(WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 13: US Senator Barack Obama, (D-IL), poses with Eva Longoria at the National Hispanic Foundation For The Arts Annual ‘Noche de Gala’ at the Mayflower Hotel, September 13, 2005 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chris Greenberg/Getty Images))

Opinion: Obama’s Hollywood stars versus Romney’s GOP Latino firepower

Believe it or not, Mitt Romney does have a campaign strategy available to him that includes Latinos, except it would look significantly different from the strategy emerging out of President Obama’s campaign.

While the President will be relying mostly on Latino star power with household names like Shakira, Marc Anthony and Eva Longoria, Mitt Romney will need to depend on Latino firepower with names like Marco Rubio, Susana Martinez and Brian Sandoval.

Both candidates have their own issues with Latinos. The good news for Mitt Romney is that, unlike President Obama, he has deported exactly zero Latino immigrants and has broken up the same number of American families where a family member was undocumented. Contrast that to our Deporter-in-Chief who has broken up countless American families and deported over a million Latino immigrants. That’s a fact.

I’m confused as to why this isn’t the mantra coming out of the Romney campaign rather than the disingenuous claim that the President failed to pass immigration reform, when the overwhelming reason it could not pass was because of the Republicans. Perhaps Romney hasn’t brought it up much because he favors such a policy.  After all, he has said as much throughout the primary campaign.

Regardless, the President’s problem isn’t whether or not Latinos will vote for him, they will, but whether or not they will make it to the voting booth at all.  And Mitt Romney’s problem is not that Latinos won’t vote for him, they won’t, but one way to look at the electoral calculus is whether or not Romney can convince enough Latinos to stay home on Election Day and then make up the difference with enough independent white and/or Latino voters.

So where do Latinos fit in this scenario for Mitt Romney? Well, we know that the country as a whole desires a humane approach to immigration and that they are more willing to support a policy of integrating Latinos into society rather than treating them like criminals.  Here is where Latino firepower may be important.

Governors Martinez of New Mexico and Sandoval of Nevada, along with Senator Rubio of Florida can be the face of this more humane approach. Each of the three are also in important battle ground states that can give Romney the edge in a tight election and all three won their respective elections with strong support among whites.  All three States also voted for Obama in 2008 and at least two of these States have the potential to swing back to the GOP side with the right conditions.

Putting on a friendlier Latino face may not sit well with hardcore conservatives, but then, who else are they going to vote for?  Perhaps they will stay home, but the Supreme Court just upheld the holy grail of Republican angst in Obamacare.  The Supreme Court may have just handed the Romney campaign the antagonism it needed to get the Tea Party folks riled up again as in 2010.

On the other hand, President Obama has to convince Latinos to come out and play.  He may not have a stable of Latino statewide officials in important swing states, but his contingency of superstars will need to reaffirm the cultural understanding between the President and Latinos.  This emotional connection is an important component of social representation, or the sense that the voter and the politician share common values and ideals.

Perhaps Latinos can forget the last three years and the superstars can focus Latinos’ attention on the President’s recent directive granting legal status to the so-called Dreamers.  Perhaps the superstars can scare Latinos with the argument that Obama may be bad, but Romney would be worse.

That is a good argument, and the GOP has always been willing to play into that, but it may not be as effective when you have firepower like Martinez and Rubio softening the image of the GOP to attract independent voters.  Can it work? Maybe.

Opinion: Obamas Hollywood stars versus Romneys GOP Latino firepower  stephennuno1 e1339078991467 politics NBC Latino News

Stephen A. Nuño, Ph.D., NBC Latino contributor and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics and International Affairs at Northern Arizona University. He is currently writing a book on Republican outreach into the Latino Community.


  1. One last thing. Latinos YOU ARE NOT VICTIMS. You are powerful individuals with powerful beliefs and incredible potential. If you want to preserve the things you believe in, then vote! By not voting, you are choosing to be subject to the will of others. Unlike Obama, Romney wants COMPREHENSIVE immigration reform. This means protecting our borders from danger and by maintaining the rule of law AND creating a path to citizenship. Obama has thus far only favored a temporary path by bypassing congress (skipping the democratic process). A true leader would respect the process that protects our freedoms.

