Ideally, at tonight’s GOP presidential debate we would discuss issues that the Latino community wants to hear about. It would be the normal thing to do, or the right thing to do, even. But we are in the middle of a presidential campaign trail that is really bizarre – the most reasonable voice of the Republican Party presidential hopefuls so far has been George W. Bush. And that is only because he was portrayed by comedian and genius Will Ferrell. (Come on, we all laughed when he called Donald Trump a knucklehead.)
One after the other, GOP presidential debates have come and gone. In the end, each one has left us wondering: What in the name of common decency did we just witness? We are beyond analyses of what the Republican presidential hopefuls should bring up when they take to the podium if they intend to win the Latino vote. At least until the general election. So far, the primary has been all about the anti-immigrant, anti-Latino rhetoric. We are tired of telling them about the issues Latinos care about because they do not listen.
So we will take a different approach. Instead, we will talk about what we do not want the GOP hopefuls to talk about at tonight’s GOP debate. We do not want to hear that deporting 11 million people living in the United States will make America great because it will not. It will cost us billions of dollars and it will destroy countless innocent lives, including many Americans. We do not want to hear that raising the minimum wage would be a “disaster” because then that means that improving the lives of 6.8 million Latino workers and that of their families is considered a “disaster.”
We do not want to hear the urgent promise to repeal Obamacare for the nth time. Since the law’s implementation in 2013, 4.2 million Latinos who did not have health insurance are now covered. Promising to repeal Obamacare is telling these Latinos and their families that they might lose that essential benefit. GOP candidates need to come up with a different way to address health care because when they talk about repealing Obamacare, Latinos hear a different outcome than the one in their talking points.
We do not want the two sons of Latino immigrants on the podiums to keep calling for the end of DACA and DAPA. It is a pity to see the only two Latinos in the Republican race turn their backs on the immigrant community, and that instead of wanting for their fellow brethren the same opportunities that they had as immigrants, they want to greedily push them off of the ship. That is not the Christian thing to do, Ted and Marco.
We do not want the GOP candidates to ignore talking about the need for comprehensive immigration reform and a pathway to citizenship for hard-working immigrants. If the moderators do bring it up, we do not want any more extremes. We are sick of extremes. And don’t even bring up banning Muslims from entering the United States and tightening the screening process for who knows which group of refugees they want to target next because guess what? We do not want to hear it.
We cannot emphasize this enough: Latinos are listening. We are paying close attention to the negative rhetoric, the racist comments and the xenophobic sentiments that lace certain GOP hopefuls’ platforms. The Latino electorate is only increasing and in 2016, the Republican candidates will need to have the support of 47 percent to 52 percent of Latinos to win the election. (Source) Republican presidential hopefuls should remember that the road to the White House goes through the Latino community, we are key that can open that door, or close it shut.