10 Ways Conservatives Can Appeal to Hispanics (Without Becoming More Liberal)
Far too many conservatives have grown pessimistic about the prospect of Hispanics ever agreeing with their policy prescriptions. Others have erred in the opposite direction, suggesting that only shifts in tone or even engaging in a pandering competition with liberals could fix the problem.
These approaches are wrong and self-defeating. If conservatives allow liberals to have a monopoly on Hispanic aspirations and dreams, they will find it increasingly difficult to enact their policies. At the same time, conservatives must understand that some of their problems with this demographic have structural aspects that require long-term solutions.
Here are 10 suggestions for how conservatives can start the arduous work of convincing Hispanics that conservative policies are better. They are found in my recently published book, “A Race for The Future: How Conservatives Can Break the Liberal Monopoly on Hispanic Americans,” which I will discuss with National Review’s Jim Geraghty tomorrow at 11 a.m., at The Heritage Foundation in a program introduced by Heritage President Jim DeMint.
1. School choice. School choice is the lowest of hanging fruits. Hispanics already like school choice, and they like it a lot. Whether it’s vouchers, charters schools, education savings accounts or tax-credit scholarships, the intensity of their support is even higher than those of non-Hispanic whites or Republicans. In June, the Friedman Foundation reported Hispanics had a higher margin of support for vouchers (+47 percentage points) than Republicans (+42 percentage points) and also higher intensity. School choice also is a classic “wedge issue.” It is the job of conservatives to explain that it is teachers’ unions, the cash cow of liberal politicies, which stand in their way.
2. Family formation. The ongoing breakdown of the Hispanic family is the big news that is never in the news. Although we hear much about the 72 percent out-of-wedlock rate among African-Americans, Hispanics’ 53 percent rate hardly ever makes headlines. But a rate that high militates against any hope of Hispanics ever supporting conservative causes in large numbers. Illegitimacy stands upstream from nearly all the societal pathologies that lead people to fall prey to dependency on government. Conservatives must make it their job to help Hispanics get that rate down.
3. Get them to become savers. Education and family have to do with what social scientists refer to as human and social capital, respectively. Financial capital is the stuff in the bank. Hispanics in this country are famously underbanked or even unbanked, which means they don’t use banks enough or even at all. Sending remittances home often prevents capital formation here. Studies show the habit of saving by itself, regardless of how much is saved, is a great predictor of the ability to become upwardly mobile. Policies that will make Hispanics save more will make them more independent of government and thus more likely to be conservative.
4. Show them how liberal policies have put them in a hole. It’s important for conservatives to not only offer a positive policy agenda that gets Hispanics out of a hole, but also to explain how liberal policies have put them there. Dependency on government helps undermines the family, and liberals’ aggressive marketing of food stamps, Obamacare and other government services to Hispanics should be blamed for contributing to family breakdown. Multiculturalism, another liberal policy, has only balkanized Hispanics and prevented them from joining the mainstream.
5. Give them their proper stake in the culture Without Mexico’s cultural imprint, the Southwest would be a scorching version of the Midwest, which for all its allure simply lacks the legendary nature of the Wild West. Mexican-Americans should take great pride in this country and its history, as they helped chisel out the culture of one of its iconic regions. There were Mexicans at the Alamo—fighting on the Texans’ side against Santa Ana—and the first provisional vice president of the Texan Republic was a Mexican-American. This history doesn’t get taught as much as it should because the liberals in charge of our education prefer to emphasize divisiveness, a history of discrimination (which all immigrants have suffered from) or such synthetic PC-ness as “Cinco de Mayo.” Conservatives should emphasize the cultural importance of Mexican-Americans to the making of the American spirit. You give a man a stake in something and he will want to conserve it, which is after all how you make conservatives.
6. Sever the perceptive link between success and government intervention; end affirmative action. Progressives knew what they were doing when they concocted the current affirmative action structure back in the 1970s. Right away, immigrants and their descendants were conditioned to perceive a link between government intervention and success in life. But affirmative action is unjust, hinders meritocracy and seeds resentment against immigration. There’s no reason to accept the affirmative action arrangement we were bequeathed.
