In a comment to my initial post, Lori asks, “What do you make of the candidates adopting Spanish for a day as they swing through a Latino community? An attempt to be understood by everyone there, or shameless political maneuvering (or both)?”
It’s political pandering.
According to the Pew Research Center: “Most Hispanics who are naturalized citizens (52%) speak English very well or pretty well.” Few citizens are wholly unable to communicate in English. And those are just the naturalized ones. The vast majority of native-born Hispanic citizens, like me, speak English at least as well as professional athletes (e.g., “We played good”).
So these faltering and stumbling attempts at Spanish aren’t about communicating ideas, because most people who have the right to vote can understand the English version of “I promise not to raise your taxes.” Instead, these barbarously accented speeches are a politician’s way of saying, “I am just like you, except that I’m rich and in all likelihood have no common ancestors with you beyond Australopithecus. But vote for me anyway.”