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The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments Feb. 27 on efforts by an Alabama county to stop enforcement of part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which opened Southern polling places to millions of black voters.
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Read more related stories here:
Focus on new legislative approach, Reuters
Harry Reid weighs in on Alabama voting rights case, Las Vegas Sun
Lawmakers to Supreme Court: Uphold voting rights law, The Washington Times
Will Justice Kennedy Vote for Voting Rights?, The New York Times
By Tony Castro, Voxxi
Hispanic voters are at the heart of a plan to rebuild and reinvigorate the Republican Party in California, the politician expected to take over the leadership of the state GOP has been telling insiders.
Former state Sen. Jim Brulte, the frontrunner to become the next chair of the California GOP has made the state’s Latino electorate the centerpiece of a makeover he says will turnaround the Republican Party’s fortunes.
“Jim Brulte says he has a six-year-plan to make the GOP the party of Hispanics in California,” says political consultant William Orozo. “He says he’s going to make Latinos forget about Proposition 187 and Pete Wilson.
“And who knows? Politics sometimes has such a short attention span that in six years, 2019, he might just succeed.”
Prop 187 alienated Latinos and was the downfall of the California GOP
Proposition 187 is the anti-immigrant state measure that the GOP championed in the mid-1990s that many blame for alienating Latinos and for the downfall of the Republican Party in the state since that time.
Wilson was the Republican California governor who made Proposition 187 his personal crusade.
Approved by voters in 1994, the measure sought, among other things, to require police, health care professionals and teachers to verify and report the immigration status of all individuals, including children.
The courts eventually dismantled the measure and made it meaningless except as a symbol for Hispanics of GOP exclusion.
The decline of the state GOP became evident this past election in California when only 29 percent of the state’s voters were registered as Republicans, compared to 43 percent for Democrats.
On Monday, California Republican activists became the latest to meet in an attempt to figure out a game plan for making their party viable again.
It was at that meeting in San Diego that Brulte announced he would be a candidate for state GOP chairman, a position he is expected to win.
Jim Brulte may have a tough time with Tea Partiers
In pushing his plan to woo Latinos, though, Brulte will have to walk a fine line with the state’s die-hard conservatives and Tea Party people, say insiders.
“But Jim knows where the future of California politics is,” said one GOP insider. “It’s the Latino vote, and he knows you have to go after it as you would a pretty girl because, as 2012 showed, the Latino vote is the darling of American politics right now.”
According to insiders, Brulte’s rebuilding is a six-year-plan because the state party has problems that go beyond having alienated Hispanics, resulting in not having any Republican holding a statewide elected office.
The state party is almost broke, with a half-million-dollar debt and down to only three full-time staffers, two of whom work from home. It also has almost no grassroots organization to speak of.
In Brulte, the GOP has a leader who typifies the about-face the party faces, say insiders.
His legislative record was that of a conservative, but he recognizes the new political landscape in California.
“His voting record is strongly conservative, but he also knows how to reach out to moderates and Democrats,” said Claremont McKenna College political scientist Jack Pitney.
Republican consultant Luis Alvarado, who is also president of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly of Greater Los Angeles, is among those Hispanics who are encouraged.
“We’re going back to the party of Shogun-type dynasties, where the Tea Party has their coalition, and the moderates have their coalition, and it’s going to be a battle to see who comes out on top,” he had said just weeks ago, in the aftermath of the election.
Now he says Brulte may be the ideal candidate for the political challenge at hand, adding:
This article was first published in Voxxi.
Los Angeles based writer Tony Castro is the author of the critically-acclaimed “Chicano Power: The Emergence of Mexican America” and the best-selling “Mickey Mantle: America’s Prodigal Son.”
[Photo by Steve Rhodes]
By Gabriel R. Sanchez, Latino Decisions
The 2012 election was a watershed moment for the Latino electorate in many respects. In giving President Obama a record level of support (75%), Latinos were decisive to the outcome; an unprecedented mark of influence for this segment of the electorate. Prior to Election Day, both parties went out of their way to include more Latinos in marquee rolestheir conventions. And after the election Latinos have remained at the center of national discussions about a potentially enduring coalition of minority voters, and the future of the Republican party. 2012 was undoubtedly big for Latinos.
