After the 2012 Presidential election, the Republican Party identified its inability to attract Latino voters as one of the key reasons for Mitt Romney’s defeat. Barack Obama w the Latino vote by an overwhelming percentage of 71-27%, the largest margin by a Democratic candidate since the 1996 election. (Lopez and Taylor) There are similarities between 1996 and 2012, and comparisons between the 1994 Republican takeover of the House, followed by the Contract with America and the government shutdown, and the Tea Party Republicans and their impact on the government and the decisions of voters in 2012. However, while George W. Bush was able to reverse the damage done by the ...view middle of the document...
While Latinos are identified as a single group by the US Census Bureau and many demographers, Latinos are actually an extremely diverse group of people. People who are designated as “Latino” or “Hispanic” can have genealogical roots in any one of 20 different countries, not including the many Latino people who have ancestors who come from non-Spanish-speaking countries. Beyond this, there are many ways of segmenting the “Hispanic” community based on language preference, roots in the United States (keeping in mind that some Latinos have roots that go back to colonial times), race, and a variety of other preferences. Any collage of Latino people makes it clear that there is no good way to provide a single profile of “the Latino voter.” Some identifiable groups who are labelled with the term “Latino” have traits that would seem to be particularly consistent with Republican principles.
Historically, one of the most important pro-Republican constituencies in the US has been the Cuban-American community centered in Miami. Founded largely by refugees who fled after the Communist takeover, the Florida Cuban community tended to be composed of people who were more likely to be pro-business, self-identified as white, and firmly anti-Communist. For most of the 20th and 21st century, this constituency was generally supportive of the Republican Party. Cuban-Americans were crucial in George W. Bush’s 2000 election, and most of the prominent Latino members of the Republican Party, including Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Mel Martinez, Carlos Gutierrez, and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, were either born in Cuba or are first-generation Cuban-Americans.
For the most part, the Cuban-American connection to the Republican Party is based primarily on the political values of the Cubans who immigrated to the United States. In fact, it is generally true that emigrants from Latin American countries will choose candidates and parties in the United States based on the political principles that they followed in their countries of origin. (Wals, 2013) Thus, a not insignificant portion of first-generation Americans who have emigrated from Latin America will be predisposed to align with the Republican Party. In addition, parents do have influence on the voting behavior of their children. Although the question of consistency in voting patterns across generations has not been studied with Latino voters in particular, it does seem clear that the GOP has the potential to form long-term connections with Latino families that could last for generations. However, they are not taking advantage of this opportunity. For example, Cuban-Americans in 2012 voted overwhelmingly for Obama. Concerns about the racist attitudes of so many Republican Party activists played a significant role in this, but another factor was a generational shift: younger Americans in most demographics were more likely to vote Democratic and Cuban-Americans were no exception.
Another group of Latinos who could...