07/20/2012 05:55 pm ET | Updated Sep 19, 2012

Why GOP Must Suppress (Latino) Votes

If GOP leadership is operating from the belief that Latinos are walking around with one hand over our ears and the other over our eyes, then they are sorely mistaken. I suspect that if they haven't already begun to feel the political sting, then November 7th will be a very painful day to wake up to.

Let's face facts, folks. While some number runners have been twisting themselves in knots trying to find a convincing argument regarding the possibility of Latinos not voting, Republicans are going to get clobbered by Latino voters, who I suspect will come out in record numbers to support the President.


Oh so many reasons... but let me focus on just one.

The GOP has made it part of their central strategy to defeat Democrats, not by convincing voters that their policies are better--indeed, they've rarely bothered to put forth policy proposals, leading many to suspect that they simply don't have any. Rather, Republicans seek to win 2012 elections by creating as many barriers as they can to stop Latinos and "others" from voting at all.

It is not coincidence that pressure from this all or nothing voter suppression strategy has been felt by folks in battleground states like Florida and Ohio--two states that Romney must win if he has any chance at nabbing the top job.

Why not just say what every political poll indicates? When it comes to Latinos, Republicans are desperate!

So, in Florida the GOP is trying--even as I type this--to simply erase as many Latinos from the voter registration rolls as possible. Since the Florida Republican Primary, somebody must have briefed GOP strategists on the fact that more than Republican dominant Cubans live in the Sunshine State.

And back here in the Buckeye State, the trickery has been rampant. Last year, Ohio's GOP leadership rammed legislation (HB 194) through the State House to reduce early voting, shut down precincts, and generally make it as difficult as possible for young people, Latinos, African Americans, students, folks with less resources and the elderly to do one thing: Vote. I, with former Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner and other colleagues, put our names down as the committee to represent petitioners for a ballot initiative against that incredibly ill concieved bill.

Due to the pressure created by that initiative, the GOP backed down earlier this year and even went so far as to repeal this law--which marks the first time I've ever witnessed a party repeal one of its own signature pieces of legislation! Apparently, after the massive 2011 defeat suffered by Ohio Republicans over workers rights (SB5), their confidence was rocked moving toward November.

But that hasn't stopped Republicans in other back alley avenues. The GOP has still refused to let Ohioans vote early during the last three days leading up to November 6th--a privilege Ohioans once had, but Republicans have stripped away from us. Ohio State Senator Nina Turner commented, "Jim Crow has packed his bags and is moving north!"

And who has stepped in to wrench those voting days from the vice grip of Ohio's GOP leadership and give them back to everyday Ohio voters?

You bet: the President.

On July 17th, Team OFA filed a lawsuit here in Ohio to force the state to give the right to vote back to the voters, and to once again allow everyday folks with everyday schedules the ability to get to the polls in ways that are best for them.

If that's not an attempt to give power back to the people, I'm not sure what is.

My earlier claim that Latinos will come out in record numbers to support the President is evidenced by the latest Latino Decisions poll, which illustrates that the President has finally hit the watershed mark of 70% support by likely Latino voters. In large part this is because the President's substantive policies--from health care to the economy--are in lockstep with Latino values and bread-n-butter priorities.

But let's give credit where it's due! The GOP has also helped the President reach this point because both Republican rhetoric (labeling Latinos as "illegals") and policies (everything from SB1070 and voter suppression bills to no jobs bill what-so-ever) have been negatively directed toward and/or negatively felt most by Latinos.

So when November hits, obviously a small handful of Latinos will vote for Republicans. But overwhelmingly, GOP candidates--including Mitt Romney--ought to now be preparing for a thumping from this nation's engaged, energized, and ears and eyes-wide-open Latino voters. The only way to escape this fate is to undermine our ability to get to the polls.

But good luck with that! Thanks to many hard working folks on the right side of history, I have a hunch that much like other GOP strategies, this one, too, will end utter failure.