Tag Archives: latino vote

GOP: This is Your Future Calling (and Sorry, It’s Brown)

This week, the GOP launched their new website and it was like a little gift to the progressive blogosphere. The site was riddled with bugs, went down almost immediately and had some interesting (if not wholly factual) content.

I’ve been thinking about blogging about it, but America’s Voice beat me to the punch. They did such a good job I’m just going to cross-post here (with their permission).

Yesterday the GOP launched a trendy, new website at www.GOP.com.

Only one problem: the GOP, according to the Politico’s Ben Smith, completely forgot about its future.

Smith reports:

This is, a youngish Republican points out to me this morning, a bit of an unfortunate place for an empty page on the Republican National Committee’s nifty new website.

That would be the “Future Leaders” page.

Liberal bloggers had a field day with the news—so much so that the page was updated that same day to include an interactive, “Who are the future leaders of the Republican Party?” section.

So, who/what is the future of the GOP—a great question as we brace ourselves for the crucial next leg of a national immigration reform debate.  Coincidentally, that debate started in earnest yesterday, too, with a rally at the U.S. Capitol where Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) laid out the principles for real reform.

As we’ve argued consistently at America’s Voice, Republican politicians have been guilty of using immigrants as a wedge issue for so long that they are in real danger of sacrificing their future with Latino, minority, and swing voters. With Representative Gutierrez and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) laying the groundwork to move forward on real immigration reform in the weeks and months ahead, the question takes on renewed importance.

GOP leaders have used the “ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT” bogeyman to derail progress on a number of critical issues, from health care, to the flu pandemic, to economic recovery, but they’ve mainly succeeded in further marginalizing themselves among Latino voters and other swing demographics who want policymakers to solve tough problems — not pander with cheap scare tactics.

Florida’s Republican Senator Mel Martinez, who retired in August, consistently argued that the GOP must change course if it cares at all about the future:

“Republicans risk their political future since Hispanics are the fastest-growing ethnic group in the US.”

As George W. Bush’s former speechwriter, Michael Gerson, pointed out in  “Suicidal Policy:”

Now hearings are beginning on another immigration reform bill, with a legislative debate likely to ripen in 2010. For Democrats — pledged to comprehensive reform but weighing union opposition to a temporary worker program — the debate will be difficult. For Republicans, it may be an invitation to political suicide.

Some conservatives dismiss electoral considerations as soiled and cynical. They will make their case, even if that means sacrificing Florida, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and . . . Indiana. Yes, Indiana, which had supported Republican presidential candidates for 40 years before Obama captured it on the strength of Hispanic votes. This is a good definition of extremism — the assumption that irrelevance is evidence of integrity. In fact, it is a moral achievement of democracy that it eventually forces political parties to appeal to minorities and outsiders instead of demonizing them. The scramble for votes, in the long run, requires inclusion.

The political cost of losing Latino and minority support in exchange for short-sighted, dog-whistle rhetoric could mean a very, very empty “future leaders” section for decades—and elections— to come.  Over the next few months, we’ll see which path they choose.

Cross-Posted at Huffington Post.

GOP continues its anti-Latino downward spiral

Remember last year, when the Latino and New American voters helped swing the election for Obama? And all those GOP candidates that ran on anti-immigrant platforms lost? And the GOP tried to re-group and began to “court” the Latino population?

I’m glad you remember, because the Republican party seems to have forgotten. Last week, during the vote to confirm Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, Republicans yet again showed their true colors. What does this mean for the Grand Old Party’s approval rating among Latinos?

From DailyKos:

The first column is the week that Justice Souter retired, which was soon followed by speculation of Sotomayor’s nomination (she was the frontrunner). That is the reference week. The second is [last] week.

Republican Party approval rating among Latinos

         April 27-30  August 3-6

Favorable       14        3
Unfavorable     73       86
No Opinion      13       11

Republicans were already lagging badly with Latinos, yet somehow, they managed to lose a net 24 favorability points over the course of three months. And for what? To keep the dying 1950s Pat Buchanan-wing of the party happy? Great call, there.

So, Republicans continue to alienate Latinos, digging their own political grave. I, for one, I’m not too bothered by this, but the GOP should be busy scrambling to counter the hate at the Town Halls across the country if they even think they have a chance at winning back portions of this population.

