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The presidential campaigns are having a hard time learning Spanish.

By Simón Gómez Oct 2, 2012 12:09PM

Much has been written, spoken, and spun about the deciding role of the Latino voter in the upcoming general election. The candidates have gone to Latino forums, uttered a word or two in Spanish when in front of a Latino, had their pundits squawk incessantly about the importance of the Latino voter and why they think we should vote for one candidate or the other on cable news shows. But guess what? No one is saying much in Spanish. Sólo un poquito.

A recent study by The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, quoted by the Los Angeles Times, reveals how little resources each campaign has devoted to political advertisement in Spanish. The actual numbers are staggering. Even though Latino voters account for 16 percent of the general voting population, they only account for four percent of the Romney campaign’s advertising budget and 10 percent of President Obama’s. It seems like the former has given up on us and the latter is taking us for granted. If you ask me this doesn’t paint a pretty picture for what the next four years will be like for the Latino community.

I know that you know that a great amount of Latin voters are perfectly bilingual, after all you are not reading this in Spanish, but targeting our community in our original language seems like a no brainer. It feels like the proper thing to do. A much more compelling and effective case can be made and a closer connection achieved if only the campaign made a concerted effort to speak to us in our own language. Big corporations like Procter & Gamble are today experimenting, most effectively I must ad, with bilingual messages to promote their goods and services. Campaigns failing to devote the proper resources to target us in our native tongue seems almost like a case of political malpractice.

In any case, and whichever the language, the pandering goes as strong as ever. Don’t believe me? Just check out Romney promising visas to the dreamers when just a few month ago he was promising to veto the dream act. Maybe in the end, that’s what everything boils down to anyhow.

Oct 3, 2012 2:06AM
Why not many ads in Spanish?  Perhaps because it's a race for the President of the United States.  My roots are from Pakistan.  Should I complain that there aren't ads in my native language?  No, because I don't carry around an inferiority complex or some grudge against Anglo Americans.
Oct 3, 2012 9:55PM
Could it be because America (North America) has English as its dominant language???? Why won't you learn English if you desire to live in the U.S.?? Maybe then you will understand what our "American" candidates for President are saying!!!
Oct 5, 2012 1:42PM
why should we have things like this said i dont speak spanish just english but under the way things are today is not to disrespect the hispanic people but we have some who are my age 80 who still dont speak english and i say that is their fault  back at the turn of the 18 and 19 century germans italians came here and had to learn english  and first of all become americans of the usa now if all people of this country did not learn english we would be in one hell of a fix  donot be offended by the lack of spanish we donot mean to be disrespectful but some is all so the fault of the hispanic people not learning english we are all citizens in this country
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About the author
  • SimónSimón Gómez

    Political junkie, loud mouth extraordinaire, and a born gear head, Simón found himself in Miami after 11 years of practicing law in Caracas and being a good ole boy. While always attuned to American culture, his heart is firmly rooted in the Latino community. Simón wrote for three years the car pages of Maxim en Español and has been freelancing for MSN Latino since 2011. Simón divides his time between his two dogs, his production work, and his writing.