If Rick Santorum hadn't pissed off Latinos, he'd be president in 2012

While I have no doubt in my mind that Rick Santorum's ailing daughter Bella had something to do with the Republican candidate's decision to suspend his campaign earlier this afternoon, the truth is that he had been sucking at the polls lately, trailing far behind Mitt Romney. In fact, he was most likely going to lose his own home state of Pennsylvania later this month, according to the numbers.

The thing is that it didn't have to come to this if only he'd realized much earlier the importance and power of one of his biggest supporters: Latinos. Yes, believe it or not, along with all the ultraconservative Christians, the only other group to give Santorum more than 50 percent approval ratings were Latinos, according to a recent McClarthy-Marist poll

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I must say I was a bit surprised about this, but then again not because, when you really think about it, many Latinos are Catholic, just like Santorum, and may share a lot of the same conservative views. Unfortunately, for the most part, Santorum was clueless as to who we are, pretty much ignoring us throughout the majority of his campaign. 

Concerned with upsetting Romney in his former home state of Michigan, for example, Santorum didn't do much campaigning in Arizona, a volatile state with a large Latino population. In the end, his strategy backfired on him since he lost both the Arizona and the Michigan primaries. 

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Then, when he decided to pay a bit of attention to us, he put his foot in his mouth when he said that in order for Puerto Rico to become a state, English had to be "the main language." First of all, both English and Spanish have been the official languages of the island for over 10 years. And secondly, many Puerto Ricans I know--including my husband and his family--are already bilingual. So what was he talking about? Great way to go about pissing us off, don't you think?

Too bad for Santorum... Maybe he should've hired a better campaign staff, one more in tune with the Latino population because considering the huge following he already had among this group, it seems like such a wasted opportunity!

What do you think about Santorum's campaign suspension and the way he handled Latino voters?

Image via Gage Skidmore/flickr