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October 13, 2013

CEPEDA: Fed up with overpromises

(Continued)

Jose Herrera, a Chicago-based organizer with the MDC, told me that people he talks to in the community are sick of being lied to by Democrats and their empty promises on immigration — a concern I’ve heard from other immigrant advocacy organizations across the country. He says that small activist groups have a “newly cautious and critical perspective on who our allies are and [our allegiances] will rest with those who will be willing to tell the truth.”

Republicans may not be as warm and fuzzy as Democrats, but at least they aren’t cynically using an issue dear to Hispanics’ hearts as a battering ram to undermine their political opponents.

President Obama keeps blaming the big bad Republicans for not bringing about immigration reform. But as the symbolic 2 millionth unauthorized immigrant is deported by the Obama administration, you have to wonder whether the party that keeps overpromising and under-delivering on its No. 1 campaign pledge to Latinos is really any better than a party that is as honest about their stance on immigration as they are about their desire to court Hispanics who will actually vote.

Tally those Hispanic voters who will think twice about casting ballots for Democrats should immigration reform fail and add them to the 15 percent of Hispanic Values survey respondents who said they identify as Republican and the 24 percent who consider themselves politically independent. It starts looking like there’s still fertile Hispanic ground for Republicans.

Democrats need to stop their premature dance on the GOP’s grave.

On the very day that the Democratic National Committee sent out a gleeful e-blast about the supposedly “stalled” state of Republican outreach to Latinos — “Majorities of Hispanics side with Democrats on issues like government spending and healthcare, which are ranked as their most important political concerns” — the Republican National Committee was announcing Hispanic field and state directors in California, Florida, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia.

The RNC ought to think about putting a Hispanic outreach director in President Obama’s backyard — I think he or she might find many willing listeners.

Esther J. Cepeda is a columnist for the Washington Post Writers Group. She can be reached at estherjcepeda@washpost.com.

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