Game on: The DNC buys Latino ads
The Spanish language ad games have begun. For the first time Spanish language Latinos are being approached politically by both major parties well over a year before the date of an election.
While it should be no surprise that both parties need Latino voters to meet their electoral goals it was yet to be seen if Latinos would continue to be ignored by the Democratic Party until six to eight weeks before the election as is usually the case or if the GOP’s only use for Latino’s would be as scapegoats as has been their trademark. The GOP and it’s conservatives allies have decided that a positive position was needed and that earlier was better than later and so they kicked off the game.
The ads that surfaced focusing on President Obama’s economic record that finally attracted the attention of the Democratic Party were only the latest in a host of signs that the GOP, while not serious about adopting new policies that help Latino families, is certainly trying to convince the valuable constituency that the polices they have are good. Over that last twelve months there have been a host of efforts by conservatives to address the growing concern that the GOP’s inability to attract Latino support can mean permanent minority status for their party. The conservative efforts have included English Language Latino focused web sites, candidate recruitment, and conferences.
The Democrats have been slow to the fight which is not surprising to many Latino community leaders and political consultants. In fact the hastily made ad just released by the DNC was only prompted by the significant TV and radio buy that was made by the Karl Rove group Crossroads GPS. Latino political consultants have consistently complained that the Democratic Party ignores their calls for more inclusion in key campaigns and under-funds the few efforts that are eventually initiated. The fact that conservatives made the first major play of the cycle is therefore not surprising to Latino insiders.
While the Democrats need to be congratulated for engaging in the Latino voter competition what is yet to be seen is if they will implement a continuous and concerted effort to hang on to their Latino base. This campaign season the environment is more complicated than in previous years. While immigration has been a hot issue for some time the President’s inability to dramatically distinguish himself from the GOP on the issue has basically removed it from the table. That both ads sidestep the issue of undocumented workers is a tacit concession that immigration is not a strong point for either party. This means that only the economy and education remain as potential hot buttons for Latino voters and both topics are complicated sells in any language. Only long and strong efforts will prevent Latino electoral erosion for the Democratic Party. For now the GOP retains the ball in a field where the Democrats have the home advantage.