- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine will deliver remarks entirely in Spanish at a rally in Arizona on Thursday, highlighting the growing importance his party places on Hispanics in presidential politics.

The Republican National Committee, meanwhile, is working to fill in what has quite literally been radio silence from Donald Trump’s campaign on Spanish language outreach efforts.

The RNC on Wednesday released an ad aimed at Hispanic voters, with the Spanish version to run on Telemundo and Univision, urging people to vote Republican. But it doesn’t mention the party’s presidential nominee by name, and Mr. Trump’s campaign has shied away from Spanish-language efforts.

In fact, he’s the first GOP nominee in years to forgo a Spanish-language version of his campaign website.

Mrs. Clinton has gone all-in on Spanish, with new ads Wednesday featuring actor Jimmy Smits speaking in Spanish. Mr. Kaine’s rally in Arizona, meanwhile, will be his second Spanish-only address in a matter of weeks. He already delivered such a speech at a church service in Miami last month.

The approaches are in line with both campaigns’ broader strategies: Democrats are working to turn out every minority voter they can, while the Trump campaign focuses on his white working-class base, leaving the granular efforts at minority outreach to others.

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“The Trump campaign has largely left this to the RNC and various super PACs,” said GOP strategist Ford O’Connell. “This is hardly a head-scratcher when you realize they’re not even waging a traditional air war overall.”

Mr. Trump said at a rally in Miami on Wednesday that the campaign is doing great with the Hispanic community and that he noticed some “Cubans for Trump” signs in the crowd.

“We’re going to fight very hard for the Cubans, and we’re going to fight very, very hard for the Hispanics, because they have not been properly taken care of,” he said.

Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said Wednesday on MSNBC they feel really good about their Hispanic outreach program. “People of all backgrounds want change, and there’s only one clear choice when it comes to that,” she said.

Republicans appear to be banking on Mr. Trump’s message alone putting him over the top, as the RNC ad aimed at Hispanic voters does not include his name, but rather urges people to “vota Republicano.”

People in the video drove home the messages of lower taxes, small business job creation, school choice, protecting unborn life and religious freedom, and national security — all subjects that have been cornerstones of Mr. Trump’s campaign.

SEE ALSO: Hillary Clinton makes swing state attacks on Trump’s character

“While Democrats have spent years taking Hispanic voters for granted, we are offering a new direction that gives a voice to all Americans,” said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus.

But the Trump campaign’s lack of a concerted effort on Spanish language ads could undercut the RNC’s pitch, particularly in hotly contested states such as Florida, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Arizona, where Hispanic voters make up a sizable portion of the electorate.

The Clinton campaign’s ad, meanwhile, sought to play up the potential power of the estimated 27 million Hispanics eligible to vote this year.

“When you’re 27 million strong, no one can tell you that you don’t belong, or expect you to just move along,” the ad said.

In the end, Hispanics are going to be swayed on policy and not necessarily political rhetoric, which still leaves Mr. Trump with ground to make up, said Christine Sierra, professor emerita of political science at the University of New Mexico.

“Given that Mr. Trump hasn’t really reached out to Hispanics on policies, other than a restrictionist policy [on immigration] which does not enjoy popular support, he’s dug himself a big hole in the state with Hispanics,” she said.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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