Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX

Local News

January 23, 2013

Republicans urged to reach out through mentoring

Website founder says Hispanics want to jump Dem ship


Hispanics want to jump ship from the Democratic to the Republican Party, GOPisForMe Director and Founder Duke Machado told attendees at Tuesday’s Johnson County Republican Women’s Club luncheon. But they don’t want to jump from the frying pan into the fire, he said.

“[The Republican Party] has to create an environment through real and tangible things,” Machado said. “Until then we’re just a bunch of hot air talking about outreach.”

Hispanics, Machado said, are generally more aligned toward the Republican and conservative viewpoint.

“Think about it,” Machado said. “Hispanics overwhelmingly believe in God. Sixty-four percent are Catholic, which makes the majority of us a perfect match for the Republican Party. The reason so many remain in the Democratic Party is that they don’t yet feel comfortable in the Republican Party in part because of historical and media perceptions through the years. But it’s time to change that narrative and break the mold.”

Successful outreach to the Hispanic community faces multiple challenges, however, from within and without the Republican Party, Machado said.

While some Republicans realize the urgency of outreach efforts, others remain resistant, he said, something that is not a problem for Democrats.

“We’re under assault by the Democrats, who want to take over in Texas and are willing to fight and get dirty,” Machado said. “Which is the Republican’s Achilles’ heel because we’re Christian and conservative and tend to turn the other cheek.”

Republicans also approach the opportunity and challenges of outreach incorrectly at times.

“We tend to put the cart before the horse in most cases,” Machado said. “First we have to work on getting to know people and earning their trust, then we can bring the message. Because now, if you go into a Hispanic or black neighborhood and ask for their vote, well, they don’t know you because Republicans have never been in those neighborhoods so anything you say is going to go in one ear and out the other because of how they perceive Republicans because of media and other perceptions. So we need to outreach successfully, get to know the communities first and let them know Republicans aren’t evil.”

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