Today, the L.A. Daily News highlights a new radio ad push by former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan to help Latino voters better connect with the Republican Party.
Riordan, who served as Mayor of Los Angeles from 1993-2001, earned as much as 60% of the Latino vote throughout his tenure as mayor of the nation’s second largest city.
Despite an unsuccessful gubernatorial run in 2002, Riordan continues to remain a pillar within the Republican Party — and he understands the need to include in this all-important demographic into our party.
As do I.
Although the ad will not be airing in the San Diego market, it’s receiving significant airplay in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and much of the Central Valley.
“As a Republican, I believe government should bring jobs, keep us safe and educate our children,” Riordan says in the ad.
After reading the article, I felt the need to jot down a few personal thoughts on this topic.
As much as it pains me to see statewide GOP registration decline to record-low levels, I feel if our party swiftly — and correctly — engages Latino voters throughout the state, we can find both electoral and political success by continuing to diversify our base of voters and volunteers.
However, it won’t be easy.
The stark, political reality of that means that this is a conversation we’ve needed to have since the mid-1990s — much like making amends with an estranged family relative because of decades-long misunderstandings, and heated rhetoric.
I applaud Riordan’s efforts and the efforts of our California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccarro, although, I feel much more needs to be done.
For years, we’ve needed to introduce a heartfelt, honest conversation with Latinos (as well as other minorities), and exhort sincere regret on our misguided legislative failures over the years that have been construed to make us seem anti-immigrant, or anti-(insert ethnicity here).
Although some Republicans may find this route silly, ineffective, and kowtowing, I would have to respectfully disagree — as I feel it’s a much-needed adult admonition of rhetoric that has caused us to free-fall to less than 1/3 of registration statewide.
While Democrats have historically taken advantage of minority and ethnic groups with impunity for the sake of votes, our advantage in taking a beat and moving the conversation forward would be the perception of building a party based on adult, rational decisions and conversations, rather than reactionary rhetoric and childish policy.
Perception, my friends, is key.
We cannot continue to move this party forward towards success, or build our ever-shrinking base of support, unless we work to change the long-held perceptions of our party.
That starts with making the call, introducing the conversation, and listening to those we haven’t listened to for so long.
I’m ever confident we can make the right choice, we just have to start by picking up the phone.