7. End Bilingual Education. Bilingual education often ends up being a sad misnomer—many of the “bilingual” education programs und up being monolingual, meaning only in Spanish. This prevents Hispanic kids from getting one of the tools that will lead to success: proficiency in English. Bilingual ed also separates Hispanics kids from their future compatriots at a key time in their development.
8. Ask them if they want to replicate conditions that made them abandon their homeland. This should be a no-brainer. Why would someone from Cuba or Venezuela want to see here the big-government policies that have ruined their lands, or a Mexican the statist and pro-union policies that has prevented Mexico from enjoying its oil wealth. Indeed, why would anyone who emigrated here from anywhere between the Rio Grande and Patagonia want the absence of the rule of law or of strong property rights that haunts part of the region? As for volunteerism, former Mexican foreign minister Jorge Castaneda wrote in his masterpiece “Mañana Forever:” “In the United States, there are approximately 2 million civil society organizations, or one for every 150 inhabitants; in Chile there are 35,000, or one for every 428 Chileans; in Mexico there are only 8,500, or one for every 12,000.” Why would any Hispanic want that here?
9. Return to assimilationist policies. I am often asked whether today’s immigrants share American values, and the questioners almost always assume the answer is no. As the point above makes clear, sometimes no doubt it is. But America has been a country of immigrants for four centuries. And not all of those who arrived from County Cork, Eastern Europe or Sicily came believing in a strong work ethic, the creed that many societal problems can be solved by civil society through volunteerism and an abiding trust in the superiority of rule of law over rule of man. Assimilation is what made people the world over understand the American system. It is self-defeating that we have stopped encouraging it.
10. Explain to them that it’s not a question of being dependent or not, but of depending on someone in your family, in your community or circle of friends, or on a government bureaucrat. Liberals have done a good job at depicting conservatives as uncaring individualists with a devil-take-the-hindmost philosophy—so good that even some conservatives bought the stereotype. Not even libertarians can be reduced to such tropes, and definitely not conservatives, who understand dependency is part of the human condition. The only question is whether we depend on relatives, friends or others in our community or whether we turn to an impersonal bureaucracy that simply doles out help without any understanding of need or responsibility. Hispanics get human interdependency and will respond well to policies that help relatives and neighbors set up mutual-aid networks.
The "Stop Rush" campaign
For two years, a self-described grassroots army has protested “The Rush Limbaugh Show” in a campaign to convince advertisers to pull their commercials from the talk giant’s radio program. Now, Limbaugh’s show is fighting back with a new report arguing that the supposed groundswell of outraged consumers is in reality 10 “hardcore” progressive activists.
“It’s a cynical form of intimidation and harassment and business destruction that targets speech a small group of extremists and bullies find disagreeable,” Brian Glicklich, spokesman for “The Rush Limbaugh Show,” said in an interview with The Daily Signal.
“Stop Rush” bills itself as a multiyear grassroots effort by consumers who object to the trademark tenor and content of Limbaugh’s conservative commentary on politics, society and what he calls “the drive-by media.” The group targets businesses, charities and nonprofits that advertise on the Limbaugh show in hopes of convincing them to pull their commercials.
Limbaugh’s show describes itself as “the most listened-to radio talk show in America, broadcast on over 600 radio stations nationwide.”
The brainchild of Angelo Carusone, executive vice president of the liberal website Media Matters for America, the Stop Rush campaign began in 2012 – when President Obama was running for re-election. Stop Rush participants are visible on social media such as Twitter and Facebook, and use the #StopRush hashtag in communicating with local businesses and other organizations.
However, according to research conducted by Limbaugh’s camp, about 70 percent of #StopRush tweets originated from a total of 10 Twitter account holders. The individuals affiliated with those accounts hail from only four states: California, Florida, Ohio and Georgia.
Using contact information published by the Limbaugh camp, The Daily Signal reached out yesterday to those 10 persons, who include a professor at Kent State University and a writer for The Daily Kos, a left-leaning news and commentary site. Those requests for comment so far are unsuccessful.
