The centerpiece of a new Republican National Committee midterm plan to hold the House of Representatives? House parties.
Republican operatives are organizing small groups of Hispanic constituents on couches across the country, emphasizing districts where their votes could prevent a seat from flipping in Florida, Arizona, and Nevada.
“We are going to continue outreach to communities that haven’t traditionally been Republican, that don’t know our message,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel told Fox News at a recent house party in Coral Gables, Fla. “But the only way we can share our message is if we show up.”
In the last three midterm cycles, 2014, 2010, and 2006, Hispanic voters only made up 8 percent of the electorate according to exit polls. In 2016, Hispanic voters broke for Clinton over Trump by nearly 40 points. But Republicans seem to believe a platform highlighting the strength of the economy may motivate more Hispanic voters to turn out – and for their candidates – than in recent contests.
In Florida, McDaniel was joined by a handful of GOP activists, who are particularly focused on solutions for improving hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico. Thousands of Puerto Rican natives displaced by the storm are still in Florida, which some operatives see as an opportunity for Republicans.
“We believe that many families are going to stay,” the RNC’s Puerto Rico engagement director Gary Berrios said. “Our job is to tell them the message of the Republican Party.”
Surprisingly, immigration never came up at the house party in Florida attended by Fox News. But as long as President Trump is in office, Democrats plan to make immigration a top-tier issue.
“Latinos judge people by their words and their actions, and this president has made one statement after another, taken one action after another, disparaging and demoralizing and disenfranchising Latinos,” Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez told Fox News in an interview Wednesday. “Look at the Puerto Rican situation – Puerto Ricans are second-class citizens in Donald Trump’s opinion, that’s why we have a third of the island – still – without electricity.”