Washington Post frames the Kaine selection from the Hispanic perspective but misses the point a bit.  While it is true that Hispanics may not care if a "gringo" politician speaks Spanish, especially if their messaging is seen as pandering and not genuine, it is also true that the ability to speak Spanish is extremely helpful from a media standpoint.  Being able to be interviewed in Spanish-language media by stalwarts of Hispanic journalism such as Jorge Ramos is a big plus for a campaign that wants to engage the Hispanic voter in a credible way.  


Spanish language news offers Hispanics an "in culture" perspective about the current events even for bicultural Hispanics who also tend to get their news elsewhere in English (online, mostly).  They are often able to compare and contrast what is being said in the mainstream news with what the Hispanic news media focuses on, which tends be a perspective that addresses issues Hispanics are most interested in.  In addition, Hispanics are much more likely than the general public to get their news from network, cable or local television (86%, according to Pew, versus 55% for the general population).


And, two thirds of Hispanic adults are getting at least some of their news in Spanish (source: Pew Research Center).  So, if  you want to send a message to Hispanic voters, you really need to use both languages, with Spanish-language news particularly important to help frame a narrative from the Hispanic perspective.


Lastly, an American politician such as Kaine speaking directly to the people on Spanish-language television news makes more of a statement about their commitment to Hispanic issues than simply sending an Hispanic spokesperson (or in the case of  Mr. Trump, eating a taco bowl and tweeting "See? I love Hispanics").


Washington Post: Kaine Speaks Spanish but Most Hispanics Don’t Care

a cultural take

Source: Washington Post

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