Latino voters need more than candidates who just look like us


quartz_logoBy Lisa Magaña, Quartz

In the wake of the 2012 presidential election, the Republican Party made it clear that its first and only priority was winning the Latino vote in 2016. But with Super Tuesday upon us, it seems the GOP’s primary strategy is to simply put candidates onstage that look like us, while not appealing to our main priorities.

 That’s not enough. To win this crucial demographic, conservatives will need to tone down their harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric. The rise in activism and voter registration reflects a desire from our community to be heard in the political process, not the desire to see a Latino candidate elected president. And right now, every Republican candidate, including Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, is standing on the wrong side of the issues driving voters to the polls.

The irony is US Latinos (a term we’re using generally here to identity the diverse group of voters with roots in Latin America) could easily find a home in the Republican Party. As Texas senator Ted Cruz mentioned during the last Republican debate in Houston, the party’s message of “faith, family, and patriotism” resonates with many voters. Latinos have historically remained socially conservative when it comes to a “pro life” stance and other so-called family values, stemming from the longstanding influence of the Catholic Church.  The irony is US Latinos could easily find a home in the Republican Party. Studies also indicate that they care deeply about the economy, jobs, and education.

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[Photo by NewsTaco, courtesy of Max GoldbergGage Skidmore/Flickr]

Suggested reading

chicanoChicano! The History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement is the most comprehensive account of the arduous struggle by Mexican Americans to secure and protect their civil rights. It is also a companion volume to the critically acclaimed, four-part documentary series of the same title. This volume is a testament to the Mexican American community’s hard-fought battle for social and legal equality as well as political and cultural identity.
Since the United States-Mexico War in 1846-1848, Mexican Americans have striven to achieve full rights as citizens. From peaceful resistance and violent demonstrations, when their rights were ignored or abused, to the establishment of support organizations to carry on the struggle and the formation of labor unions to provide a united voice, the movement grew in strength and numbers. However, it was during the 1960s and 1970s that the campaign exploded into a nationwide groundswell of Mexican Americans laying claim, once and for all, to their civil rights and asserting their cultural heritage. They took a name that had been used disparagingly against them for years—Chicano—and fashioned it into a battle cry, a term of pride, affirmation and struggle.
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