November 7, 2012
If the last four years were any indication of what we can expect in the next four years, Hispanics, like all Americans have plenty of reason to remain worried about our country’s economy. It’s hard to see how a President with a deeply liberal bend will pivot to the center in order to reduce our country’s 16 trillion dollar deficit.
For Hispanics, this election was a watershed moment Hispanics went to the polls in larger numbers than they did in the 2008 presidential election, determining President Obama the winner in the important battleground states of Colorado, Nevada, Virginia and Florida. The results are confirming just how consequential the fastest growing demographic will be in shaping the American 21st century.
And yet, it would be premature to write off Hispanics as a reliable liberal voting bloc. From school choice to tax cuts and even Voter ID laws, Hispanics have expressed an openness to conservative policy prescriptions when polled. An articulate Spanish speaking conservative could effectively discredit liberal policy prescriptions by exposing how trillions of dollars of spending have failed to grow the economy, casting serious doubt on the viability of the American Dream for future generations.
What’s more, the nearly fifty percent high school drop put rate among Hispanic students is a sobering indictment that the fastest growing demographic could soon add to our already unsustainable entitlement system by depending more on the government dole as employment prospects are effectively cut-off. The liberal policy prescriptions largely centered on more government spending and federal control have largely failed to close the large racial academic achievement gap that doggedly persists.
A series of policy recommendations focused on increased transparency, accountability and school choice has the possibility of resonating with a demographic that has consistently rated education above immigration as a top concern.
The next four years for Hispanics under the Obama administration
Much will be made of conservative’s deference to the rule of law concerning immigration even though President Obama has consistently affirmed the uncontested truism that this is a country of immigrants, but also a country of laws. Liberals effectively hijacked the immigration issue by decrying that being against illegal immigration was tantamount to being against all immigration and by defacto being against Hispanics. Of course, the media certainly helped perpetuate this false narrative but conservatives could have certainly been more forceful in describing the need for immediate policy prescriptions in order to create a far more efficient immigration system in order to push back on this grossly false narrative.
Ultimately, we Hispanics will need to accept whether we are comfortable supporting the same failed policies that drove many of our ancestors to leave Latin America in order to make our mark in the United States of America. We must recognize that America has always stood out for its regard to a strong civil society and a limited government in order to make space for the private sector to flourish. This recipe has helped create the most prosperous economy in modern times and it’s hard to see a scenario how Latin Americans would continue immigrating to our country if there were no prospects of employment.
As such, it seems the surest way to ensure that we Hispanics can continue to play a large role in determining the course of American history is to return to the policies that created wealth and opportunity. Freedom has largely defined the American experience and it seems silly to turn our back now on this simple proposition that has served our country so well.
Israel Ortega is the Editor of Libertad.org, the Spanish language page of The Heritage Foundation, a public policy think tank in Washington, D.C., www.heritage.org.
First appeared in Voxxi.com.