    1. Viridiana says:

      Romney didn’t want comprehensive reform until it became a good political move. He denied to even shake the hand of a DREAMer once. As far as I know his comprehensive reform idea was to deport everyone, continue to break up families, etc.

      And what is meant by “respect the process that protects our freedoms?” Last time I checked, executive power was something written and given to the president by the founding fathers, by the constitution itself.

      Republicans are also highly partisan, many of its prominent leaders and figures are extreme conservatives and uncompromising. It is also unfair to warn others to not fall prey to poor v. rich, minority v. White mentalities when you’ve obviously also subscribed to religious v. irreligious mentality to guide our country and its laws.

      1. David says:

        I think its hilarious how this has become a “partisan” argument. If you think either party is the answer you are wrong. One must have principles and vote according to those principles, not according to their blind hatred or love of a political party.

        The fact is that President Obama had two years with a super majority in which he could pass anything he wanted, and did nothing concerning immigration reform.

        Another fact, something needs to happen. We need logical, methodical and well thought out immigration policies, and I think its short sited to take sides. Shouldn’t we be for whoever will do something for our cause instead of blindly following one party or blindly hating another?

        Democrats will not pass immigration reform, it is the only carrot they have to try and persuade Latino voters. Once immigration is off the table what position of belief will they win them over with? Religion, the family, taxes, abortion, gay marriage? Democrats positions on most important issues are contrary to a majority of Latino’s beliefs.

        They will make no move on immigration (if history is any indicator), because its the only tool they have that they think will “win” voters over. Once its gone, they have nothing.

        Viridian, I think the least you could do is to go to Romney’s site, and look at his position and plans concerning immigration, (clearly you haven’t). Misinformation is our enemy, and if as a people we don’t take the time to inform ourselves we hurt our cause, our country and our arguments.

      2. Viridiana says:

        How can I look at his site when his positions change every so often (and not to accommodate change). And I have looked at his site, several time. If anything is my weakness, it is not misinformation, I make sure of that. And I\’m not partisan to start with, but the more I hear the GOP, Tea Party, and conservatives, the more convinced I am that they are not the solution to our problems.
        I am Latina. I am pro-choice (which recent studies have shown Latinas/os aren\’t as against as one would think, especially since Latinas/os are leaving the Catholic Church in higher numbers), separation of church and state, changing who pays what taxes, and for gay marriage (also, another study shows that Latinas/os have much more positive attitudes towards homosexuality/queerness than thought before).

        I am not for someone whose stance once was to deport everyone or self-deportation. A stance that is completely ignorant of history (Latina/o presence in the U.S., Mexico-U.S. relations, racism, etc.), impractical, and inhumane.

  2. Wow. All of you including the article writer are incredibly misinformed. I wish Latinos could stop viewing the world through race-colored lens and decide that everyone is an individual. Demography IS NOT destiny. When George Bush, Jr. (a republican) tried to pass comprehensive immigration reform it was struck down by wait, who? THE DEMOCRATS. Political parties have made countless mistakes by being partisan. Republicans at least have proved that they are truly for inclusion. There are now more Latino governors, senators, and representatives in Republican offices than there are or ever have been in Democratic ones.

    Secondly, Mel, President Obama has been proven to receive more money from corporations for his 2008 campaign than his opponent. In fact, it’s the donations of corporations that kept him afloat.

    Don’t fall prey the the division government officials wish upon us. Rich vs poor, white vs colored, republicans vs minorities, etc.

    I don’t subscribe to any political party, but i do hold conservative values and a deep love for the Constitution of this country because I believe it was inspired by God. Conservatives believe in preserving religion, in charity, in the traditional family, in local education, and in less government controlling their individual lives. Last I checked, these are Latino principles as well.

