Over the weekend, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina announced the launch of her campaign’s new Spanish-language website, Amigos De Carly, at a town hall event that was centered around Hispanic issues. The website was also promoted today on Twitter, which is where I learned of its inception.
My initial reaction to the news was somewhat mixed. As a lifelong Hispanic Republican, I have always believed in the family oriented, small government, and conservative ideals that the party represents. However, to say that the GOP has successfully maintained a healthy relationship with the Hispanic voting bloc would be grossly inaccurate. Unfortunately, Republicans in California and all across the nation have allowed themselves to be branded by liberals as not only anti-immigrant, but also anti-Latino immigrant. Republican candidates and organizations have tried to counter this by launching Spanish-only sites, television channels, and publications but despite their good intentions, a large percentage of them have failed. This is because too often they neglected to address the issue that matters the most to a majority of Hispanics–immigration. The train of thought behind this political strategy is logical – campaigns need to build coalitions with Hispanics via targeted efforts. However, it is incorrect to assume that the way in which to accomplish this is by just proving to Hispanics that they are willing to hire a consultant that can write Spanish. Campaigns need to speak to Hispanics, not just simply address them in their native tongue.
Hispanics don’t want to be treated with kid gloves; we want the same answers, action, and solutions that non-Hispanics demand from their elected officials. Appealing to these voters should not be achieved by compromising our conservative belief that America’s borders are America’s alone, playing identity politics, pandering, or even hinting at amnesty. There are twelve million undocumented elephants in the room (no pun intended) and a thoughtful plan of action needs to be presented to Hispanics so that we know where a candidate is coming from and how they plan to address our country’s problems. If Republicans continue to say nothing to Hispanics, the Democrats will continue to say it for us.
With that said, the new Fiorina website is a step in the right direction. It lays out a comprehensive jobs plan, discusses her opposition to the legalization of marijuana, states that she supports the death penalty and the Second Amendment, and briefly notes that our borders need to be secured. All of these issues resonate with her targeted audience. I would like to humbly suggest that she tackle her critics and address the immigration issue in a more up front matter and perhaps incorporate a spanish-only Twitter feed similar to the one utilized by Texas Governor Rick Perry (@GobPerry2010). Other than that, bien hecho!