That the Republican Party is busy recruiting Latinos is not surprising, given the recent success of Marco Rubio in Florida and Raul Labrador, the first ever Latino elected to the senate from Idaho. The Republicans have to keep the momentum going if they plan to make a dent in the Latino, Democratic faction, but as Latino voters being courted we all have to be wary of attempts by either party to convince us they are deserving of our votes.
There are currently 158 Republican officeholders versus 1,380 Democratic officeholders, according to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. What this means is that Democratic officeholders outnumber Republican officeholders almost 10-to-one. But, does that mean those figures are going to hold? More importantly, in what ways will the conservative fringes of the Latino community attempt to bum rush our progressive, Democratic core?
Should Latinos be wary of the Republican Party’s current desires to entice them to the dark side? Well, according to NALEO, about 22 million Latinos are set to be eligible to vote by 2012, perhaps even more. And, given that the Republican State Leadership Committee announced a plan to invest $3 million into the recruitment of 100 Latino candidates for state legislative seats across the nation in 2012, we have to be wary.
This Republican State Leadership Committee’s “investment” is a smarmy attempt to elicit our votes without providing any assurances that our votes will benefit our communities.
So, what is to be done? How can the Democratic party cement its supremacy, and rejuvenate its scrappy creed? Well, the first thing it can do is use the bullhorn to extol its victories in the area of labor and legislation.
I feel like I got hoodwinked by the concept of “Hope and Change,” and that the Democratic party used me in the last election. It is well documented that two-thirds of Latino voters cast their ballots for Obama, which speaks leagues about how little race played a part in our decisions. The sad truth is Obama has had to make many concessions and has faced much resistance from the Republicans; I find it miraculous that he was able to get any legislation passed.
But, at the same time, I would be remiss if I told you I wasn’t nostalgic for a time when Democrats, like Johnson, envisioned what a Great Society might look like. I understand the Republican penchant for idolizing small government, but I look at something like Social Security, which used to stand as a guarantee that growing old didn’t necessarily mean growing poor, and genuinely feel nostalgic and want to retain that image of my country.
[Photo By Muffet]