Can Romney Win the Votes of Independents and Latinos - Immigration Policy a Key Issue in 2012

After this week, it appears even more likely that former Massachusett's Governor Mitt Romney will emerge at the Republican nominee for President of the United States. He will move on to face an extremely well-financed incumbent president, Barack Obama, in November. But, can he win? Maybe, but I believe immigration may play the key role in the outcome of the election.

In order to win in November, Romney will have to do three things. 

  1. Activate the Conservative base of the party.
  2. Win the hearts and minds of the middle ground independents.
  3. Win a bigger percentage of the Hispanic Vote than has been done before.

Immigration, and its sister issue, border security, could play a pivotal role in achieving all three of these items. I will talk about these items a little out of order from where they are listed above.

Immigration and Border Security are issues that represent a two-edged sword. They have the ability to activate the Conservative base, but if not handled properly, they can drive a wedge between the conservative Hispanic vote and Republicans.  These are clearly topics where how we say things will be as important, if not more so, than what we say. 

Houston Republican Ed Hubbard recently addressed this in an article written for TexasGOPVote in which he said, "Let’s face it, the more we talk about this issue, the more we seem to alienate an important segment of voters, many of whom share our principles about government and society—and yet, we know that this issue must be discussed and addressed in order to preserve for all of our children the very exceptionalism that has inspired so many people to come here, both legally and illegally, over the generations." 

The rhetoric we often use in these discussions comes across as hostile.  This rhetoric drives away not only the Conservative Hispanics who would otherwise be inclined to support Consertative positions, it also makes the middle-ground independent voters uncomfortable.

To avoid these problems, I believe Gov. Romney should look at an immigration and border security policy that is based on what is best for our country.  What will stimulate our economy?  What will provide the security we need at our borders?  What will deal fairly with people who are in this country after either illegal entry or who became undocumented after their legal visa's expired?  And, what will deal fairly with the children who were brought here through no fault of their own?

We have had a lot of strong opinions on these issues for many years. What has that gotten us? Absolutely nothing. The problem is still here, and it not any closer to being resolved. This is a victory for the open borders and amnesty crowds because they have a De facto amnesty in place. It is also a victory for unscrupulous businesses that take advantage of these people by stealing their wages and improperly misclassifying them as contractors to gain an unfair business advantage over legitimate companies.

Texas Republicans took a good luck at these issues in the last legislative session. A good plan was developed that Gov. Romney should look at.  It was called HCR88 and was written by Texas State Representative John Garza for the Texas House's Hispanic Republican Conference. Please read this interview with Art Martinez de Vara, Chief of Staff for Rep. Garza.

This approach is based upon securing the border and, at the same time, finding a proper solution to the issues of immigration reform.

The left is currently mobilizing liberal Hispanic groups.  Fanning the flames of fear using many of our own words against us.  We must not give our opponents the bullets to fire at us. And more importantly, we must not tie the hands of Conservative Hispanic Groups like the Latino National Republican Coalition of Texas, Latinos Ready to Vote, Voces Action, Republican Hispanic Citizens in Action, Cafe Con Leche Republicans and many others who are working hard to educate Hispanics about the fact that most issues they care about are better addressed by the Republican Party.

Victory is ours - If we don't shoot ourselves in the foot with unnecessary words and harsh rhetoric.  Let's be the party of real solutions to real problems.

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