Republicans underestimated the value of minorities… Who’s the loser now?

One look at the Democratic Convention 2012 and you could tell which party is more inclusive of all minorities

Once upon a time, Mitt Romney had a chance with minorities; the very same chance that President Obama had. Actually, he had a better chance. Latinos, Asians and other minorities closely following immigration issues had grown disappointed with the president. You see, Obama promised comprehensive immigration reform during his first campaign and instead he delivered more deportations during his administration than President Bush.

Republicans haaaaaaad a chance.

But during the course of the campaign, Republicans and Romney seemed increasingly eager to lose millions of votes, the same votes that ended up giving four more years to the incumbent.

What happened and how the campaign managers messed up so badly? Romney for America and the RNC did not correctly analyzed, strategized and launched a marketing and communications campaign customized for each particular segment.

As the Global Editor of Contacto Latino, this is what I experienced:
1. While both sides did almost nothing by way of advertising and true community outreach to minorities; Republicans and Romney seemed particularly bent on doing a terrible job with Latinos whenever they could. Some examples:
a)    Press releases that indicated Spanish on subject line that were, in fact, in English
b)    Bad or inaccurate  translations
c)    No response to op-ed invitations
d)    No response to advertising invitations
e)    Asking to run ads for free (as PR, not advertising)
f)    Little or no inclusion of minorities in campaign leadership
g)    Little or no budget allocated to doing business with the community
h)    Disregard (should I say disdain?) for minority media
2. (Romney) Calling 47% of Americans, millions of which are minorities, parasites.
3. (Romney) Mentioning his Mexican family as leverage to make himself pass as just another Latino.
4. (Romney) Proposing an immigration reform that only took into consideration legal immigration, while basically telling 11 million undocumented immigrants: “Screw you, you now have to self-deport.”
5. (Romney) Telling DREAMers that he will never approve the DREAM Act.
6. (Romney) Saying after the election that President Obama “bought” the minority vote with small tokens of activity, such as the deferred deportation for undocumented youth.
7. Trying to use Obama’s endorsement (was it?) by President Hugo Chavez and Rafael Correa to scare Latino voters into thinking that the USA will become like Venezuela or Ecuador, underestimating Latino’s first-hand knowledge of how a socialist country or dictatorship actually looks and feels.

The Democrats campaign did not do much better in terms of media buys but President Obama benefitted the most of community outreach efforts to get out the vote and from doing something customers appreciate very much when being courted: not being insulted.

The day after election Republicans started changing their tone and their tune, even getting into the Latino serenading bandwagon as they saw that the only way to reclaim the White House is to go through the barrios (I can see them cringing in horror when they came to that realization) and they heard reelected President Obama speaking about immigration reform as top priority.

My message to Republicans, that is if they have not seceded: Better start working ya’ll, four years go faster than you imagine, and if President Obama finally delivers the twice promised immigration reform, you better hope it’s a bipartisan agreement or it’s pa’fuera with this party.

And, yes, when you come knocking at the door of the Latino community, it better not have the look and feel of a 1970s campaign. We are way past being happy with a bad translation and a few words of masticao Spanish. Latinos want and deserve top of the line advertising, marketing and communications. I think this election clearly demonstrated that much.

Romney is not making inroads with minorities

Mitt Romney at the NAACP Conference. Photo: Romney campaign

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney only showed up at one large Hispanic conference this summer: NALEO (National Association of Latino Elected Officials). There, he proceeded to unveil his Immigration Reform. Sorry, his legal-only-screw-the-undocumented Immigration Reform. He skipped the LULAC conference and sent a bizarre video to the National Council of La Raza event yesterday. Today, he did show at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) conference, the largest African-American event, but was vigorously booed when he promised to repeal health care reform during his speech.

What was he thinking when he made these decisions? With only four months to go, the aspiring president is openly showing his true colors, and they do not include brown or black.

As a voting Latina I find it hard to listen to this candidate, I keep looking for something that would sound remotely convincing, but even reading through campaign press releases and emails makes me feel utterly powerless and bitterly depressed. I already know where the country is going with Obama, and even though it’s not optimal, not even close, at least there’s no uncomfortable sensation that my president hates me or is plotting to destroy one group to benefit another. There is a performance issue with President Obama, not a Nazi mentality, not an upcoming Apartheid, not a Berlin wall or a special sticker stamped on the foreheads of the undocumented, there is no self-deportation or vetoing of a DREAM Act. There are promises that continue to be unfulfilled by our current president; there’s dragging of feet and a sensation of being taken for a ride, there’s more deportations than in the Bush era and way too many emails asking to chip in $3, but they are not this ominous cloud of Apocalypses coming for minorities vaguely sprinkled on the Republican candidate messages and actions.

