On Fox News, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz uses familiar talking points on the Hispanic vote that Republicans have employed at the national level for the past two decades -- seemingly unmoved by both electoral failure and a diminishing share of the vote.
Those GOP talking points (which the Romney team marched out whenever the topic came up).
1. Hispanics are pretty much closet Republicans (that's true -- but only if Republicans favor government-run health insurance, raising taxes over cutting spending, and supporting same sex marriage. See polls on that here).
2. That the whole immigration thing is underrated.
Here, Cruz employs both those talking points -- ones that actually hurt the party because they don't confront the GOP's true problem with Hispanics -- Latinos generally have a much more liberal view of government and to win +50% of them, you have to figure out how to turn them into conservatives; not give just a little tweak.
Cruz, armed with the first talking point.
"I think the irony is the values in the Hispanic community are fundamentally conservative."
No. By and large, they're not. Not yet, at least.
As I wrote last week, you don't vote Democratic by an average of 33% for over two straight decades because of a giant misunderstanding. There's a reason Hispanics tend to vote overwhelmingly Democratic. They're overwhelmingly Democratic.
Here's Cruz again -- downplaying immigration as a driving force among Hispanic voters.
"I actually don't think it's immigration that's driving the vote. I think Democrats want immigration to drive the vote.... every poll I've ever seen of the Hispanic community shows their number one issue is jobs and the economy -- exactly like the rest of the country."
You know what that sounds just like? An ex-Romney operative explaining their strategy to reach Hispanics.
Finally, regarding Cruz's dismissal of immigration. A Gallup poll showed Hispanics split 20%-20%-20% on calling healthcare, unemployment, and immigration policies their top issues. So immigration is important.
Conventional wisdom might err in suggesting immigration is the most important issue to Hispanics, but Cruz and Republicans err in diminishing its importance and pivoting to a generic argument on the economy.
Watch the interview -- again, Cruz sounds no different from an ex-Romney operative explaining their outreach to Hispanics.