June 9, 2006


The Primary Elections at First Glance

As we sat here in the office discussing the Primary Elections the discussion centered on the disappointing voter turnout! But our senior editor said we have to give the people the good news first, something to build upon. So here is the good news:

More Latinos are running for office than ever before. The bad news is with the exception of those running unopposed very few won, with the exception of Cruz Bustamante who is running for Insurance Commissioner. The fact that more and more Latinos are running indicates that in the very near future they will not only be running but will soon be winning and not just for Lt. Governor but, soon, for Governor.

And… I think that is it for the good news!

It is hard to have a positive outlook when so few Latinos/Hispanics/Chicanos actually got out and voted. Of course to be fair voter turnout in general was poor, but for the Hispanic community this was the time to make a definitive statement that indeed they were going to step up to the plate and become players. To put it in baseball parlance they didn’t even make it to the plate.

After the galvanizing issue of immigration prompted hundreds of thousands, even millions, to go out into the streets, the rallying cry was “Today we march, tomorrow we vote.” The message was clear, all the protesting, yelling, and chanting was no more than posturing if the Hispanic community did not back up this action by having their voice heard come election day. The community was silent.

Immigration will continue to be an issue that will dominate the upcoming elections and legislation but instead of the conversation including a sensible and civil tone of discussion, the debate will be lead by polarizing politicians which will continue to divide the country and create animosity between the races.

Yet it is not just the immigration issue that will be affected. All other issues will be impacted such as education, minimum wage, health, jobs. Those issues as well now be viewed though a conservative point of view and the Hispanic community will have very little to say on these issues because they failed to get out and vote.

Once again the Hispanic community, the slumbering giant, continues to slumber.

It is good that politicians like Juan Vargas lose. It signals that there is a change in the mindset of the Hispanic voter. Vargas represented the archaic type of Hispanic politician who used his ethnicity to promote his political future but did not represent the best interest of the Hispanic community. Perhaps it is now time for those Hispanic politicians that reflect this community will provide the motivating force needed for the Hispanic voter to get out and vote.

Of course there is the good news: that in five months we will have another opportunity to make our voice heard. We shall continue to work hard to give our Gente reasons to get out and vote.

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