LatinaLista — Today’s Gallup poll showing the decline in support among Latinos for President Obama wasn’t a big surprise.
In fact, the poll illustrated that Obama’s popularity has sunk among both Latinos and whites (48 percent and 33 percent respectively). Blacks are continuing to hang in there and support Obama but even though those numbers are high at 84 percent, they’re still tied with the lowest rating registered among Blacks.
There’s no doubt the White House is frustrated with the sinking Hispanic numbers. And they’ve been trying very hard, since the 2012 campaign got underway, to show the Latino community that they care about the issues impacting Latinos.
Otherwise, Latino Summit after Hispanic Summit wouldn’t have been organized over the last few months to bring Latino community leaders to the White House to sit around big tables and take turns telling White House representatives what’s needed to address the education problem, healthcare issues, social justice matters, policy measures, etc., in Latino communities.
Now, the White House is even taking the Hispanic Summit to the people.
Will it work in recapturing that vital Latino support necessary to distance himself from his competitor in the 2012 election?
I don’t think so.
The reason is simple. For the most part, the people who have been invited to these summits are not the same people who energized the Latino community in 2008 to get the vote out.
It’s not to say that these invitees didn’t vote for Obama. The vast majority of them most probably did but most of them didn’t pour their hearts, time and efforts into getting him elected.
That job was done mostly by the youth who were doing it in the name of the DREAM Act. The Obama campaign has failed to re-energize the youth. In turn, the joven no longer talk to their parents, their grandparents, their neighbors or their friends about voting for Obama.
To say most of them are disillusioned with the administration, Washington and the political process would be an understatement.
Obama has to reconnect with Latino youth if he wants to see his numbers go up.
Holding summits, unless concrete policies and changes are implemented in a timely manner, as a result of them, are nothing more than wastes of time and a false show of sincerity.
It’s no longer sufficient for any politician to point towards a list of Latino appointments and think they’ve done their part in appeasing the Latino electorate. Stakes are too high and we’ve come too far to be so easily satisfied. Just by virtue of representation in the country, Latino appointments should be a given for any politician who wants their administration to reflect the true nature of the country.
“Passing the buck” as it were in claiming that Latino policy changes can’t be implemented because of a lack of bipartisan support rings hollow in light of what the President can do on his own, as he showed with instructing Sec. Napolitano to re-prioritize deportation cases.
The Obama administration has made one misstep after another when it comes to the Latino community. Luckily, there’s still time to recoup the 2008 momentum but only if they hold a summit of their own and re-strategize on how to do several things:
1. Reconnect with Latino youth and re-energize them.
2. Start publicizing results/changes stemming from these “Hispanic Summits” and begin implementing them.
3. Learn to talk “to” the Latino community and not “at” them. In other words, don’t say what you think the Latino community wants to hear but rather, what will be done.
And do it!