  3. I think Democrats, Republicans and of course ultra left progressives are under the impression that the Constitutional TEA PARTY is declining? This could be any further from the truth, since hundreds each day are joining this split from the GOP and causing frantic demonstrations of nerves in both parties. People who have had no interest in voting before are materializing out of society, because they are now well aware that the Democrats essentially will ignore election laws, as they have done for years. Using any oral device they can, including ‘Voter Suppression, Political Correctness’ and revealing their true nature of being hard core, anti-American. The truth is that without any official oversight, non citizens will vote in a violation of the law and this is what Democrats want? They don’t heed who votes as long as it is for Obama, whether by fraudulent absentee ballot or voting in any precinct. More states than ever before are revising their laws, so any person who votes must have a picture ID, although even this isn’t foolproof.

    With the outcome of the Supreme Courts decisive answer, America is under an even more danger of a illegal alien invasion? The fact the Obama administration have ignored many elements of the Constitution, should warn all of us of the evident avenue towards Socialism. A large majority of President Obama voters desire his massive escalation of corpulent government, offering welfare, food stamps and public giveaways. These are dregs that have probably never worked in their lives and live of the taxpayers. 40 percent of Americans have never paid anything in federal or state taxes. It is the same with over 20 million illegal aliens who stay in dark corners of our society who pay nothing. Many illegal alien families are collecting large sums of money from child tax credits, when even the child is not resident here? That is $4.2 billion dollars that should be provided to the lawful impoverished people.

    I don’t blame the illegal aliens, but a lying decade of governments that have intentionally overlooked our laws; otherwise illegal entry would be a felony. Not just the Democrats but the Republicans as well, that’s why we need desperately to remove old incumbents entrenched in Washington and replace them with fresh TEA PARTY Senators and House Representatives. America is become a hive of corruption, that emanates from Congress. That isn’t to say that all the politicians are unwilling to fight for the rights of all Americans. But what is going on, when 8 percent of birthright citizens, naturalized and permanent residence are jobless? While throughout the country illegal migrants and immigrants are employed. This is a disgrace to us as nation that supposedly believes in the “rule of Law.” This happens when the federal government is truly the instigators of this immigration mess and should be held accountable? Not border states as Arizona, being threatened by a federal agency uncontrollable. Arizona doing the right thing for its people, were a scapegoat for generations of incompetence.

    The new ObamaCare law is yet another magnet, which will attract millions more illegal aliens over our threshold. My guess in some clandestine way illegal immigrants will be able to take advantage of this health care law and further drain state treasuries? Americans are already at a disadvantage, when it comes to healthcare as the majority is forced to pay through federal mandate for illegal alien emergency care? Not the farmers who employ them, not the thousands of businesses that pay under the table; again it’s the taxpayer. The open border zealots want a global government and their philosophy is just that; wide open borders. Why does being in this sovereign nation, without documentation and violating the law, give illegal aliens the privilege of stealing the lawful populace money. Why must we, the taxpayer be forced to pay for the children of illegal aliens education, a family’s health care?

    I don’t know what Mitt Romney has in mind on Immigration, but the TEA PARTY says No? Americans have been taken for granted, as have the courageous Border Patrol agents who protect the fence; it’s hard to believe that there a big signs in the deserts along the border, in our own country warning us of entering. That signifies it’s dangerous to enter these regions, because of the drug cartels and armed foreign nationals. It’s a proven fact that property owners along the border regions are fearful for their lives and must carry a firearm all the time.


    To really make life unsympathetic for illegal alien criminals, our gutless Republicans should assume E-Verify as a mandatory apparatus without fail. Rep. Lamar Smiths bill ‘The Legal Workforce Act’ (H.R. 2885) informs a business owner whether an individual has a right to work. Currently it is a voluntary policy, but citizens can change this by rattling the cages of the Republican Party. It has become a remarkable electronic program, which detects unauthorized non citizens already hired, but then flagged and can only be resolved by stepping into Social Security offices. No illegal alien would dream of doing that, even if they are in possession of stolen ID documents? Of course the mainstream Liberal press is adamant in denouncing the E-Verify business checking Database?

