Former Gov. Jeb Bush, speaking to his Hispanic Leadership Network conference Friday morning, warned fellow conservatives that their future chances of electing a like-minded president will hinge on having the support of Hispanic voters.
"It is important to realize that the Hispanic population, which is the fastest-growing population in the country, will also eventually be the fastest-growing population of voters," he said. "It would be incredibly stupid over the long haul to ignore the burgeoning Hispanic vote."
Bush suggested four ways for conservatives to engage Hispanics over the long term:
--Speak in a civil tone. It is not enough to share values with Hispanic voters; they must also feel that leaders are not referring to minorities as "them" and "us," Bush said.
--Offer a broad, inclusive message -- and keep that message the same when speaking to all groups. Sometimes, Bush said, politicians unwisely "micro-target" their message to different ethnicities, to their own detriment.
--Use the power of an office to put well-qualified Hispanics in judgeships, commissions and boards "when people aren't watching," Bush said.
--Recruit Hispanic candidates to run for office.
Bush's remarks were followed by a videotaped message from former President George W. Bush, who thanked conference attendees for being open-minded and inclusive.