Glicklich, the spokesman for the Limbaugh show, said researchers compiled statistics over the summer on those “tweeting” objections to the show at its advertisers. The researchers identified which Twitter accounts were most active in targeting businesses and charities that support the show.
The advertisers, listed along with contact information on the website StopRush.net, are located in all 50 states.
The researchers found that 80 percent of all #StopRush “attacks” came from users located in a state other than that of the targeted advertiser.
“It’s not a principled message,” Glicklich said in an interview with The Daily Signal. “It’s blackmail.”
In a statement to The Daily Signal, Carusone defended those who make up the Stop Rush campaign. He said:
This is a grassroots effort that grows every day. Instead of attacking people on the Internet, Limbaugh’s team would better fill their role by advising their client not to excuse rape in some situations (as he did just last week). Rush Limbaugh is bad for business — and the only thing Limbaugh has to blame for that is his own repeated conduct.
The Daily Signal is the multimedia news organization of The Heritage Foundation, a policy research institute with longstanding ties to Limbaugh and his show based on shared conservative principles.
Carusone said the Limbaugh show has been a detriment to radio companies and local businesses.
“Rush Limbaugh’s show has reportedly lost millions of dollars in revenue for radio companies, thousands of advertisers big and small refuse to run ads on the program and radio stations are dropping the show,” the Media Matters executive said. “After initially insisting there were no troubles with advertisers, two years later Limbaugh’s crisis team comes out with a report attributing this massive exodus to just 10 people?”
Glicklich, however, disputed Carusone’s argument. He said the effects of Stop Rush efforts are harmful not to the Limbaugh show, but rather to advertisers — many of them small businesses:
[Advertisers] made a business decision to want to talk to the 20 million people a week who listen and like going to the places mentioned on the show. When they have to do something else because they don’t have the resources to deal with the bullies and intimidation, it harms the businesses. The show hasn’t been affected, but it’s the people and businesses and families.
The Iron Dome Works
It’s been a rough few weeks for one of America’s most vociferous critics of missile defense.
Ted Postol, Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor and longtime critic of U.S. missile defense, told National Public Radio just three days into the 2014 Gaza missile wars that Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system “doesn’t work.” He said it failed up to “95 percent” of the time.
The Israeli government estimated Iron Dome successfully intercepted 90 percent of the Hamas rockets it engaged
For it to work, he claimed the system had to hit incoming Hamas-launched rockets “head on.” But he had photos, he said, of smoke entrails and what appeared to be the Iron Dome approaching the Hamas rockets from side angles or from behind. This “proved” the system didn’t work, even though the vast majority of his analysis was from the missile wars of 2012 and not the 2014 battles.
For 50 days from early July through most of August, Hamas launched nearly 4,500 rockets against Israel. Two Israelis died during that time because of rocket fire, but they were in an area not defended by Iron Dome batteries. None died in areas that were protected by Iron Dome, although in Askelon, 30 Israelis were wounded, some seriously, by Hamas rockets that the missile defense did not intercept. But overall, the Israeli government estimated Iron Dome successfully intercepted 90 percent of the Hamas rockets it engaged, compared to an 80 percent success rate achieved in the 2012 Gaza missile wars.
At first the arms control community greeted the Postol “analysis” with little skepticism. Most believe missile defense is a waste of money that will never work sufficiently anyway, and this report only confirmed their biases. Moreover, they’d long believed Israel’s estimate that Iron Dome worked 80 percent of the time in the 2012 missile wars was news too good to be true.
As the weeks wore on and the rocket attacks from Gaza reached into the thousands with still no Israeli fatalities, the idea that Iron Dome didn’t work became more and more absurd to maintain.
It’s beginning to look as if the Israelis were right about this. They carefully plotted all the intercepts, and they say of the rockets engaged, 90 percent were intercepted and destroyed.
In short, Israeli ingenuity not only trumped Hamas and Iranian rocket makers, it demonstrated in the 3 1/2 years it took to move from the laboratory to the real world that missile defense can work and its supporters in America are right to call for resuming work on protecting our homeland in this way.
For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in). GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.
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