Saturday, November 28, 2015

Can the Latino vote be bought?

Apparently the Koch brothers think so. Here are essential snippets from the story in Greg Sargent's Plum Line (Washington Post).

The Koch brothers are sinking big money into an expanding effort to win over Latino voters in the 2016 cycle with a simple message: Don’t go with the party that will make you reliant on government. Vote Republican instead.

Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. But it’s intended to make a broader point that I hope to illustrate below.

Ashley Parker of the New York Times reports that the conservative billionaire Kochs are helping to bankroll a multi-million-dollar effort to reach out to Latino voters, called the Libre Initiative, that is meant to fill a vacuum left by the Republican Party, which the group thinks has failed miserably in this outreach mission. The Times sums up the group’s message this way: "economic freedom and smaller-government principles will yield opportunity and prosperity."

The Koch's project abandons "trickle down" economics by doubling down and going for an economic rain storm. But ...

... support for immigration reform might not be enough to win over Latinos, who could be alienated by the group’s — and the GOP’s — position on the Affordable Care Act and other issues ...

The trouble with all this is that Latinos tend to support the overall Democratic governing vision — and not the Republican one — when it comes to economic issues and health care, too.

Sargent reports the data on that. Polling data show that most Hispanics line up with Dems on economic policy and most Hispanics favor President Obama and the Democratic party.

If the Koch-funded group’s core message is that Democratic economic and health care policies produce an over-reliance on government — whereas scaling back government and unleashing the power of free enterprise are the only true solutions to maximizing opportunity and self-realization for Latinos — it would not be surprising if many of them end up rejecting its fundamental animating principles this time around, too.

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