The Obama campaign rolled out their Latino/Hispanic strategy in a conference call hosted by Congressman Xavier Becerra (D-CA). Congressman Becerra unveiled the new Spanish language radio ad entitled Bootstraps.
The ad will be rolled out in Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, and Nevada, key battleground states with Hispanic populations.
New Mexico has the highest percentage of Hispanic-origin citizens---43% of the population. Texas and California tie for second place with 35% of the population of Hispanic-origin. That means California is home to 12.4 million Hispanics and Texas is home to 7.8 million, and on average at least 1 in 10 households speak Spanish (per the 2005 Census).
Note that neither Texas nor California is on the radio ad air list.
This is exactly the kind of tactical mistake that eventually turns into a critical, strategic one.
"They are skipping two states where Spanish is spoken the most? That is the most short-sighted strategy I've ever heard of. Seriously, why is it that neither Obama nor Hillary knew how to run a statewide campaign in Texas? So, they're going to spend resources here, but not target Latino voters?" said Vince Liebowitz, Editor & Publisher of CapitolAnnex.com and Chair of the Texas Progressive Alliance, a coalition of more than 40 Texas blogs.
A decision with vast negative implications for Texas and our efforts to turn it blue, particularly in Harris County. More ...
A few months ago when David Axelrod was in Houston, a member of a Hispanic caucus mentioned concern in the Hispanic community about voting for Senator Obama. The McCain campaign and others who oppose Obama have been spreading misinformation about Senator Obama's background and affiliations in Spanish, the man told Mr. Axelrod at the fundraising luncheon. He mentioned that although Senator Obama launched his Snopes-like fightthesmears.com, many Spanish-speaking Hispanics would better trust information received in their first language and were unlikely to browse an English Web site. He asked Mr. Axelrod if the Obama campaign planned to launch a Spanish-language outreach to Hispanic voters. ...
It's important that the Obama campaign outreach extend to Hispanic voters, but more than that, the campaign needs to be careful to not oversimplify Hispanic voters and only appeal to a single issue: immigration (even though it is a key issue). Hispanic citizens have a spectrum of issues that concern them, including business.
Hispanic-owned businesses have been increasing. In 2002, there were 1.6 million Hispanic-owned businesses with almost $230 billion in revenue. If that kept increasing at the same rate, those businesses would be well over 2 million strong by now. Hispanic voters, therefore, are also concerned about the economy, business, taxes, and more.
The Obama campaign also needs to understand that the Hispanic and Latino cultures vary by origin and region. One size won't fit all.But most of all, they need to not take winning California Hispanic voters for granted, nor should they take losing Texas as a certainty. The right strategy can bring a big win, or a big loss.
The reason Obama is taking both Texas and California for granted is quite simple:
Hispanic support for Democrats has soared in the past four years, driven by the bitter immigration policy debate, the sagging economy and the unpopular Iraq war, according to a Pew Hispanic Center poll.
The survey of 2,015 Latinos found that Democrat Sen. Barack Obama, who lost the Hispanic vote to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton by a margin of nearly 2-to-1 in the Democratic primary, holds a commanding 66 percent to 23 percent lead over Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain. ...
The Democratic tide in the Hispanic community is so strong that Obama has built a lead among every nationality group, including the historically Republican Cuban-American population, which now favors Obama by 53 percent to 29 percent.
The Illinois Democrat is running far ahead among Mexican-Americans, who cast about 40 percent of their ballots for George W. Bush in 2004. Among voters of Mexican ancestry, Obama leads McCain, 70 percent to 21 percent.
Obama's dominance among Hispanics, the poll says, is so complete that he has the support of 25 percent of Latinos who identify themselves as Republicans and holds an edge of about 5-to-1 among those who consider themselves political independents.
Unless McCain can reverse the GOP slide, the Hispanic vote could prove pivotal to Obama in traditionally Republican states such as Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada, and could help him close what has been a significant gap in Florida. It also could help the Democrat in three states that went Republican in 2004 but have small but rapidly increasing Hispanic populations: Iowa, Virginia and North Carolina.
Since Obama stands no greater chance of losing California than he does winning Texas ... well, I'll let Phillip Martin finish my thought:
I guess it's just a 50-state strategy for volunteers and an ATM machine, but not communications outreach.
We're on our own, Texas Democrats. You might as well pick your favorite local candidates and invest your time, energy, and money there, because they're the ones who need the help.