The Latino Voter Surge – and What it Means

vote-aqui2I’ve talked a lot recently about the Latino vote and the integral role it played in this month’s election. Latinos turned out in record numbers at the polls, claiming their spot as a political force to be reckoned with. Yesterday, Janet Murgia, president and CEO of NCLR, had a great op-ed published on this same topic.

Murgia notes that the historic Latino voter surge doen’t only mean a place at the table for Latinos, but it also signifies an opportunity to heal some of the historical tensions between African American and Latino communities.

Though our journeys in this country have been different, we have more that unites us than divides us. Both the African American and Hispanic communities have relied on hope for a better tomorrow for future generations, hope for the elimination of hate, and hope for a stronger nation for all Americans. On November 4, this hope translated to votes as President-elect Obama captured 66 percent of the Latino vote. On November 4, our common concerns and hope for the future trumped whatever tensions exist between our communities. On November 4, we came together and rose above our differences.

Throughout his campaign, President-elect Obama reminded us of what it means to hope. He energized a multitude of new voters with his call for Americans to hope for a better tomorrow and to come together to bring about change through collective responsibility. It is our obligation as Americans to not only believe in our power to accomplish this change, but to continue to turn our hope into action like we did on Election Day.

Latinos Have Changed the Electoral Map

Yet another article was published today about the importance of the Latino vote during Tuesday’s election. From the New York Times:

“They really delivered,” said Efrain Escobedo, director of civic engagement at the Latino officials’ association, a bipartisan group that ran voter registration drives across the country. “This is an electorate that now understands the importance of voting, and they made a significant shift in the political landscape.”

Latinos were integral to Obama’s election in important states like New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada and Florida. Read the full article here.

News Roundup: How Latinos and Immigrant Voters Decided This Election


I’m just going to let these speak for themselves:

CNN: Latino voters tip balance

Washington Post: Barack Obama built his victory in Florida

New York Times: Obama Wins Election; McCain Loses as Bush Legacy Is Rejected

Dallas Morning News: Obama wins over nation’s Hispanic voters, exit polls show

Associated Press: Obama buoyed by Hispanic voters

Miami Herald: Obama won big among Hispanics — with GOP’s help

Miami Herald: Blacks, Hispanics signal Florida shift 

Newsweek: Obama’s Latino Edge

CNN: Latinos fleeing GOP

San Diego Union Tribune: Region’s Latinos get out the vote

Market Watch: Unprecedented Latino Voter Turnout Plays Critical Role in Early Outcome of the Presidential Election

Market Watch: Freddy Balsera: ‘How Obama Closed the Deal With Hispanics’

We are Getting out the Vote!

All across the country, advocates are helping to mobilize the immigrant vote. During the upcoming election, these new voters’ voices will be heard in unprecendented numbers.

As Henry Fernandez reported at ThinkProgress:

A recent NALEO Educational Fund poll found that an astonishing 90% of Latinos in battleground states (Colorado, Florida, Nevada, and New Mexico) say they are certain to vote.

Why does this matter? The vote count gurus over at FiveThirtyEight.com rank Colorado, Florida, Nevada and New Mexico as top “tipping point states,” meaning a state that in a close national election would alter the outcome if decided differently.

That’s right. The work that is being done by Immigrant Rights groups across the nation will be a major part of next week’s Election outcome. Here is a run down of our folks on the ground and the amazing work they are doing.

In Chicago:

Continue reading

What is Driving the Latino Vote?

On Sunday, the LA Times published an article about what is driving the Latino vote. It seems that Latinos are swinging towards Obama in recent polls, and the Times said that this swing is because the Latino vote is focused on economic issues.

Democratic and Republican activists working the precincts say the economy is the main issue for most voters. The war in Iraq is second on the minds of Latinos, many of whom have friends and family in Iraq.

But, as Paco Fabian at America’s Voice noted (and the LA Times missed), immigration is one of the biggest issues driving the Latino vote this year.

…while the LA Times is right in stressing the importance of the economy to Latino voters, it misses a major piece of the puzzle when it comes to what is driving this new demographic.

In the wake of the 2006 and 2007 immigration marches, new citizens and their children are mobilizing once again. They are fed up with an immigration debate that has turned them into scapegoats for all our nation’s ills while failing to fix our ailing immigration system.

