Democrats Don’t Deserve Latino Votes Just Because They’re the Less Racist Party
Politics is transactional. What were the Dems really offering Latinos?
The day after the election, I woke up at 4 a.m. to do my first live shot on TV. I had this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach and a deep sense of dread. The media pollsters had overhyped a blue wave that never arrived and the Democrats had failed to learn a key lesson about Latino and Latina voters once again.
I spent the day appearing on multiple media platforms, explaining what it means to be Mexican from Chicago, which is different from being a Cuban in Florida who has fled a repressive regime and different from being a Tejano rancher on the U.S.-Mexico border and different from being a second-generation Salvadoran American businessman from San Francisco. For years we’ve been made to feel invisible, and now suddenly people are talking about us and over us, simplifying us into a box. But Latina journalists like me have been trying to tell this story for decades. Nobody listened.
Can We PLEASE Stop Talking About the ‘Latino Vote’
There is no such thing. For the sake of democracy, let’s be more specific.
Only now, after years of campaigning for this highly anticipated election, has it become painfully clear to everyone, especially those in battleground states like Pennsylvania, Arizona, Nevada, Wisconsin, Florida, and Georgia, that the Latino and Latina voter is a decisive force in determining who will become our next president. The reality is Latino and Latina voters came out in record numbers this year — for the first time more than 50% of eligible voters participated, an increase of 8 million from the last election — just not always for the candidate people expected them to.
Politics is transactional. You get a vote by going after a vote. With 32 million eligible voters, Latinos are the second-largest voting bloc in this country. But for too long the Democrats have smugly assumed that they’ve automatically earned Latinos’ and Latinas’ votes by simply being the less racist of the two parties. This isn’t a word I like to throw around, but the lack of effort…