Bush recipe for wooing Hispanic voters

By JoAnne Allen

Republicans need to think of immigration as an economic issue — not just a border security issue, former Florida governor Jeb Bush wrote in a Washington Post opinion article on Wednesday, laying out a strategy for wooing Hispanic voters.

Bush, whose op-ed comes ahead of next Tuesday’s Florida primary, calls Hispanics “the most powerful swing voters,” predicting they’ll represent the margin of victory in the fifteen states likely to decide the 2012 presidential race.

“Although Democrats hold the edge, Republicans have an opportunity” to regain the momentum, Bush says.

“First, we need to recognize this is not a monochromatic community but rather, a deeply diverse one,” he writes. “The traditional Republican emphasis on the importance of the individual has never been more relevant.”

Moreover, Republicans should highlight the aspirations of Hispanic voters by talking up the American immigrant experience and press for real and broad education reform, Bush argues.

Finally he notes numerous polls show Hispanics agree with Republicans on the need to secure the border, urging Republicans to try a new tact on immigration.

“Republicans should reengage on this issue and re-frame it. Start by recognizing that new Americans strengthen our economy,” Bush writes.

Bush served two terms as governor of Florida and is now the co-chair of the Hispanic Leadership Network Conference.

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