates plan to be in Washington this week to address the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s “Road to the Majority” conference, the latest in a busy series of cattle-call events for social conservatives.
“All I can say is that schedules reflect priorities,” said Arturo Vargas, NALEO’s executive director. “Of course they should be here.”
Priorities indeed. Conservatives are quick to tell you that the Republicans have a diverse group of candidates but not even Cruz or Rubio bothered to show up.
Republican strategist Katie Packer Gage, a former top Romney campaign official, said she does not think it is necessary “to make a command performance at one particular event to demonstrate a commitment to Latino voters.”
Of course that doesn’t seem to hold for evangelical voters and their events.
This is part of the reason why, while there might be some diversity on the stage, there is virtually none in the audience at GOP events and rallies. The main reason is that Republican policies have no appeal to minority voters but until they can at least pretend that they want minority votes they probably aren’t going to get enough to win back the White House.