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Signs on the horizon signal Latino Republicans may be the ones to save the GOP

LatinaLista — By now, everyone knows that the GOP leadership so turned off most Latinos that the overwhelming support lavished on Obama by Latino voters in last month’s election was a direct consequence of the anti-immigrant, anti-poor, anti-gay, anti-DREAMer, anti-fill-in-the-blank rhetoric that dominated the primary and fed into the presidential campaign.

NM Gov. Susana Martinez and NV Gov. Brian Sandoval are two Republican politicians blazing the trail for a change in how the GOP practices politics.

It’s not surprising that a new post-election poll validates what many are reading in news headlines these days — Latinos don’t like Republicans.

Hispanic voters say the Republican Party does not respect the values and concerns of the Hispanic community by 51 to 44 percent in Florida, 54 to 40 percent in New Mexico, 59 to 35 percent in Nevada, and 63 to 30 percent in Colorado

Before Democrats revel in this political shift among the Latino voters, it has to be understood that despite the headlines, and even the polls, it’s not so much the party itself that most Latinos don’t like – it’s the elitist intolerance the party has embraced as a cornerstone of how they establish party agenda, view the nation and pass judgement on the people.

It’s one thing to have conservative values but it’s another to arrogantly impose those values on others. When those values are so narrow as to be intolerant of people who don’t share the same socio-economic class or have access to the same opportunities then it stands to reason that the disenfranchised feel even more so by a party too blinded by its own ego.

What makes things worse for the Latino community is when Latino politicians, like Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, remember only their heritage but forget the roots of their parents, their own childhoods, the lives of other family members and friends for whom life was, and in many cases, remain a financial and social challenge. In their eagerness to be embraced by mainstream politics, they claim to be just like those they emulate, or whose base they know can get them elected — in the first round. They forget any kind of empathy for Tio Juan or la señora next door or remember how to feel solidarity with the Latino community-at-large.

Unfortunately, it’s their brand of indifferent politics that has made the GOP such a dirty word among Latino voters — but there’s hope on the horizon for the party and it just might still be Latino Republicans who will save it.

New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez was among the first in her party to denounce Romney’s campaign rhetoric, the GOP’s handling of Hispanic outreach and the immigration issue. She didn’t have to compromise her conservative values to do what was right.

Nevada Governor, Brian Sandoval, is another Latino Republican who understands that doing what is right always trumps politics. Sandoval is currently under fire by his own party across the nation because he dared to do something that infuriates the current crop of Republican politicians in Washington — he extended Medicaid benefits to 78,000 Nevadans.

On Tuesday, Sandoval became the first Republican governor in the country to agree to expand state Medicaid coverage through the Affordable Care Act, a signature first-term achievement of President Barack Obama that Republicans nationally fought tooth-and-nail.

In Las Vegas on Wednesday, Sandoval said that while he opposed the legislation, and Obama’s re-election last month, Obamacare is now the law of the land, and expanding Medicaid with substantial federal subsidies is the smart move for the state.

“I am the governor of Nevada. I am going to do what is best for Nevada,” Sandoval said during a Review-Journal editorial board meeting. “Any political consequences never entered into the calculation.”

Sandoval’s decision actually won praise from a fellow Nevada Republican politician :

State Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson, R-Las Vegas, also lauded the move.

“Ensuring that poor Nevadans have access to primary health care through Medicaid is very simply the right thing to do,” Roberson said. “It will reduce our rate of uninsured and provide individuals with greater economic security.”

It’s decisions like these that will save the GOP from becoming irrelevant but more importantly it’s politicians like Martinez and Sandoval who will bring compassion back to a party that has lost its way.

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