In short, these swing voters are being mobilized to the polls by the immigration issue, even if the economy remains a top priority for them.

A new report on the Latino Evangelical Vote reports that, for this voter bloc, immigration is equally as important as abortion and even more important than the issue of gay marriage.

With more and more voters demanding a change to our broken immigration system, the new administration will be under intense pressure to directly address the issue upon taking office.

Protestors Disappointed by Candidates’ Continued Silence

On Wednesday, October 14th, hundreds gathered at Hofstra University to urge Barack Obama and John McCain to address the real issues affecting Americans today. Many were there to call for an end to the silence on immigration during the debates. Among them were our partners from the New York Immigration Coalition.

Ying-Ying Ma, from NYIC said.

We marched from the train station to the Hofstra campus to bring attention to the issues facing our communities. While we chanted the slogans of the ongoing struggle for immigrants rights, our primary message was more immediate; talk to us about immigration. “What’s your plan?”.  The issue of immigration reform has been muted for too long in this campaign.

But walking through the streets of Hempstead, it was clear to me that there was no single issue more relevant to the community hosting the last debate than the issue of immigration. Our march down Fulton Avenue drew curiosity and support from the downtown population of Hempstead–immigrant workers, families, and children. The issues at stake in the silence on immigration represent their rights to live, work and build a future in America. 

It is an alarming juxtaposition; the many immigrant families whose lives are directly affected by immigration policy, and the presidential candidates who were in their neighborhood but refused to address the issue.

Another advocate with NYIC, Kim Sykes, reflected on the debate:

The candidates seem decided that the future of immigrants in this country is apparently not worthy of discussion on the national stage. Both McCain and Obama have opted to talk about immigration policy only in isolation, targeting immigrant communities with advertisements. In doing this, they push immigrants further to the margins. We don’t really need to talk about immigrants because they aren’t that important. Haven’t immigrants been marginalized enough? 

How can we talk about a new direction for our country without discussing one of its great challenges? Immigration has been critical to America’s future from day one when it was addressed in the Declaration of Independence — an issue so important that it had helped push the Colonies to break from England. So, I’ll ask McCain and Obama our question again, what is your plan?   Maybe if my name were Joe they would listen.  

For more on wednesday’s protests click here and here.

With the debates behind us and only 18 days until the election, we must continue to pressure the candidates to publicly discussion their positions on immigration. The New York Immigration Coalition and its partners have registered 275,000 new immigrant voters in New York State, and are reaching out to more than 40,000 immigrant voters in a large-scale get-out-the-vote operation. 

The immigrant vote will count now, more than ever. Will the candidates come forward and support this community before they head to the polls?

Obama Responds to Immigration Policy Questions, McCain Avoids Them

A few weeks ago, I posted on the survey created by the Sanctuary, that was sent to both presidential candidates, asking them questions on Latino and immigration issues. Both candidates, who have spent much of their recent time courting the Latino vote, were given until July 31st to respond to the survey.

Today, four days past the deadline, the Obama campaign has sent in their response, but the McCain camp has stopped answering phone calls from members of the Sanctuary.

By the July 31st deadline, only the Obama campaign had responded to the survey.  The Sanctuary conducted extra follow-up with McCain’s campaign headquarters via e-mail and telephone to investigate their failure to meet the deadline. 

“The first phone call I placed was answered cordially.  I was told that someone would get back to me.  I never heard back from anyone,” said Sanctuary editor Kety Esquivel of CrossLeft, who has appeared on CNN to discuss the questionnaire. “The second time I called, the person I was speaking with hung up and the third time I called the line was disconnected.”  

“It is clear to me that the McCain campaign is not interested in speaking to the issues,”  said Sanctuary editor Maegan Ortiz of Vivir Latino. “We believe that they owe it not only to us to respond to the questionnaire, but to their base.” The Sanctuary has stated that it will give the McCain campaign until midnight, August 6, to respond to the survey. 

With Latino communities across the country suffering increased hate crimes, racial profiling, high drop-out and teen pregnancy rates and the deterioration of our nation’s healthcare, it is time for both candidates to step up and answer the tough questions.

The Sanctuary, along with the rest of the Latino community, deserve more than empty political promises or being ignored by a campaign that says it wants the Latino vote but doesn’t want to give them the time of day.

Below is the video of Kety Esquivel’s appearance on CNN to discuss the survey: