Romney’s got a long road

Now that Mitt Romney has landed the GOP nomination for president, a critical question comes into sharper focus: What should the Republican candidate do to win over Latino voters?

Romney must develop a real plan to address the needs of Hispanic voters and the large mixed immigration status community they are connected to. This is not rocket science, but it is a matter of political will.

At this point, Romney has distanced himself from the anti-immigrant rhetoric that dominated many of the GOP primaries. However, his “self-deportation” approach towards fixing our broken immigration system -the second top issue for Latino voters after the economy- is a nonstarter. Like other fellow Republicans, Romney also is proposing hostile measures to make the lives of undocumented immigrants so miserable that they’re forced to return to their countries.

Instead of offering an efficient and humane plan to motivate Hispanics to vote Republican, the Romney camp, so far, has only come up with reasons why Latinos shouldn’t vote for President Obama. They’re pushing for Hispanics to punish Obama by not showing up to the polls.

Romney’s campaign staffers are expected to tirelessly mention Obama’s record number of deportations. At the same time, they will have to answer for the Republican politicians and leaders who see the President’s record as too low.

With only months to go for decision day, Romney has to decide where he’s going with Latinos and then Latinos will decide where they are going -or not- with him. What is clear now is that pointing fingers at the other guy does little to answer the inevitable question: what’s the plan?