President Barack Obama’s newest campaign ad is titled “Buen Ejemplo” meaning, “good example” and features him speaking completely in Spanish. The ad includes scenes of undocumented immigrants who Obama addresses as “DREAMers” who inspire him: “In the young people known as DREAMers, I see the same qualities Michelle and I try to instill in our daughters. They respect their parents, they study for a better life, and they want to give back to the only country they know and love.”
The election looks like it is going to be close, so the ad has been airing in battleground states, such as Colorado, Florida, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia since it premiered on October 9th. Both Romney and Obama have been visiting these states frequently in an effort to swing the vote. 12 million Latinos are expected to turn out to vote on November 6th, so Romney and Obama have been focusing on Latino voters in their campaigns.
This ad, along with Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy are directed toward Latino voters. Romney has stated that he would end this policy as soon as he assumes office. Romney also released a new ad on the same day which states, “The Hispanic community has worked hard to achieve the American Dream, but the President’s policies are hurting the growth of small businesses.” His ad praises the enterpreneurial spirit of Latinos and claims that small businesses will experience more growth with Romney as president.
Romney has used Spanish in his campaigns, but it is usually his son or a narrator, not himself (the candidate), like Obama. Is using Spanish in a campaign enough to swing voters?
I don’t think using Spanish in their campaigns is enough to encourage Latino voters to vote for either Romney or Obama. In my opinion, having ads in Spanish gives each candidate a boost and it is also a way for both candidates to capture the attention of the Latino voters. Yet it is not enough because many Latino voters want to hear what both candidates will do for the Latino communities and for the undocumented immigrants that reside in this nation. In the first presidential debate none of the candidates addressed the topic of immigration and many Latinos were very upset and disappointed by this. The candidates need to do more to win the the votes of Latinos because producing ads in Spanish doesn’t cut it. Latinos have so much at stake during this election and want to choose the candidate that will best represent the Latino community. Language is not everything and I think the candidates should try a bit harder to convince Latino voters to vote for them.
This kinda reminds me of the Spanish Star Spangled Banner controversy. I think this whole Spanish campaign thing really shows how, even though we want to preserve our national identity through the English language, we cannot neglect the reality that so many voters are people who would, for example, be drawn to a Spanish commercial. I think this is a way of showing how a democracy works, if you want to win, you have to appeal to everyone, not just the rich, not just the white, not just the English speakers, but to the minorities too. A democracy should be progressive like this. Unfortunately, what’s keeping the US behind is the unfair political influence of the millionaires and billionaires and their super pacs. When you see a campaign commercial in Spanish, it’s comforting, because it shows that we have not completely lost our political system to money…the minority vote still counts.
Language is a vital tool of communication. If the candidates are creating ads in Spanish; they are making an effort to communicate with voters in a more effective way. Besides the fact that voters will see their candidate as someone who tries to be closer to a specific population; if a voter does not fully understand the message a candidate is giving, they cannot effectively decide their vote. By understanding the words of the candidate, voters are also listening to their ideologies. Even though the Latino voters want to hear their candidates’ proposals for Latinos in the country, language might interfere with their understanding of the same. Of course, creating ads in a specific language is a way to gather votes; these mechanisms are not harming anyone. I’m glad of the President’s effort.
I think speaking Spanish could be a great way of reaching out to the Latino community, however I think that in the end their political stances matter much more than the language they are speaking. However, for those voters who understand Spanish better, speaking in Spanish could be a good way to make their stances clear, and prevent any misunderstandings among voters. This gesture shows that the candidates care about the Latino community and value their vote.