Texas primary, Scott Walker Raise Doubts About Latino Vote

By Grace Flores-Hughes, Voxxi

Is the Latino political machine real or imaginary?

Scott Walker’s victory in Wisconsin over a labor-led recall effort has many political writers and pundits analyzing and reanalyzing what this means for the upcoming presidential election. Mitt Romney’s campaign, meanwhile, is licking its proverbial chops imagining that if this predominantly Democratic state voted to retain a Republican, other blue states might follow. Significant labor union efforts and, as a result, Latino presence in the Wisconsin election were not able to pull off a decisive defeat for Walker.

But Wisconsin is not Nevada. Nor is it New Mexico nor Florida. These are all crucial battleground states where larger Latino voter numbers exist and we Hispanics are currently being courted by both parties — harder than Romeo chased after Juliet.

Lately, however, Hispanics haven’t been exactly influencing elections. It troubled many of us to see how in Texas, where redistricting promised to bring more Latino candidates in areas with heavy Hispanic population, the opposite happened. An article in the Washington Post predicted after last week’s Texas primary elections that, while Hispanics account for 65 percent of the population, the Lone Star state probably won’t add one lone Latino lawmaker to itscongressional delegation. Hispanic candidates ran. But non-Hispanics ended up elected. It begs the question: Why would a state with a dominant Hispanic population end up with zero candidates? Do we not vote for our own kind? And is that wrong?

It was an “Ay, Dios mio!”  moment when I read that Nina Perales, a lawyer with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), said that “the purpose of increasing Hispanic political opportunities is not about sending more Hispanics to Congress.”  I am still scratching my head over her statement.

Current polls tell us that Obama leads Romney by a wide margin with Hispanic voters. Is this margin likely to remain or is there something the Romney campaign can do to get Latino voters interested enough to vote for him?  That depends on the Romney message.

The Wisconsin vote told us that voters there are more interested in balancing a budget and keeping taxes low than most other issues. This is one message that resonates with everyone, especially Hispanics, since our unemployment rate is at 11 percent.Hispanics are not all about immigration. We want to work, need to work and we can work. And the candidate that best identifies ways to do help us do that will, in all likelihood, get our vote.

But if Romney is going to try and sell us his “economic message,” his campaign had better think long and hard about how the message comes across. For example, when the former Massachusetts governor was in Fort Worth earlier this week to speak at the Hispanic-owned Southwest Office Systems, the audience was mostly made up of non-Hispanics. I am not advocating separate audiences for separate campaign events. My point is that if the Romney campaign wants to woo Hispanics, wouldn’t it seem natural to have a few brown faces here and there in the crowd? Or even in his campaign, which at this point is almost 100 percent staffed by non Hispanics — never mind other minorities.

The campaign is either going have to get Hispanic-friendly, and pronto, or its going to miss its opportunity to not only get our community interested in his campaign, but to get our covetedLatino vote.

Right now, though, they may not care to take any of these suggestions seriously — since we can’t even get our own elected.

This article first appeared in Voxxi.

Grace Flores-Hughes spent over three decades in public service. President George W. Bush appointed her in 2009 to be a member of the Federal Service Impasses Panel (FISP) of the Federal Labor Relations. In 2011 she wrote a memoir “A Tale of Survival.”

[Photo by DonkeyHotey]

Subscribe today!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Must Read

U.S. citizen detained overnight by ICE – they thought he was undocumented

Victor Landa July 6, 2017

By Victor Landa, NewsTaco (1.5 minute read)  This is startling news. Up until last night at a dinner conversation I believed that the idea that an American citizen would be […]

Willie Velásquez documentary is a lesson for Latinos on the importance of voting

NewsTaco May 9, 2017

*Why you should read this: Because today is Willie Velasquez day and a quick search of his name turned up no news stories. This piece, by Mercedes Olivera, is from […]

DIECIOCHO Podcast: Texas Rep. Rafael Anchia – Trump, Gerrymandering and Money

NewsTaco June 8, 2017

By Victor Landa, NewsTaco (1 minute read, 34 minute listen)  It’s safe to say that the just-ended Texas legislative session was the most acrimonious in memory. We can talk for […]

Ted Cruz gets an earful in McAllen for July 4

Victor Landa July 5, 2017

*I’m posting this because it was mostly Latinos, organizing, protesting, making their voices heard. Everyone needs to know that Latinos in deep South Texas are standing up. VL By Patrick […]

Pence will host White House Cinco de Mayo party

NewsTaco May 4, 2017

*Why you should read this: Because there’ll be no Cinco de Mayo celebration at the White House (I know, big deal – we’ll be spared the taco-bowl). VL By Hadas […]

Vietnam War veteran fears he could be deported

Victor Landa July 7, 2017

*This Vietnam veteran, born in Mexico, was awarded two Purple Hearts and given U.S. citizenship after his service. He’s misplaced his documents and after paying $345 the government wants more […]

Henry Cisneros: Why Can’t Americans See Latinos Are Country’s ‘Saving Grace’?

Victor Landa

*Good question. I think it’s because we’re not the ones telling our story. We need to fight for our narrative. VL By Suzanne Gamboa, NBC News (1.5 minute read)  SAN […]

Castro will not run for U.S. Senate

NewsTaco May 1, 2017

By Victor Laneda, NewsTaco (i.5 minute read)    Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) says he will not be running for the U.S. Senate against Ted Cruz. Castro had promised to make […]