Despite all of these high-water marks, we have yet to see Latinos actualize their full voting potential. To be fair, no group turns out at 100% of their voters, but the larger point is, Latinos remain underrepresented at the ballot box. This post considers the scope of the potential Latino electorate and the role that party and campaign mobilization efforts have in shaping Latino registration and turnout rates.
The National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO) estimates that 12.2 million Latinos voted this past election, representing approximately 10% of the national electorate. That number is much too low when we consider that an estimated 2.5 million Latinos who were registered to vote did not cast a ballot in the presidential election. And, an additional 8.6 million Latinos are eligible to register to vote (18 years old or older, and American citizens) but are not registered. There are almost as many potential Latino voters (registered and not voting, or eligible but not registered to vote) 11.1 million, as there are actual Latino voters (12.2 million).
The impact that a more engaged Latino electorate could have becomes more apparent when we look at individual states. There are an estimated 2.1 million Latino eligible voters who are not registered to vote in Texas, and another 2 million in California. There are another million eligible but not yet registered Latinos in Arizona (405,000) and Florida (638,000) combined, two highly contested states where an increase in Latino turnout could have huge ramifications to both federal and state level races. Without even considering the millions of Latinos who are currently eligible for citizenship (legal permanent residents, or LPRs) and the millions more who could be voters if comprehensive immigration reform were to be passed, these two groups of potential voters add up to over 11 million Latinos who are eligible to vote today!
It is fair to think of the potential Latino electorate as an untapped source because the vast majority of the Latino electorate is not targeted for voter mobilization. Our Election Eve Pollindicates that only 31% of Latino voters were contacted by a campaign, political party, or community organization to either register to vote or cast a ballot during the 2012 campaign (Figure 1 below). This is a telling result. Even in this election, where Latinos were projected to be a key swing electorate, seven of every ten Latino voters were basically ignored during the election cycle. It is likely that the contact rate for the larger Latino population is even lower than the 31% observed among actual voters who are in our survey.
Figure 1. 2012 Latino Voter Mobilization
Source: impreMedia/Latino Decisions Election Eve Poll, November 2012
This is a telling result. Even in this election, where Latinos were projected to be a key swing electorate, seven of every ten Latino voters were basically ignored during the election cycle. It is likely that the contact rate for the larger Latino population is even lower than the 31% observed among actual voters who are in our survey.
Differential mobilization can have major implications on national Latino voter turnout rates. If voters are targeted only in competitive states, then Latinos will consistently be among the least encouraged to participate. More than 50% of the Latino electorate resides in non-competitive states like Texas, California, New York, and Illinois. The dismal contact rates in California (31%) and Texas (25%) point to this dilemma. It is important to note, however, that even Florida Latino voters, who were identified early as a critical voting group in the state had a relatively low contact rate too (37%). Furthermore, Spanish dominant Latino voters were even less likely to be contacted (23%) than those who conducted the survey in English (37%). Media buzz about campaign outreach efforts by both Romney and Obama might lead one to believe that all Latinos were mobilized equally, but such is not the case.
Political science research consistently finds mobilization — and for Latinos, co-ethnic mobilization — increases participation rates. There is vast opportunity for parties, candidates, and other engagement-focused organizations to engage the Latino electorate; we are quite from reaching any upper limit in terms of voter contact. As policymakers, candidates, parties and their strategists look to future of electoral politics, they would be wise to look at the growing pool of eligible and soon to be eligible voters and invest now in voter registration and engagement efforts. Increased mobilization efforts could have a huge impact on Latino turnout, ensuring their investment would pay off for decades.
This article was first published in Latino Decisions.
Gabriel R. Sanchez is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of New Mexico and Research Director for Latino Decisions.
[Photo by NewsTaco]
Here’s a small blip on the radar that’s sure to be getting brighter this year: Six out of the nine states covered under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act are supporting a challenge, in the Supreme Court, that could overturn one of the strongest tools that advocates have in their defense of voting rights.
It’s called preclearance, and it says that when any of the nine fully covered states (Texas, South Carolina, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Virginia and Alaska), and parts of seven others (Florida, California, New York, North Carolina, South Dakota, Michigan and New Hampshire) make any changes to their voting rules, those changes must first be cleared by the federal government.
Shelby County, in South Carolina, has challenged the rule saying it’s out dated and no longer needed. The challenge has ended up in the Supreme Court. Five states, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina and Texas, are backing Shelby’s suit.
That’s where the issue now lies. Not a big concern compared to gun control or the series of impending fiscal cliffs – but that just may be what makes this issue all the more serious, it’s a sleeper, just because there’re more immediate things to worry about these days. But this case should have our full attention, it’s that important.
The preclearance clause provides the teeth to the voting rights advocates’ bite. Without it there’s no fight, no defense against an election authority arbitrarily changing times, locations, language on a ballot, rules, etc… The final authority on election changes and practices would be the very same authority that made the change.
We should point out that the preclearance rule is not universal. It only applies to states where voting discrimination practices were and are proven to still be a problem. So the Shelby County challenge is expected. And if Section 5 prevails this time, we should expect more of the same brought by other counties and states in the future, it’s the nature of the law. And that only means that our vigilance on the issue shouldn’t wane.
This is as important as immigration reform, health care, gun control and the rest. The difference is that this one is going to keep sneaking up on us.
[Photo by yeowatzup]
¿Sabes que? “I Told You So!” I told you all that the Latino vote would play a decisive role in this presidential election.
I first noticed this possibility when I was working with census data in preparation for the 2001 congressional redistricting in Texas. What I noticed was that the Latino electorate, Latino registered voters, resided in just a few states. In 2001, 89.9% of Latino registered voters, resided in just 15 states.
So, you say, this doesn’t look like enough of a situation to swing a presidential election! Yeah but given the way the Electoral College is structured it turns out that Latino registered voters resided in 15 states that accounted for 295 Electoral College votes and it only takes 270 to elect the president. Of the 295, President Obama won 251 electoral votes or 13 of the 15 states where Latinos are important voters.
Since 2001 much changed including an exploding Latino population that saw us officially becoming the largest racial/ethnic minority group in the nation and expanding beyond the 15 states we predominated. As of the 2012 election 90% of all Latinos who are eligible to vote reside in 17 states, with Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia among that group. These Latino voters reside in states that account for 313 Electoral College votes. Of these Obama won 14 states accounting for 233 electoral votes.
Besides the demographic changes that occurred between 2001 and 2012, the decade also found increasing animosity on the part of the extreme right wing toward Latinos nationwide. Driving the animosity were several occurrences and issues but fundamentally it revealed the racism deeply embedded in the nativism that historically has been at the heart of right wing jingoism throughout the history of the United States.
Jingoism, chauvinism include racism, homophobia, misogyny are based in a fear of the unknown and of losing one’s place of privilege in society. The rapid growth of Latinos in the United States over the past thirty years which has become more and more obvious across the country has spawned increasing acts of racism both overt and hidden. Overt racism is easy to detect while hidden racism is more difficult because it becomes institutionalized in the manner in which we argue and pass laws and various types of public policies are implemented.
The fear of losing political place and space has driven the right wing to push legislation at all levels of government instituting more stringent voter registration methods, voter identification card issuances, changing early voting dates, use of language in public spaces, barring use of financial aid and education to the children of undocumented persons and so forth in efforts at limiting the growth of the Latino electorate.
That’s correct. ¡Si señor! That’s what I am saying. The right wing has been busy pursuing nationwide efforts at passing any kind of law, doing anything within their power to suppress the votes of Latinos. I’ll write about this in a forthcoming column.
