In an exclusive interview with LPO, the National Chairwoman of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly (RNHA), Betty Cardenas, discussed the GOP's outreach strategy for engaging the Latino community and why Republicans will win the midterm elections next year.
Founded in 1967, the RNHA is the only Hispanic organization established by the Republican National Committee (RNC). It seeks to promote Hispanic-American issues and interests within the Republican Party, and the Party's interests and candidates within the Hispanic-American population.
The Chairwoman was part of the board of President Donald Trump's Latinos For Trump campaign. Her inclusion contributed tremendously to the increase of Hispanic participation and the overall results.
She is known for her conservative values and is an active advocate for the Second Amendment. A proud daughter of immigrant parents, her goal is to boost the Hispanic Republican vote nationwide.
How important is the Latino vote in the United States today?
It is amazing to see the importance of the Hispanic presence in America and how we are growing. We account for 62.1 million of the population in America, which is a huge number to ignore. We can't continue to be ignored. In 2020, 32 million Hispanics were eligible to vote, so the Latino vote I can say is going to play a key role to make it or break it in the next elections.
What is the RNHA's outreach strategy with the Latino community?
In 2018, I became the Chairwoman of the RNHA and we changed the strategy of our outreach. For years, the strategy was focused more on the party line, party policies, basically the platform of the party. We stopped focusing on that. We started to build a one-on-one relationship with the community. Our board, our state chairs, and all our members, there is not one message that we use to get across. Everybody focuses on their communities, their area, their state.
We try to build on that relationship by keeping them informed on important issues that are going to happen in their area that affect the Latino community. The RNHA is the bridge from the community to the politicians.
Our goal is for politicians to have the community in their minds and hearts when drafting policies. We want them to remember the concerns of the Hispanic community. We are there to deliver the message of what is occurring at every community, state, and area on its own.
What are the main issues for the Latino community?
Every state is different, Texas is different from Georgia. For the Latino community in Georgia, for example, they are concerned about safety, security and making sure the police scene is going well. But in general, one of the top issues for Latinos is the economy, they care about keeping the economy going, they care about the education, and of course, family values. Those are very hard topics within the Hispanic community.
Do you agree with Republican Governor Abbot and Desantis' ban on masks?
I absolutely agree with them. I agree with the governors. I believe in individual responsibility and not mandatory action. What these states are doing is protecting the economy.
They want the economy to keep on growing. They want the small businesses to continue and they also know that vaccines are optional, they don't make it a mandatory action. That's when it becomes more of a dictatorship type of governance. These governors know what's best in their areas, I totally agree with them.
Staying on this topic, do you think the GOP will win the governorships in Texas and Florida?
Yes. I believe we will. I believe it's mostly Latino population in these two states. And because it is, I believe we will keep Republican governors in office.
What is the best way for Latinos to ensure they are fairly represented with redistricting efforts and that their voting power is not diluted?
As far as I know, the redistricting process is based on the legislators and the state governor. It's really based on them, so getting involved with your local legislator, would help a lot.
In reality I don't know how this can affect the voters. Voting power comes from our citizenship rights.
Predominantly Republican lawmakers are passing laws in several states to restrict access to the vote. What is your opinion on this issue?
Yes. I don't know if you remember what happened in Texas, but as a Latina, I can tell you I was heavily offended by the Democrats' remarks. There is no such thing as voter suppression towards the minority community. Democrats or the liberal left, they keep on treating us as if we are illiterate or incompetent, like we don't know what we're doing. Like we don't know what items to bring to the voting booth. We are more than educated.
We show our IDs and driver's license to get on a flight. We show them to pick up our kids at school. Why would we not show it to vote? This is just a ridiculous and crazy statement from the Democrats.
I'm happy to know that my legitimate vote will be counted. I don't see why anybody would be against this. We are not underrepresented. We know what we're doing. Democrats keep on putting us in that box with lower standards, and I don't believe that is right.
Do you believe it is necessary to present an ID to vote?
Yes. Every person that's going to vote should show an ID, not a photocopy. Apparently if you live in the rural area you don't have to present an original ID, you can bring a photocopy. No, that's no excuse.
I believe everybody should carry their ID and driver's license everywhere. I do believe everybody should show some kind of form that identifies who they are in order to vote. It has nothing to do with the minority community.
Do you believe the Republican Party will win a majority in Congress?
Yes, of course. I do believe we are going to retake the House of Representatives. The Afghanistan issue that just happened, Americans were left behind and so were our allies and we still have Americans there. Back then, this would have been a whistleblower issue where you would have to go and meet with a whistleblower to tell you this information, but this was bluntly in the open eye of America.
It was treason to the American people and yet it happened and we were seeing it without it being some kind of a secret issue. We see what's happening. I don't believe they have had much of a success during this year that they've been in office.
Since I'm here representing the Latino Republicans, Latinos come from strong work ethic backgrounds. We care about our jobs. We care about our employment, and we believe in the empowerment of small businesses and not the big corporations where only a few get benefit out of it.
Most Latinos are aware of this and they see the signs. They see the signs of socialism, communism, and Biden's policy definitely aligns with the countries that our ancestors fled from.
I believe we will even gain more Latinos votes towards the Republican party because we do not believe in bigger government. We believe in self-empowerment and being able to own our small businesses. Like I said, one of the top issues for the Latino community is the economy.
What do you think of President Joe Biden's immigration policy?
Oh, my goodness, it is a total failure, all of it. I might just go off on this issue, I really don't care to please anybody. I think in general, this has been a failure for years, but Biden has really topped it off. It's sad because Biden has 47 years of experience in policy and the political arena, he should know how to do this. He has the experience. He is trying to bring workers from outside of the country and give migrants a legal pass here in the United States by allowing them to get visas to work.
But look at our unemployment rate, look at how many Americans are unemployed. He wants to bring in more people from out of this country to come into America. He also says he wants to invest in Central America to address the root causes of migration. Well, it's him.
They took what Trump had put into place, where you come, you stay in Mexico until we have a date for you to cross. Trump's policies made people think twice before coming to America. It made them think, should I risk going over there? Biden even made an app where you could apply from your country for asylum to United States and when it was ready, you could just travel and come across.
Not everybody can stay. Biden sent a fake and false message to Central Americans that are actually risking their lives. They've risked their livelihood. A lot of them have sold everything they have and they don't have anywhere to go back to. It's sad what has happened.
Is Biden responsible? Yes, he is. Is he going to pay back what the migrants have invested? He can't pay back the experience of having to cross, even being homeless in Mexico. Also, sex trafficking, drugs, everything they have to experience. It was all because of that message that was sent by this administration. It's just terrible. What he has done is terrible.
I will totally support any immigration bill that has to do with taking care of migrants that have been here for years and the DACA recipients. There are some immigrants that we have had here for 15-30 years that are still waiting for something to happen. Some policy to do them justice that will help them. There is so much to be taken care of in America and this administration keeps on focusing on the immigration outside of America and how to bring it in.
I think it is a big failure, a huge failure. Not only that, but it's dangerous. I'm totally against his immigration policy. I think both sides, Democrats and Republicans, should get together and draft something that will benefit those that are already here and also see how we can help unifying families.
I do believe in the power of unifying, but Biden's policies are contradictory. We are unemployed here in America, but the let's bring people from outside. It's like the focus is for outsiders instead of America.
Do you believe that there was fraud in the 2020 elections?
Yes, I do believe there was fraud. They are telling the American people that Biden gained more votes than Hillary and Obama, and expect for us to believe that.
Trump made gains on the Latino vote and in other areas and somehow, what is told to us is that Biden is the president that has beat all records in America. Are you serious? We have presented affidavits in counties where some of our Republican voters were not able to vote.
We saw so much. So yes, I do believe there was fraud. I don't know. I can't say who should be the president, but I know there was a certain level of fraud.
Do you think Donald Trump is going to be influential in these upcoming elections?
He will always be influential. President Trump got over 70 million votes that believe in him and believe that their vote should have been counted. They believe in the President.
They believe in the economy. They believe in everything that was achieved. Latinos were rising, we were on the top charts of opening small businesses. The economy was booming. President Trump will always have a say on all elections, any elected official. He will play a key role in the presidential election.
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