Romney campaign fails to meet Latino student needs

A closer look at Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s latest campaign advertisement — a Spanish-language television ad aimed at Hispanic college students and their families — reveals a half-hearted appeal to this specific voter demographic.

The ad bashes President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party for allegedly failing to deliver on its commitment to improve education. The ad highlights various statistics: 75 percent of the U.S. population believes college lacks accessibility, tuition costs have risen 25 percent since 2008 and total student debt has reached $1 trillion. Though the ad emphasizes real problems young Hispanics and their families face today, it fails to offer any insight of Romney’s plans to alleviate these problems. The ad feels demeaning — does he really think he can simply tell us education is a problem, offer us no plan to resolve it and gain our vote?

Perhaps the reason Romney does not reveal his plans for higher education in his campaign ads is because, in reality, they would not be very well received by Hispanic college students.

In fact, even if Hispanic voters visit Romney’s campaign website, they would still be left wondering what exactly Romney’s plan for higher education promises. The website is extremely vague on the issue of higher education. It only offers unsubstantiated claims, such as, “a flood of federal dollars is driving up tuition and burdening too many young Americans with substantial debt and too few opportunities.”

Though it is troublesome that no facts or studies are cited to support such a claim, the bigger problem is that the Romney campaign fails to provide prospective Hispanic voters with a detailed plan to alleviate these problems. It simply lists the following three general ideas: strengthen and simplify the financial aid system, welcome private sector participation instead of pushing it away and replace burdensome regulation with innovation and competition. The ambiguity of these ideas seems strategic, as the Romney campaign leaves much of Romney’s plan for higher education up to the imagination of prospective voters.

Perhaps the best way for prospective Hispanic voters to gain an understanding of Romney’s education policies is to keep an ear out for what he has said on the campaign trail.

While campaigning in Virginia last June, Romney revealed more of his attitude toward education:

“I want to make sure that we keep America a place of opportunity, where everyone has a fair shot,” he said. “They get as much education as they can afford and with their time they’re able to get.”

For Romney to say that the United States is a place where everyone has a fair shot is lofty and out-of-touch. Is it fair that a Caucasian student from Beverly Hills can easily afford a college education while a Hispanic student from South Los Angeles cannot? No, it’s not. And in a country where only 14.1 percent of Hispanics hold a bachelor’s degree, Romney shouldn’t suggest that students who come from low- and middle-income families shouldn’t pursue higher education simply because their parents’ bank accounts aren’t as large as their more affluent counterparts’.

Additionally, Hispanic college students would likely be displeased with the stance of Paul Ryan, Romney’s running mate, on the matter of higher education.. According to US News & World Report, Paul Ryan’s proposed 2013 budget plan would have, among other things, permanently frozen maximum Pell Grants at $5,500 per year, increased the amount of income families are expected to contribute toward college costs and made students who attend college less than half-time ineligible for Pell Grants.

It is not surprising that the Romney campaign omits Ryan’s proposal in its television ads aimed at Hispanics, considering his plan would pose a threat to the 37 percent of Hispanic college students who receive a federal Pell Grant.

By presenting a campaign ad full of education-related reasons not to re-elect Obama rather than reasons to elect Romney, the Romney campaign effectively undermines Hispanic students. The ad relies on petty attacks aimed at the Obama administration in order to avoid the fact that Romney’s higher education plan does not speak to Hispanic students’ needs.

Hispanic college students and their families should not take Romney’s ad at face value; rather, they should research the candidate’s stance on the issues presented. If they do, they will realize that Mitt Romney’s higher education plan hardly provides a reason to elect him.


Jessica Garcia is a senior majoring in social science and with an emphasis in economics.

6 replies
  1. Steve
    Steve says:

    Que? Mitt “Cyborg” Romney is purely gringo and purely Mormon. As a Mormon, Mitt feels superior to all non-Mormons and even more superior to non-white non-Mormons. He will not win the Hispanic vote, or the student vote, or the female vote. Even the Elders are against him. For good reason. He feels superior to all of those voters, and they know it. To gain an existential understanding of the cult that produced Mitt “Cyborg” Romney, and to get your socks scared off, read The Assassination of Spiro Agnew, available in paperback and e-book on Amazon.

    Its unwilling, part-Mexican Mormon assassin dramatizes the Mormon superiority complex, manifesting it as racism, jingoism and an anti-federal government temperament. It shows the similarities between Islam and Mormonism and reveals the secrets of Mormon mind control, the spiritual powers behind the cult.
    “With a clarity of language and vision unsurpassed in contemporary American prose, Steven Janiszewski’s Assassination of Spiro Agnew takes us into a U.S. mazed with madness and Mormonism and all things Utah, a U.S. that was then and still is. Do we need a novel, even as brilliant as this one, about a young man on a divine mission to assassinate the Vice President because he is too liberal? Yes, now more than ever. Readers, welcome to a masterpiece.”

    Tom Whalen

    Read The Assassination of Spiro Agnew.
    Word has it that David Axelrod enjoyed its post-modern style as much as he relished being abhorred by the Mormon experience.

  2. Benjamin Roberts
    Benjamin Roberts says:

    I’m sorry, but the person who is unclear as to their argument is not Mitt Romney, but the author herself. Can anyone please tell me what exactly are “Hispanic students’ needs”? Is something preventing Hispanics from pursuing a college education? Are their educational needs different from those of other ethnicities? Perhaps it is the author, not Romney, who is undermining Hispanics.

    The only thing the author suggests Hispanics might lack is money… But outside of lotto winnings, jury awards and Vegas luck, money must be earned. We don’t live in a socialist nation where the wealthy is simply spread evenly among the citizens. Generally speaking, people who are energetic and alert in grade school, engaged and driven in high school, and motivated and focussed in college… are the ones who are successful and accomplished in life. Those are the rules and nobody escapes them.

    This truth is particularly evident in President Obama’s own story. Obama (a true African American by virtue of his Kenyan father) grew up in a middle class family of very modest means. He had a single-mom and an absentee father. He could have chosen a path that included drugs, gangs and single parenthood… but Obama knew the importance of education. He defied statistics and is clearly an American success story.

    In criticizing the Romney campaign ad, the author makes the common mistake of suggesting the ultimate burden for ones education and self-improvment is with the government. She essentially suggests that Hispanics ask not what they can do for the country (or themselves)… but that they ask what the country can do for them. Ironically, despite the author’s claims, Romeny did cite 3 distinct areas for change that would improve education for all Americans, not just Hispanics… and to suggest that a brief campaign ad would go into any greater detail not only exemplifies the author’s misunderstanding of the constraints of advertising… but further underscores her belief that Hispanics need or deserve special and specific assistance. No one of any ethnicity escapes the hard work, diligence, and personal sacrifice needed in pursuing a quality education.

  3. Pay to play
    Pay to play says:

    Sorry, a $55k/year college education is not a right, nor should it be. “Fairness” has nothing to do with it.

    Sometimes you have to make the best of what you have, and just get out there and hustle.

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  1. […] Romney campaign fails to meet Latino student needsDaily Trojan OnlinePerhaps the best way for prospective Hispanic voters to gain an understanding of Romney's education policies is to keep an ear out for what he has said on the campaign trail. While campaigning in Virginia last June, Romney revealed more of his attitude …and more » […]

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