A GOP-affiliated group called Latinos for Reform has produced a national television ad to air in targeted states, including in Nevada, telling Latinos not to vote. "Yes, you heard right," the voiceover goes in Spanish. "Don't vote."
There are Spanish and English versions of the ad, which makes the bizarre argument that not voting is the only way for Latinos disappointed by a lack of progress on immigration reform to "send a clear message" to politicians. "If they haven't done anything for immigrants on two years, they shouldn't count on our vote," the Spanish voiceover goes. And this should include those who have pushed immigration reform measures? According to the logic here, yes, you heard right.
The ad has angered groups who are trying to get Latino voters out to the polls, including the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), whose executive director Arturo Vargas denounced it on Twitter this morning.
Latinos for Reform has been around a while, and has produced similarly out-there television ads before. In 2008, the group aired a Spanish-language ad alleging that Barack Obama put the interests of African Americans before those of Latinos, and supported trade with Africa before trade with Latin America.
From a transcript of the 2008 Latinos for Reform ad that ran with a story on NPR:
Barack Obama a friend of the Latino community? The record demonstrates the opposite. Did you know that after the 2000 census that showed a tremendous growth of Latinos in Chicago, Obama told reporters in Chicago that while everyone agrees that the Hispanic population has grown, they cannot expand by taking power from the African-American community. You heard right...but there's more. Did you know that Obama has never hired a Latino to a senior position in his office throughout his legislative career? Did you know that Obama has opposed trade with Mexico, Central America and Colombia, yet supports free trade with Africa?
The group's chairman is Robert Deposada, identified in the NPR story as a former director of Hispanic affairs for the Republican National Committee who also served in the leadership of the Hispanic Business Roundtable and the conservative Latino Coalition, and was appointed by George Bush in 2001 to a commission to advance the privatization of Social Security.
Below is a version of the ad in English: