Forty-four days until Election Day and the drum beat we keep hearing in the Hispanic community is Registration, Registration, and Registration! This drum beat comes primarily from the Democratic Party! Democrats see the Hispanic vote as vital to this election and to future elections. But, they are in a quandary. Hispanics aren’t voting and too many are slipping over to the Republican side of the ledger. So the question they are asking themselves is, what do we do to get the Hispanics out to vote for us?!
So far the only response they have to this quandary is to kick up voter registration drive! We assume the idea being the more you register, the more the number of voters will be driven up. Nice thought but so far this theory doesn’t seem to be working out. Voter registration drives have been a primary focus of Hispanic outreach since the ‘60s and today like yesteryear the voting numbers are still down. Could it be that the Democrats selected to office DO NOT IMPROVE THE LATINO, HISPANIC SITUATION?
Part of the problem was reflected in a recent speech by Cruz Bustamante, Lt. Governor and candidate for Insurance Commissioner, who before a group of Democratic club leaders shared his ideas on Hispanics with a focus on the new immigrant voter: he put an emphasis on the duty of new citizens to vote. He cited a program in Los Angeles that produced a 20% higher voter turnout among new immigrant voters. Issues important to their quality of life were of course ignored! Herein is the crux of the problem with the Democratic Party and their outreach to the Hispanic voter. There is no substance to their efforts. Let’s say the new immigrant goes and votes for the first time as part of being a new citizen, what is there to bring back this same voter the next election and for the rest of the elections for years to come? Registered voters are not the problem within the Hispanic community! Getting these voters to believe in a system of governance that ignores their needs will not be supported by voters year after year! We vote for a Party of one type or another. When that Party doesn’t serve those that are voting for them, they will go looking to find one that does care for them and works in their interests!
The Democratic Party has failed to include and address the issues of the Hispanic Community. In this context, we are not just addressing the new immigrant voter but the core voter the middle class, 2nd and third generation Hispanic. Their issues have moved beyond just immigration and into issues that are of their primary concern. However, we as a community must burden some of the blame in this failure. As a community we have failed to hold this Party accountable. We have failed to become involved. Empowerment is not given, we have to go out and empower ourselves. Politics is an issue of power and power is never given.
In this editorial we have singled out the Democratic Party, but it goes beyond the Democrats, it applies to Republican Hispanics and to all society in general. As a society we have allowed ourselves to be defined as an immigrant community and our issues have become boxed around the issue of immigration. The Democratic Party is going to have come to grips with the Hispanic community and not look at this community as another vote for their ticket, but to include this community as a part of the decision making process. And the Hispanic community has to become involved within the Party and hold the Party accountable. Until then, when it comes time to discuss Hispanic voters, the discussion will continue to revolve around voter registration.