Leadership in America today has never more been more needed to share the message of what opportunities the Republican Party can bring to so many citizens. We have to be champions that lead and touch the lives of families in order for the next generation to be successful.
Our party is at an inflection point where the reality is we need communicators that can talk and walk conservatism in a way citizens understand what our cores values represent, the American Dream. Now is the time that the Republican Party must double down on its efforts to recruit and run Latino candidates in every level of government across the United States to touch the lives of all Americans.
A recent Pew report suggests that 32 million Latinos are projected to be eligible to vote in 2020, up from 27.3 million in 2016. In 2020, Hispanics will be the largest racial and ethnic minority group in the electorate, accounting for just over 13% of eligible voters.
Pew’s research suggests that the number of Latinos who are immigrants is actually on the decline. From 2007 to 2017, the number of Latino immigrants increased slightly, from 18 million to 19.7 million. But they made up a smaller overall share of the Latino population — decreasing from 40% to 33% during this time, as the population of U.S.-born Latinos increased, and the arrival of new immigrants slowed.
Consider this: political analyst David Bernstein wrote in Politico that if Trump improves his 2016 numbers among Hispanics by 12 points, it makes winning Florida, Arizona, Georgia, and North Carolina nearly impossible for Democrats. As a result, they would have to win Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin to win the Electoral College.
Georgia’s Governor, Brian Kemp, will soon appoint a replacement for retiring Senator Johnny Isakson. This is the perfect opportunity to appoint a Latino Senator with strong conservative values that can appeal to not just Latinos, but to all citizens in every single community.
However, Governor Kemp shouldn’t just pick a Latino because it is good for electoral math. Governor Kemp should pick a Latino leader for the United States Senate because we understand the dangerous consequences of the socialist policies pushed by Democrats like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Latinos fled countries like Cuba and Venezuela for the freedom and opportunity our country provides, and no one better understands why this America is worth protecting.
Today, roughly 1 in 7 businesses are run by a Hispanic-American entrepreneur. Many risk everything to find success in our America. Through hard work and the grace of God we know what it’s like to make payroll and how government regulations can stifle growth.
Governor Kemp’s selection of a United States Senator touches on one key conservative value of family and faith as a core foundation. Many that have come to the United States have sought religious freedom to live and spread Christianity, while wanting to protect the sanctity of life. As Rev. Samuel Rodriguez noted, many Latinos have come from “totalitarian nations where regimes muzzled the voice of conscience.” So, when asked to confirm the Supreme Court Justice a Latino Senator will understand better than most what is at risk if America loses her religious compass.
Governor Kemp has an unenviable decision to make, one that could determine control over the United States Senate. For us, the choice is clear, with the opportunity of a Latino, Governor Kemp can spread a conservative message to more conservative voters and Georgians can be confident that their Senator not only believes in the ideals of the Republican Party but has lived those values firsthand.
Luis Fortuño is the former governor of Puerto Rico. A Republican, he represented Puerto Rico from 2005 to 2009 in the U.S. House of Representatives and served as chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Conference.