Hateful behavior and disrespectful speech does not go unnoticed in ethnic minority communities. And payback time does come at the voting booth –with 36 percent of the electorate, you bet it will.


Romney to 11 million undocumented: Screw you

The newly unveiled Immigration Reform proposed by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is filled with welcoming mats to new immigrants entering through the legal door but has nothing to offer to alleviate the situation of about 11 million undocumented who currently call the United States of America their home.

The proposal plays only to voters and it’s designed to be somewhat deceiving and openly elitist.

A couple of interesting offers that called my attention may turn out to be a heaping spoonful of ‘not for you’ promises.

Permanent residency for those with advanced degrees in STEM areas

The proposal reads: “Every foreign student who obtains an advanced degree in math, science, or engineering at a U.S. university should be granted permanent residency.”

Be aware that it says “foreign student”, which implicitly does not include undocumented youth already here. It also explicitly states “advanced degrees”, in which case a simple B.S. is not sufficient. And what about undocumented youth that already graduated with advanced degrees? Will they be taken into consideration under this proposal? Do they need to go back to school and pay foreign student tuition? Should they be doing that now?

Permanent residency for undocumented youth serving in the military

The proposal reads: “Mitt Romney believes that young illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children should have the chance to become permanent residents, and eventually citizens, by serving honorably in the United States military.”

On this particular one, there are a couple of hidden issues that are bothersome. First of all, it sounds like a horrific idea to force people to go into the military; especially when many of them may come from traumatic experiences with the armed forces in their country of origin. In second place, even if they wanted to join, undocumented are not allowed to do so… So, how could this even work out?

Timeline for implementation
During his speech at the NALEO conference, Mitt Romney never mentioned when would his proposal be implemented or how would he deal with 11 million undocumented, except for squeezing them out of the job market until they self-deport.

Is Mitt Romney working to please some Latino and Asian voters and right-wingers while fixing only half of the immigration problem? You betcha. Will it work out to his benefit? Unless President Obama fixes the whole enchilada in the next few months, instead of giving us little farts to appease anger here and there, you betcha again.

Campaña de Romney no se toma la molestia de cortejar al electorado latino

La campaña del aspirante a la presidencia, el Republicano Mitt Romney, lanza nuevos avisos todos los días. Su estrategia para alcanzar a la comunidad latina parece ser la anticuada idea de realizar una traducción literal del anuncio en inglés… o simplemente enviar el anuncio en inglés con una nota de prensa en un castellano mediocre.

Vivo en Estados Unidos desde hace 22 años y esta mañana recibí una nota de prensa anunciando el nuevo video del RNC: Mulligan. ¿Qué es un “Mulligan”?, me pregunté. Suena como Gilligan o como el nombre de un restaurante donde sirven buenas ensaladas… ¿Bennigan? ¿Mulligan es un verbo o un adjetivo? ¿Es una palabra del diccionario o americanismo?

Como no me pude responder, empecé a leer la nota de prensa. Decía que el “Comité Nacional Republicano (RNC) había lanzado un nuevo video “Mulligan” llamandole la atención a la inhabilidad del Presidente Obama de cumplir con sus repetidas promesas de darle vuelta a la economía. En el 2009, dijo que si él no lo había hecho en tres años, sería una propuesta de un término. Tres años más tarde, las cosas no han mejorado y el Presidente Obama está intentando tomar un ‘mulligan'”.

Otra vez esa palabra, Mulligan. Descargué el video para ver si me daba claves. El nuevo comercial estaba en inglés y no me daba una *&%# idea de qué es lo que significa Mulligan. Desesperada, busqué el diccionario y por fin encontré el significado de aquella palabra: “a free shot sometimes given a golfer in informal play when the previous shot was poorly played”. Ahhhh… Es una segunda oportunidad en Golf de darle a la pelota de nuevo cuando la primera jugada no fue buena.

Lo que yo no me explico es por qué los Republicanos, con la montaña de dinero que tienen, no se han tomado la molestia de contratar un equipo de asesores, profesionales multiculturales de mercadeo, comunicaciones y relaciones públicas, y la mejor agencia de publicidad en el mundo latino que les diga que su estrategia con el electorado hispano no tiene ningún sentido, que no suena ni resuena, que no pega para nada, y que llegado noviembre no les daremos un Mulligan por el mínimo esfuerzo que su campaña está demostrando.

Video: Mulligan