    Just as vital in importance is the BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP Bill (H.R.140) amendment law. This disqualifies illegal alien mothers from gaining immediate acceptance of their unborn baby smuggled through ports of entry, either across the ocean or through our limited border fence defenses. Undoubtedly a misinterpreted law that was originally consigned to slaves during the Civil War in the emancipation decree, not an identified ruling by SCOTUS, but unfortunately a huge tax burden that must be resolved. These Foothold children are costing $100 of billions of dollars in welfare, cash payments, education and health care treatment to the states and pouring through the cracks in our laws at a rate of 400.000 a year. The only obstruction is the special interests groups in the halls of Congress, which pour large donations into both parties. Pro-illegal alien forces in the Democrat and Republican Party and stopping these bills from becoming the law of the land.

    No! You Republicans and Democrats the TEA PARTY is swelling, not shrinking as you will see in November. All people of every race, religion or political party affiliate should join a local chapter. Obviously people who scorned our immigration laws are not welcome. We can relieve this nation of politicians, governors, mayors and all others, who don’t comply to the Constitution.

    This is the time when every American who believes in the ‘Rule of Law’ and steps forward to let their Senator or Congress person knows how you will vote. Tell the politician’s aide and that you want them to pass E-Verify and the Birthright Citizenship bills. Citizen voters should phone Congress at the central Washington, D.C., Switchboard at 202-224-3121. Insist YOUR CONGRESSMAN/WOMAN TO fulfill their obligation to the oath of office and stop pandering to the businesses that use discount workers or the Democrats who are overlooking illegal aliens voting. You have the power of the VOTE to demand they sponsor these to policies or we are doomed to a future, without any restrictions on President Obama to initiate another spending spree. The country has a near $16 trillion deficit that must be stopped and now.

  4. Mel says:

    Rubio, Sandoval and Martinez are Republican first and Hispanic/Latino second. They offer NOTHING for my people. Last I heard and read…..they are AGAINST everything that we need and want. When are the rich Hispanics that follow these Republican’s going to realize that they are in the minority? This country is made up of them and US. At the end of the day, We Hispanics will come out to vote for the only man that has their best interest….President Obama.
    Why keep beating a dead horse? Pardon the pun….(Ann Romney and her Olympic bound horse)
    Romney is being help up by money. President Obama is being held up by oppressed, poor, sick, and struggling people. Romney will always be the Robot that uttered these DUMB phrase…. “Corporations are people my friends!”

  5. Duke Machado says:

    This right here…”disingenuous claim that the President failed to pass immigration reform, when the overwhelming reason it could not pass was because of the Republicans,” in my opinion is also disingenuous. The overwhelming reason immigration reform didn’t pass wasn’t because of “Republicans.” It is because of the language of the legislation proposed. Republicans were merely opposed to the content of the legislation…as we should be.

    The loop-holes, vagueness and lack of implementation strategy was glaring…and any Republican who would have voted in favor of Obama’s plan for immigration reform would have been a career ending one. It would have been more accurate to say the reason it didn’t pass was because the legislation was flawed. But, I am glad you draw attention to the Hollywood Glam vs the Real Deal Hispanic leadership.

  6. Linda says:

    One more comment I am intelligent enough to know what each candidate stands for and for whom. Not who they have in the way of star power.

  7. Linda says:

    First of all Martinez governor of New Mexico, Rubio from Florida, and Sandoval of Nevada are not for Latnos they are for the better of themselves. They for what ever reason seem to feel the Republicans can understand where there roots started since they seem to forget where it originated. They associate with Republicans who have continuesly bash the Latinos but mostly Mexican Latino, The so called dreamers as Mr.Nuno refers to are decent human beings that are only wanting to stay in this country that they grew up in, played in, contiubute in, but people like Sandoval, Rubio, Martinez, Romney do not want to be the face of equality for all they want to be the faces of you do not belong. Even though I am not happy with President Obama I will show up to vote, I will not throw away my vote on Romney who has repeately stated no to the Dream Acrt. I am praying other Latinos will go to the polls and say to the Republicans we do count by casting their votes for Obama.

%d bloggers like this: