A video secretly taped as Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney spoke with wealthy donors in May continues to make waves. Not only was Romney recorded telling a group of fundraisers that nearly half of Barack Obama's supporters are "dependent upon government" and "believe that they are victims," he also made pointed remarks about Latinos and Palestinians.
"If the Hispanic voting bloc becomes as committed to the Democrats as the African-American voting bloc has in the past, why, we're in trouble as a party and, I think, as a nation," he said.
But Romney seems misinformed about why Democrats appeal to Latinos more than Republicans do. He suggested that he'd get more support from Latinos if his late father, George--who grew up on a Mormon colony in Mexico--had actually been born to Mexican parents. But having Mexican lineage, or lack thereof, entirely misses the point. Romney hasn't supported the DREAM Act, legislation that would put law-abiding undocumented youth brought to the U.S. as children on the path to citizenship if they enrolled in college or in the military. The former Massachusetts governor's plans for immigration reform also remain unclear. Given this and Romney's belief that it "isn't [his] job to worry" about people dependent on government services has likely further alienated Romney from Latinos and other voters of color.
Latinos reportedly lost more wealth than any other racial group did during the economic recession. With the exception of African Americans, they have the highest unemployment rate of any major U.S. racial group. I imagine that they're seeking a president who doesn't write them off as having a victim mentality or believe that because they receive unemployment benefits or desire healthcare, they refuse to "take personal responsibility and care for their lives," as Romney said on video. The fact is, Latinos aren't going to vote against their best interests, whether Romney is Mexican or white. This is precisely why tea party favorite Herman Cain never seriously posed a threat to Barack Obama before dropping out of the presidential race. Cain, while black, had political views that didn't resonate with the African-American community overall. To suggest that voting in the United States comes down to tribal politics is an insult to voters of color.
Romney also took a dig at Palestinians while secretly recorded. He said Palestinians have "no interest whatsoever in establishing peace" with Israel. But many Palestinians would argue that they're defending their ties to their homeland and characterizing them as anti-peace overlooks the ways they feel Israelis have trampled on their rights. If Romney does win the presidential election, he will enter office with Palestinians viewing him as an antagonist.