As Sandra Hernandez writes for the Los Angeles Times:
“Mitt Romney’s failure to attend the National Council of La Raza’s annual meeting held in Las Vegas this week is drawing fire from some critics who suggest the Republican nominee’s decision to send a video in his place is an insult to Latinos.
“Romney’s failure to address NCLR — the nation’s oldest Latino civil rights group — is really a lost opportunity for the candidate, not an insult. The GOP knows it has a problem with Latinos. The conference would have been a good opportunity for their candidate to address the elephant in the room — the idea that the GOP doesn’t care about Latinos and their presidential nominee believes undocumented immigrants should self deport. Instead, Romney stayed away.”
When will Romney and the GOP learn that no one can win the White House unless they have a significant slice of the Latino community behind them — about 40 percent of Latinos, to be exact. George W. netted 44 percent of the vote in 2004, while Sen. McCain only received 31 percent.
I’d bet my thumbs the Romney campaign is well aware of these numbers.
There’s no way in Arizona the Romney campaign can pull 40 percent of the Latino vote this year, not if his message and that of his party remain the same. Describing SB 1070 as a “model for the country” and advocating a immigration strategy lovingly called “self-deportation” — which means Pres. Romney would make things so bad for the undocumented that they’d opt to live a better life in Sinaloa — is akin to an entire party spraying itself with Latino repellent. And when 90 percent of Latinos support the DREAM Act (85 percent a pathway to citizenship in general), the current GOP rhetoric on immigration is bound to keep an overwhelming majority of Latinos away from the “Grumpy Old People” for a very long time.
Maybe Romney and the GOP have given up on winning the Latino vote, at least in this decade. If so, they should let Latinos know, so we can slap on our Obama 2012 bumper stickers already.