The latest flap over Missouri GOP senatorial candidate, Todd Akin, and his atrocious comments about “legitimate” rape received much coverage north of the border. This, along with the rise of the Tea Party in 2010, has led many Canadians to wonder about the state of the Republican Party today.
It was not always that way. The presidency of Dwight Eisenhower in the 1950s saw much cooperation and few differences between the governments of both countries. The Reagan years also marked important areas of cooperation such as in acid rain and free trade. Over the years, many in Canada recognized the Republicans as friendlier on economic issues despite clear contrasts on social and cultural issues.
Yet, since the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Canadians have shown more interest in candidates of the Democratic Party. This can be attributed partly to a question of similar views on the role of government and social issues, as well as the tone of the rhetoric. The 2008 election and the selection of Barack Obama reinforced this sentiment. Most Canadians would still prefer President Obama win in November.
With a close election in the offing between President Obama and Mitt Romney, Canadians will have to come to grips with the reality that the Republican ticket of Romney–Ryan could win. Considering we have a Conservative government in our nation’s capital, one can actually expect that relations could be warm and productive. Would a GOP in November be good news to Canada? How will Canadians react? Before answering, let us see how Canadians see the GOP.
Following victories in the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney is increasingly seeking to broaden his appeal with Spanish-language voters. Yesterday he launched “Nosotros,” a Spanish-language ad narrated by his son Craig that prominently features the endorsement of three Cuban-born Floridian lawmakers.
The 31-second ad, which includes shots of the Miami skyline and Romney’s November visit to a Conchita Foods grocery store, signals the Romney campaign’s efforts to specifically target voters in Florida’s Miami-Dade County, where 72 percent of registered Republicans are Latino, and most are of Cuban descent. Before airing “Nosotros,” Romney had skipped the Miami-Fort Lauderdale market in his $850,000 purchase of English-language broadcast ads made last week, pointing to his intention to focus particularly on Cuban-American voters with this ad. In addition, “Nosotros” features three prominent Cuban-born Floridian lawmakers—Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Representative Mario Díaz-Balart and his brother, former Congressman Lincoln Díaz-Balart—who tout Romney’s ability to restore America to greatness, create jobs and restore national security.
Romney and other Republican candidates face a challenge of appealing to Latino voters while portraying themselves as “true conservatives”—which may mean taking an enforcement-only approach to one issue on many Latinos’ minds: undocumented immigration. Recognizing the importance of the Latino vote in Florida and across the country (about 21 million of the 50.5 million Latinos in the U.S. are eligible to vote), Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus announced on Wednesday that the RNC would be undertaking a major effort to engage Latino voters, including digital outreach, voter identification and traditional get-out-the-vote campaigns.
Florida’s primaries will take place on January 31, with early voting beginning 10 days earlier. It will be the nation’s first big-state presidential primary, and Florida is likely to play a key role in the outcome of the presidential election in November. Quinnipiac polls released this week show Romney having a double-digit lead among likely Florida Republican voters; Obama is tied with either Romney or Rick Santorum in a hypothetical general election match-up.