Many Republicans were perplexed at the degree of support President Obama received from Latinos in the 2012 election. Some Republican apologists pointed out that Latinos were/are natural Republicans because we are conservative about most family and religious issues. We’re also very patriotic and proud of the many veterans who have served this country in every war going all the way to the Revolutionary War. So what’s the problem? Why can’t the Republicans attract us? The answer comes in two parts and makes perfect sense.
The first reason is that the right wing jingoism that Republican and conservative operatives spewed toward immigrants and non-English speakers throughout these last several years reflects how unwelcoming these folks really are. They simply do not like Latinos and don’t want them in their homes regardless of how conservative we are. They just don’t like us because we are who we are.
The second reason is very simple. The Republican Party’s position on the economy and social issues such as health care or education does not resonate with Latino voters. Immigration policy is “icing on the cake” for us it’s the other issues that don’t work for Latinos combined with the perceived hatred of the right wing Republicans who dominate the media rhetoric.
The Republican Party is on the threshold of becoming irrelevant nationally. If the GOP does not change its tune and rid itself of their right wing wackos they run the risk of being washed away by demography. Keep insulting Latinos and they will vote more and more for Democrats. Keep insulting Latinos and you will find winning the Presidency and United States Senate almost impossible. Keep insulting Latinos and you will wither away and become a third party headed for extinction.
[Photo By nathangibbs]
Maria Cardona, CNN Consultant talks with the Latino Information Network at Rutgers (LINAR) about the Biggest News Story of the year 2012.
This article was first published in LIN@R.
LIN@R is an archive of the most comprehensive collection of materials relevant to the Latino experience in the U.S. — a national and international combination of Rutgers scholarship in tandem with news stories, studies and reports from reputable news organizations, non-RU-academics and think tanks pertaining to Latino-related research.
By Jose Cruz, Our Tiempo
#1, 2012 Election Day
For the first time in history, the Latino “sleeping giant” woke up and played a decisive part in electing the U.S. President. Exit polls showed Obama won the Hispanic vote by 70 to 75%. Exit polls placed Romney at winning 29 percent of the Latino vote, which is lower than Republican candidates received in 2008, 2004, and 2000. The lowest percentage of Latino voters won by a Republican was in 1996, when Bob Dole garnered only 21 percent of Latinos to former President Bill Clinton’s record 72 percent.
This article was first published in Our Tiempo.
Jose Cruz is a Puerto Rican/Irish multi-city/multi-hat guru at OurTiempo.com. An online entrepreneur, Jose is the in house editor and writer. With a background in politics and a career that includes a law degree, the Clinton White House and managing and developing websites geared at the Latino community, his tastes are as diverse as his work. Just at home diving into a Chicago Deep Dish Pizza to munching on a Fish Taco in East LA. Twitter: @JoseCruz2000
[Photo by NewsTaco]
It’s known as the reddest of the red states. And a recent article in the Ogden Standard-Examiner reiterated the fact:
In a state considered among the reddest in the United States, the increasing number of Hispanic voters in Utah could eventually begin to soften some of that red influence.
According to the U.S., Census 9% of the population in Utah is Latino, or about 200,000 people. In places like Ogden, where Latinos are concentrated, the number jumps to 30%. Most of the voters in that slice of the population tend to favor the Democratic Party, and Utah politicos are starting to pay attention. It’s something Utah Democrats aren’t taking for granted, according to the Standard-Examiner story:
(State Democratic Chairman Jim) Dabakis claims Hispanics in Utah may be increasingly Democratic in inclination, but they aren’t comfortable with the assumption. He said state Democrats will hire a full time Hispanic community organizer in the near future to get Hispanics increasingly involved in local issues.
The statistic that everyone is looking at is this, mirrored in Utah as it is across the country:
50,000 Hispanic teens turn 18 every month in the U.S. … the largest percentage of Hispanics in the Beehive State is younger than 18, so the trend toward more voters of Latin descent in Utah will continue to rise.
Already, in the reddest of red states, there is a trend.
