Sunday, March 18, 2012

WHY PUERTO RICO MATTERS FOR THE GOP

Okay, I can already hear the verbals saying, 'C'mon Puerto Rico matters?' Well, for the GOP candidates it's worth 20 delegates. But there's more than meets the tropical eye.

For the nomination process, Mitt Romney won Sunday's race of the four candidates for Puerto Rico. Per Puerto Rican caucus mandate, Romney will take home all of the delegates as he was in position to win 50%+ of the total votes. Now, that's the obvious news. What's more of the test has been if a Republican candidate could gain more than just delegates.

Here's the pivot point-Would one of the candidates be able to make inroads to the culture and Hispanic community? That is why this matters. For years, Republicans have not been able to connect with the culture of the Hispanic community. What has been so vexing for the Republicans, for decades, is that the Hispanic community's values line up almost perfectly with the conservative social values of the GOP. Faith, family, education, pro-life,-you name it. However, the Hispanics continue to vote for the Democrat. For the GOP to win the Presidency and take back the Senate, the Hispanic vote is pivotal to their success.

Puerto Rico served as a litmus test to see if the GOP could connect. Of the four candidates, one did-Mitt Romney. He not only speaks some Spanish, but also understands the values of its culture. His campaign was on the mark and connected with the voters. In his speeches, Romney very effectively spoke of conservative social values, especially of faith & family, and how conservatism aligned with the expectations of Hispanic culture.

However, one candidate did not hit the mark. Rick Santorum produced a couple of real Hispanic no-no's while at a couple events in Puerto Rico. Instead of respecting the culture, he pressed very sensitive areas with regards to use of the English language. English is already the official language of Puerto Rico.

For Puerto Rico, one candidate has proven they can meet their expectations. Transferring that message to American Hispanics this fall will be the challenge.

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