FUSION’s ‘Come Here and Say That’ Has the Surprising Answer
With the 2016 Presidential race underway, candidates from both parties are actively courting the Latino community. Comprised of 25 million eligible voters, this historically underserved electorate may well determine the course of American politics for generations. To help put this in perspective, a thought-provoking new video from FUSION’s “Come Here and Say That” explains how politicians are attracting Hispanic voters and why it’s crucial that they do.
Show host Alicia Menendez, who is half Latina, begins by examining Jeb Bush’s recent Presidential announcement rally. “It felt like part campaign kickoff, part quinceañera,” she says about the salsa-themed event, which featured Cuban-American singer Willy Chirino performing the national anthem.
Following a clip of Bush himself delivering a message to voters in fluent Spanish, Menendez seems genuinely impressed. “Wow! You could give Rand Paul, Lindsey Graham and this girl a copy of Rosetta Stone and a thousand years and we would never come close to that!” she comments. “I have a feeling in the next sixteen months we’ll hear Jeb Bush use every Spanish vocabulary word there is…with the exception of mi hermano.”
On the opposite side of the issue is Donald Trump, whose campaign rhetoric has thus far alienated some Latino voters. After a clip of Trump saying that he would build a great, yet inexpensive, wall across the US–Mexico border to keep out drug dealers, criminals and rapists, Menendez offers a backhanded compliment. “Yes, Donald, I’m sure you could build an inexpensive wall. You could get the materials from your closed and bankrupted Atlantic City casinos.”
In answer to why Republicans are reaching out to Latinos this year, Menendez believes it boils down to one word: demographics. “In 2012, Mitt Romney won fewer than three-in-ten Latinos,” the host says. “Yup, film critics liked the Entourage movie more than Latinos liked Mitt Romney.”
While Republicans are striving to make up lost ground with Hispanic voters, Democratic candidates have relied on the community’s support for years. A vintage black and white TV clip of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy addressing viewers in awkward Spanish helps illustrate the point.
“The fight for Latino voters will be a key part of the Democratic primary between Hillary Clinton and all of the white men who will probably lose to her,” Menendez quips. “Her campaign announcement took just twenty-four seconds before we heard Spanish, and two minutes later she said she was gonna hit the road. What was her first stop? Chipotle!”
Closing out the video, Menendez passionately urges Latinos to seize the moment and ignore both parties’ pandering attempts to woo them. “We have got sixteen months to debate which candidate has the best interests of this community at heart,” she says. “And in 2016, we are going to be the life of the party!”