“Cinco de Mayo,” a holiday currently being celebrated on patios all across North America, marks the date the Mexican military defeated the French in the 1862 Battle of Puebla. For American politicians, the day presents an opportunity to test out budding Latino outreach programs.
Well, at least one politician. Jeb Bush is taking advantage of the day to flex his impressive Spanish language muscles and close ties to the Latino community via a new video pushed out on Facebook and YouTube.
The video, pushed out by Bush’s Right to Rise PAC, features some the same stripped-down, message-centric style that we’ve seen politicians like Marco Rubio use in the past.
Check it out:
“Here in the U.S., Cinco de Mayo has become a day where we celebrate our ties with Mexico and the great contributions of the Mexican-American community in the U.S…. In my case, this relationship is very profound. My wife Columba was born in Mexico, my family has always had strong ties with Mexico and I have great respect and affection for our neighboring country.”
I think this is great for a lot of the same reasons I thought Marco Rubio’s “Google Search” video was great. It’s all message, and it shows off a candidate that has a jump start on communicating with new communities that Republicans have never touched.
I took an informal poll of a few of my Latino friends (who would rather not be named or screenshotted), and they all loved this video. They didn’t see this as a pander, or an “old white guy” one-off stunt; there were excited that Bush made this video because they see it as an effort to recognize and respect a prominent American subculture.
I can feel pushback against this video coming—the why do they need to speak Spanish??? argument has already surfaced several times this cycle, much to the frustration of strategists who understand the importance of expanding messaging tactics to include new groups of voters.
Some conservatives are skeptical of Bush’s position on immigration, and that’s allowed. Understandable, even; but this message has nothing to do with immigration, and everything to do with building relationships. People come to this country every day with the goal of achieving the “American dream”; a great, great many of them don’t skip steps, and instead become citizens with jobs and cars and happy families.
This message is not for you. This message is for those people—whether or not they’re learning and still struggling with English, or just looking for a candidate who recognizes and respects the fact that America is a big, beautiful, messy melting pot.
Questions aimed at Bush’s philosophy on immigration are fair game. (Maybe the fairest game this cycle, considering the crisis on the border.) But automatically rejecting efforts to reach out to the Latino voters in a manner that they may understand better right now isn’t just foolish—it endangers the chances of every Republican candidate who chooses to make a run for the White House.
Give multilingual messaging a chance—you may be surprised at just how effective it is at drawing new, diverse, conservative voters to the polling places come election day.DONATE
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