…there are historical highlights for Hispanics in Utah from the last election. Robles was re-elected as assistant Democratic Whip in the Senate, and in the House, Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck, D-Salt Lake, was elected as assistant Democratic Whip — the first Latina to ever serve in a leadership position in the House.
[Photo by CountyLemonade]
By Janell Ross, Huffington Post Latino Voices
Officials split some of the state’s growing Latino population between districts already represented by Democrats and those where they hoped to see Republicans lose. An incumbent Democrat like former Chicago-area Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. was supposed to have little problem holding a seat that for three decades has been held by an African-American. But in 2011, no one knew then that Jackson would spend a portion his term in seclusion trying to manage a mental illness. And no one knew that, after winning reelection earlier this month, Jackson would resign amid allegations of misappropriated campaign funds.
Now, with Jackson out and Illinois set to stage a special election in February, Jackson’s former district could end up being represented by a white Democrat from Chicago’s suburbs. And for the crowded field of mostly black candidates that have expressed interest in Jackson’s old job, winning support of Latino voters and at least a smattering of white voters may be the key to victory.
“Ironically, because of redistricting, what has long been a seat held by a black politician is going to require a black candidate that can bring together a kind of Barack Obama pan-ethnic coalition just to maintain the status quo,” said Laura Washington, a political consultant and former political science professor at De Paul University.
The situation in Chicago isn’t unique, political analysts say. In states such as California, Texas and Florida, black politicians who have long represented majority black districts have had to adapt their political messages and policy priorities to appeal to growing shares of Latino voters and push to have college towns and their legions of young, often liberal white voters drawn into their districts.
In the 1970s and 80s, political power struggles flared in cities around the country as whites decamped to the suburbs, said David Bositis, a senior political analyst at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank. Minority voters were frequently divided among crowded fields of black candidates, leaving room for well-financed white candidates often backed by conservative business interests to win by narrow majorities, Bositis said.
That’s a pattern that dominated elections in cities like St. Louis for decades, according to Bositis. In the 1980s and 1990s, the number of black elected officials peaked in cities like Los Angeles. Then, in the 1990s and 2000s, cities like Baltimore and Gary, Ind. — a city which was then about 90 percent…
This article was first published in Huffington Post Latino Voices.
Janell Ross is a reporter who covers political and economic issues at the Huffington Post, based in New York. Previously she worked as a business reporter at The Huffington Post and covered business, immigration, race and social issues at The Tennessean in Nashville. Janell also covered covered local politics, labor and higher education at The News & Observer in Raleigh and the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. Janell earned a bachelor’s degree from Vassar College and a master’s degree from the Columbia University School of Journalism.
[Photo by chicagopublicmedia]
By Bella Vida Letty, Latino Rebels
Another Puerto Rican man was murdered over the holiday. You’ve heard his name before, it was Hector. (In fact, Hector was one of more than 20 who were murdered in Puerto Rico.) When the news broke, the stories coming out were tearful and full of prayers, until Monday rolled around. I guess everyone was done mourning. By then the commentary had turned into vicious criticism and victim blaming. Crime is about violence, power and control. Clearly, no one deserves it. Murder is never justified.
Victim blaming is holding the target of a violent act partially or wholly accountable for the atrocities committed to them. One example of victim blaming is telling a rape victim they should not have had an alcoholic drink. Another example is attributing the type of clothing Trayvon Martin wore as provocation for murder.
Victim blaming is harmful for many reasons but primarily because it perpetuates the culture of violence Latinos live in. It lowers a person’s status in society to where they are no longer a complete human being deserving of love and compassion. It completely disregards human suffering.
Boys and girls growing up trapped in the cycle of a culture who at the very least condones violence by continuing to ignore it. An environment where young boys have to prove themselves physically capable. In Hector’s case he was jailed but then society turned around and rewarded him for being a great fighter.
You should be very worried our youth is exposed to the jail system before the college educational system. What kind of future does society have when it is projected 51% of Hispanic male high school graduates ages 15-24 will end up unemployed, incarcerated or dead?
