Sneak Preview: Romney, Rubio and Univision

There’s little doubt that the unsavory reputation that Mitt Romney and his party have earned among Hispanic voters is a major challege to a Republican victory this November. And a very specific problem they face is one that most Anglos don’t know much about: many millions of Hispanic voters will get a lot of their political information via the Spanish-language network Univision, and will pay particular attention to the nightly take on the news of Jorge Ramos, a.k.a., “the Walter Cronkite of Hispanic News.” Romney–and moreover, the man many consider his savior among Hispanic voters, Sen. Marco Rubio–have at best a rocky relationship with Univision and with Ramos, explains Laura Colarusso in “The Anchor,” the cover article from the upcoming May/June issue of The Washington Monthly.

Colarrusso’s piece, available today in a Sneak Preview online, provides an excellent backgrounder on Spanish-language media, Univision, and Jorge Ramos’ uniquely trusted position in Hispanic-American culture. It is Ramos who tripped up Mitt Romney in an interview just prior to the Florida primary by asking him if he considered himself “Mexican-American” because of his family’s involvement with a polygamous community in Mexico; Ramos has also been pursuing Rubio for an interview, a challenge he will probably have to meet if he intends to appeal to Hispanic voters outside Florida.

Moreover, Colarusso explains, aside from its coverage of candidates, Univision is planning an extensive campaign of its own to encourage Hispanic voting this fall–in part to overcome Repubican-sponsored voter ID laws and other impediments to voting. It probably won’t affect the current election, but conservatives in the long run will expect help from MundoFox, a Fox News Spanish-language channel that will begin broadcasting this fall as well.

“The Anchor” is extraordinarily timely, and covers an aspect of the 2012 presidential contest that is widely misunderstood and often oversimplified. Please check it out.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.