Mitt Romney’s Disconnect with Independents and Latinos

by Cesar Vargas | March 13, 2012

Romney in NH, giving a speech for his Romnamaniacs


Although one of Mitt Romney’s selling points seems to be his inevitability for the Republican Party, he still has some very serious problems courting certain demographics of voters.  Two which stand out are independents who are distrustful of corporations and wealth, and Latinos.

Mitt Romney has claimed to be all about job creation, but a closer look at his “vulture capitalism” days reveal him to be closer to his Wall Street buddies than we would like our government to be.  When Romney was working at Bain Capitol, he was just like every other corporate guy: trying to make a buck, wherever it took him.  It should come to us as no surprise when he hacked up companies and sold them off, “downsizing” employees, knowing that the bits would die a death similar to the worthless default swaps which destroyed the economy recently.  This was all very, very profitable, and makes the sort of money in a single day that most of us will toil our entire lives and never earn.

The picture of ‘RomneyCorp’ is painted more thoroughly when you take into account how he railed against the GM bailout, writing “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,” while touting a bailout of the banking industry.  Today, the banking industry is still sucking the life out of our economy at the government ATM window that the Fed has become, but GM is now back on top, providing a great tax base that seemed to be a well on the verge of drying up if left to its own devices.

There’s an additional dimension of Romney’s wealth this cycle which has Independent as well as even hardcore, primary-voting Republicans on edge: he is supported by the most SuperPac money of any candidate.  Rick Santorum’s biggest selling point may very well be that Romney can barely beat him, even when he’s outspending him 10-1.  With Romney running as the rich guy who can’t possibly stop sounding rich for 5 minutes, talking about his friends who own NASCAR teams that get Danica Patrick to serve them champaign and blow wearing Leia’s metal bikini from Jabba the Hut’s pleasure palace, it’s as though the entire Republican party has forgotten that Occupy Wallstreet happened at all.

Mitt Romney has also promised a veto of the DREAM Act, a very modest immigration reform.  This has brought him a lot of criticism, and he’s made it worse by accepting endorsements from Kris Kobach, who wrote SB 1070 (Arizona’s notorious racial profiling law).  He’s also publicly embraced Jan Brewer, who signed SB 1070 into law, claiming “I have no idea what an illegal immigrant looks like,” and Sheriff Joe Arpaio.  Arpaio was his Arizona campaign chair in 2008, and has been called “the face of racism in America” by Jorge Ramos, Univision’s top reporter.  Arpaio is currently under Federal investigation, and rounding up his “cold case posse” to resurrect the Birther’s movement to question Obama’s birth certificate.  To back up from his unpopular position on the DREAM Act and associations, he’s put his weight behind the STARS Act and the ARMS Act.

The Studying Towards Adjusted Residency Status Act, or S.T.A.R.S. Act, sounds like a good idea at first: it gives legal status to students.  The problem is that it is far from the more comprehensive DREAM Act that many Latino and Immigrants’ Right’s organizations are pushing for.  This is because it is much less of a solution for the Latino communities which are affected: it lowers the age of those who qualify to 18, cutting out college students and young professionals who are largely in the same situation, but are even more connected to the community.  Guys like Marco Rubio (R FL), have pushed this as a Republican alternative to the DREAM Act, which is to say one which doesn’t actually help Latinos.

The Adjusted Residency for Military Service Act, or ARMS Act, similarly, is another bill which offers very limited relief.  The conditional non-immigrant residency status which is being offered through the bill are the absolute smallest crumbs that could possibly be tossed to a soldier. It’s insulting that they sell it as an adequate reward for putting oneself in line to sacrifice so much for their nation.  In addition, very few people would qualify, and it has provisions which could drop a veteran and enable him to be deported if he ever has a few really unlucky days in a row and becomes a public burden.

These bills are both just tiny fractions of the more comprehensive DREAM Act, which would spread relief out amongst college students and young professionals.  The American public in general is supportive of the DREAM Act, and a recent Univision pole, one which was put about the same time as the “Yo Decido” cover of TIME, puts Latino support at over 90%.  These bills are an effort to tap into that, but are both such shallow pandering attempts that it’s insulting.

In the end, Romney screaming to have an undocumented immigrant cutting his lawn fired “for Pete’s sake” because he was running for public office is the perfect snapshot for Mitt Romney: He’s Mr. 1%, the rich guy who is completely disconnected from the suffering of the masses, conveniently throwing workers and immigrants under the bus when he must in order to get ahead.