Analysis: How Bill O'Reilly Gets it Wrong

If you've grown up with Hispanic parents, these numbers might not surprise you. It's also worth pointing out that any group, including Latinos, can believe in self reliance and also believe in government programs. Latinos actually fall left of white Americans when it comes to questions regarding the size and role of government. This is why Segura argues that individualism and belief in a larger government are not mutually exclusive.

"The belief in an energetic government aggressively addressing social problems is not the same as dependence or a "welfare mentality," Segura wrote last year. "Belief in an effective government and belief in self-reliance and individual effort can go together quite nicely."

Another piece of data worth noting is that Latinos tend to be poorer than non-Latinos, but they also tend to be more hopeful for future economic success than other ethnicities. The Latino community is incredibly optimistic that opportunities in the United States, hard work, and a good education will allow their children to climb the socioeconomic ladder, according to recent studies by Pew.

It's true that Latinos are more likely to be beneficiaries and supporters of health care, college-tuition assistance, and other government aid programs. The same can be said, however, for poor Republicans in general, 80 percent of whom believe that the government should do more to help the needy and support programs that offer security to the poor, according to a 2005 Pew study. Like Latinos, poor Republicans are marked by an optimistic individualism and a strong-held belief in self reliance.

So if the Republican Party wants to win more Hispanic voters (which they desperately need in order to gain national majorities), it's critical to focus on the realities of the Latino community, like how much they value their work ethic. Attacks like O'Reilly's don't serve a purpose – and given how things played out for the GOP last week – they don't serve the Party's cause either.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...