Latino youth under the age of 18 are incarcerated at adult facilities at rates between 7 and 17 times greater than those of white youths. Latinos and African Americans are disproportionately represented in federal and state prisons and receive harsher sentences.
The very idea that success and failure result from individual effort rather than social circumstance is a cop out for lack of community building and involvement. This toxic way of thinking leads to the blame and punishment of impoverished persons for their lack of success. If you’ve ever used the internet you have a clear picture of how we are all connected. Hector could be your brother, cousin, son in law, or your neighbor. We all know Hector.
44% of Puerto Ricans on the island live in poverty. Much higher than Puerto Ricans in the 50 states and D.C. of which 24% live in poverty or all Hispanics combined in the 50 states and D.C. of which 23% live in poverty.
But wait, the US government gives a free equal basic education to everyone. Wrong.
School budgets are tied to property taxes. Schools in poor neighborhoods get about half as much money per student than schools in affluent neighborhoods.
Education is the foundation on which an individual builds upon. 27% of Puerto Ricans ages 25 and older have not obtained at least a high school diploma.
Plenty of people use the excuse that they just don’t have the time. Funny how those same individuals are ready reap the rewards of such a commitment without putting in the work. The real world does not function that way. The only way Latinos in America will thrive is when we unite and together take action. It takes involvement, compassion, hard work and a team of people to create positive change. Let’s put the ideology of individualism to rest once and for all. A better life requires making sure everyone has the resources to be the best they can be. Begin making a difference today by reaching out to local schools and community centers or be prepared to mourn the next Hector.
This article was first published in Latino Rebels.
Letty is founder and CEO of Bella Vida by Letty and Bella Vida Boutique.
[Photo by Azalia_N.]
By Tony Castro, Voxxi
“In the coming decades, (Hispanics’) share of the age-eligible electorate will rise markedly through generational replacement alone,” according to according to the report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
“If Hispanics’ relatively low-voter participation rates and naturalization rates were to increase to levels of other groups, the number of votes that Hispanics actually cast in future elections could double within two decades.”
Hispanic political influence, an ‘electoral boom’
Those numbers, says the Pew report, suggest that the apparent record Hispanic voter turnout this presidential election– possibly as many as 12.5 million voters – are only “the leading edge” of an electoral boom.
Still, some critics have discounted the potential Latino vote impact because the country’s 53 million Hispanics who make up 17 percent of the U.S. population accounted for just 10 percent of all voters this year, according to national exit polls.
“To borrow a boxing metaphor, they still ’punch below their weight,’” the Pew study authors wrote.
The report remains optimistic because Hispanics remain the country’s youngest ethnic group, with a median age that is 27 years compared with 42 for whites.
In short, many Hispanics are too young to vote and even among young people, young voters tend to vote less than older adults.
Still, despite lagging badly behind blacks and whites in voter turnout, Hispanics were credited by most experts from both parties as a major reason President Barack Obama won re-election.
“What was incredibly encouraging was to see a significant increase in Latino turnout,” Obama said in his first new conference after the election. “This is the fastest-growing group in the country.
“And you know, historically what you’ve seen is Latino vote — vote at lower rates than the broader population. And that’s beginning to change. You’re starting to see a sense of empowerment and civic participation that I think is going to be powerful and good for the country.”
According to exit polls, upward of 70 percent of Latinos voted for the Obama, while only about 27 percent voted for Republican Mitt Romney.
“I think the growing size of this population and the dispersement of this population around the country may not be fully understood,” said Mark Hugo Lopez, associate director of the Pew Hispanic Center. “But it should be.
“Just look at what happened this year. Latino voters proved to be pivotal in battleground states where people expected like Nevada, Colorado and Florida, places with a large Latino vote. And then in places like Virginia and Iowa, places with small Latino populations, their votes proved decisive.”
This article was first published in Voxxi.
Los Angeles-based writer Tony Castro is the author of the critically-acclaimed “Chicano Power: The Emergence of Mexican America” and the best-selling “Mickey Mantle: America’s Prodigal Son.”
[Photo by ElvertBarnes]