Mitt Romney’s Latino Problem

Mitt Romney has a Latino problem. No, it’s nothing along the lines of disgraced Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu’s affair with an undocumented Mexican immigrant. Mitt’s problem is that while he desperately needs Latinos to make up for his voter deficit to President Barack Obama, Latinos just don’t like Mitt very much.

In fact, Fox News’ own Latino division found that if the general election were held today, only 14 percent of Latino voters would cast their ballots for Romney (assuming Republicans hadn’t already forced those voters to self-deport). A whopping 70% would cast their ballots for incumbent Obama.

Mitt’s problem with the Latino voting bloc mostly likely stems from a deep distrust in his attitudes towards them – and that is “attitudes,” as in plural. Over the course of the GOP primary, Mitt’s stances on immigrants and Latinos have shifted ever more to the right to compete with the lunacy of the now-dead campaigns of Rep. Michele “Double Fence” Bachmann and Herman “Electrocute Them Already” Cain. Remember Mitt’s “self-deportation suggestion,” gente?

So what’s Mitt to do? Always in search of his own bailout (like when he asked the federal government for cash in order to save his Winter Olympics), Romney may be hoping that possible VP pick Marco Rubio, the Cuban freshman senator from Florida, will come to his rescue.

There’s just one problem with Mitt possibly picking Rubio as his running mate: Latinos aren’t falling for the pandering. Recent polling finds that even with Rubio on the ticket, Mitt loses Latinos to President Obama in the general election. In fact, the GOP ticket loses to the Democratic ticket by seven points in Rubio’s own home state of Florida.

Part of the problem lies with Rubio’s own disingenuous attempt to duplicate the Democrats’ popular DREAM Act, while still trying to keep a rabid, anti-immigrant GOP base at bay. Rubio’s proposed alternative, which John called the Ream Act, would offer no path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants brought to the United States against their own volition as kids. This isn’t even including the fact that Mitt himself refuses to comment on whether or not he endorses his possible running mate’s legislation.

Latinos’ distrust of Mitt could ultimately lie with Arizona’s infamous “Papers Please” law. While he named its author Kris Kobach an “advisor,” and called the law a “model for the nation” as recently as February, Mitt has pulled out the Etch-A-Sketch and changed the mariachi tune, saying that he was only referring to the E-Verify system. He even threw the author under the bus, saying that he was a “supporter” and nothing more (Mitt’s spokesperson was later forced to recant).

Kobach himself tried to staple down Mitt’s position, saying that in reality Mitt does want the “Papers Please” law nationwide. “He stated very publicly that Arizona’s law should be a model for how the federal government enforces its immigration laws. And he’s correct there too.”

Only Mitt knows how much pandering is left for a man who flips more than a jumping bean (someone please let Mitt know that that’s not Mexico’s national symbol). He’s already claimed his Mexico-born dad was a poor immigrant (minus that whole actually being Mexican stuff). He’ll continue to erase and distort, even though we all remember he’s someone who fired an undocumented gardener – a man simply trying to make a living – just to save himself some GOP votes.

Say, Mitt, you think Menudo needs any new members?


Gabe Ortíz is a San Francisco-based writer. He has contributed to the Mission's bilingual newspaper "El Tecolote," and the political blogs AMERICAblog, AMERICAblog Gay, and Veracity Stew. He's also a Stevie Nicks lover and shameless catlady. Follow him on Twitter: @Tusk81.

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