The face of American politics is changing. And in case anyone had any doubts, the recent political conventions made it increasingly clear that both political parties are eager to claim the mantle of inclusion and diversity.
For Republicans, Gov. Susana Martinez (R-NM), Gov. Brian Sandoval (R-NV) and of course, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) provide Republicans with three effective surrogates to court the expected 21 million Hispanics that are registered to vote—many of which are registered in important swing states that will decide the electoral college. Despite doing exceedingly well in the 2010 election, Hispanic Republicans recognize that they will have an uphill battle winning over Hispanics in time for this year’s election as a number of polls continue to confirm a lopsided support for President Obama.
Democrats find themselves in a much better position than Republicans when it comes to courting Hispanics, but their challenge centers on re-igniting the campaign slogan of “Hope and Change” despite a weak economy and a grim forecast.
While the President will make the case that he needs more time to improve the economy, there’s little doubt that Hispanics have been disproportionately hard hit during this economic recession as evidenced by a national unemployment rate of around 8 percent and 11 percent for Hispanics. The weak August jobs report numbers will help Republicans make the case that a change in leadership at the White House is desperately needed.
Hispanic Business Issues
Hispanic business owners should welcome this debate. A rigorous exchange of ideas is always a good thing particularly when it comes to discussing how to improve an economy where at least 12.5 million Americans are out of work.
A good place to start is looking at our outdated and complex tax code that is desperately calling for a facelift. In addition to streamlining our tax code, policy makers should consider lowering our corporate tax code in order to attract foreign investment. Lastly, policy makers must strike a balance between enacting sensible environmental regulations without discouraging energy sector jobs. This administration’s assault on the coal industry is a prime example of how regulations can slow the creation of American jobs. This is unfortunate because every economic indicator is spelling out the need to ease unnecessary regulations and burdens on the private sector in order to see the economic growth that every American is asking for.
A healthy economy will ensure Hispanics the best possible opportunity to climb the socio-economic ladder and increase our political clout. The recent conventions showcasing the rising generation of Hispanic politicians should be the start, and not a blip, of a bright future for the Hispanic electorate.
Israel Ortega is the editor of Libertad.org, the Spanish language page of The Heritage Foundation, www.libertad.org. You can follow Ortega on Twitter: @IzzyOrtega
First appeared in Latin Business Today.