New GOP Outreach Plan to Latino Voters: House Parties

Tony Vargas, candidate for the Nebraska legislature, left, talks to potential voters in Omaha, Neb., Sunday, June 12, 2016. While campaigning in the heavily Latino neighborhoods of south Omaha, Vargas, whose parents came from Peru, has talked with numerous people afraid to participate in democracy. Some felt shunned or confused when they once attempted to vote. Others have misconceptions about the legal requirements to do so. Some simply believe their vote doesn’t matter. Though Hispanics now make up 10 percent of Nebraska’s population, there is not a single Latino lawmaker in its Legislature. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 05: Voters go to the polls for Super Tuesday primaries in the predominantly Latino neighborhood of Boyle Heights on February 5, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. Latinos are an increasingly important factor in California where they are expected to account for 14 percent of the vote and tend to favor presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) over rival Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL). At 44 million, Latinos make up15 percent of the US population, the nation's largest minority group according to the latest Census Bureau estimates. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
In the last three midterm cycles, 2014, 2010, and 2006, Hispanic voters only made up 8 percent of the electorate according to exit polls. In 2016, Hispanic voters broke for Clinton over Trump by nearly 40 points. But Republicans seem to believe a platform highlighting the strength of the economy may motivate more Hispanic voters to turn out – and for their candidates – than in recent contests.  (2008 Getty Images)

 

According to RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, the GOP is unveiling a new plan to retain control of Congress and possibly the White House over the next few election cycles: house parties in the homes of Hispanic constituents who may not have been Republican voters in the past.

Republican operatives are organizing small groups of Hispanic constituents on couches across the country, emphasizing districts where their votes could prevent a seat from flipping in Florida, Arizona, and Nevada.

“We are going to continue outreach to communities that haven’t traditionally been Republican, that don’t know our message,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel told Fox News at a recent house party in Coral Gables, Fla. “But the only way we can share our message is if we show up.”

McDaniel was, according to FOX News, just in Florida with a small group of GOP activists, attempting to lobby displaced Puerto Ricans still in the state following the island’s hurricane troubles.

“We believe that many families are going to stay,” the RNC’s Puerto Rico engagement director Gary Berrios said. “Our job is to tell them the message of the Republican Party.”

Democrats are likely to continue to make immigration a major platform issue, especially as word broke this week that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has sued the state of California over laws that shield illegal immigrants from federal laws.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez affirmed as much to Fox News Wednesday.

“Latinos judge people by their words and their actions, and [Trump] has made one statement after another, taken one action after another, disparaging and demoralizing and disenfranchising Latinos,” he said.

However, there is some evidence that indicates Democrats might want to take seriously the idea that the Latino vote could easily swing right, as this NPR piece from way back in Dec. 2016 suggests.

[O]n election night, [Anthony Suarez, a Republican lawyer from Florida and president of the Puerto Rican Bar Association], who voted for Hillary Clinton, never witnessed that Goldwater moment. Instead, he found himself surrounded by people he described as “Trump Hispanics” at a party for a local Republican candidate.

“It certainly was more than I would have thought,” Suarez said. “I was surprised to see it.”

Suarez miscalculated, but so did a lot of analysts.

Maybe the big lesson from 2016 is that a solid number of Latinos are conservative, and they will consistently vote for Republicans. Roughly 30 percent of Hispanics chose a Republican candidate in each of the last three election cycles.

Republicans looking toward the 2018 midterms and beyond hope to meet those conservative Hispanics in their own neighborhoods to make their case.

President Trump addressed the Latino Coalition Legislative Summit Wednesday and discussed their contributions, particularly in relation to small business growth and the impact that has had on the economy.

“The American economy is coming back bigger and better and stronger than ever before.  And Latino businesses are helping to lead the way,” Trump said.