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More hype about Clinton and Obama courting the Latino vote. Will we end up being Clinton’s firewall?

January 30th, 2008 · 5 Comments

Hillary Clinton is counting on the Latino vote next week. As an arm chair pundit and scholar of politics, I wouldn’t count this voting block falling into line. Latinos tend to not participate in the system as much as we would expect or hope for them to. Additionally, I have discussed the recent political happenings with many of my Latino colleagues who aren’t very enthused about another Clinton presidential administration, especially in light of the unwarranted attacks on Barack Obama framed in racial overtones. I especially don’t like how Sergio Bendixen, a Clinton pollster, has said, ““The Hispanic voter—and I want to say this very carefully—has not shown a lot of willingness or affinity to support black candidates.” Actually, this sickens me. My gut reaction is to prove Mr. Bendixen wrong because he’s not taking into account that many Latinos are black. Where do the Dominican-Americans and Puerto Ricans fit into this over simplification? Maybe Mr. Bendixen forgot that the Spanish were heavily involved in the slave trade in the New World and that many slave masters procreated with their slaves. Furthermore, you could take “African” out of this debate, and just as easily insert “Native American.” Sometimes Latinos and others like to forget that many of us are mixed with varying degrees of Native American ancestry. If Bill Richardson had made it as far as Barack Obama, would the Clintons pander to the African-American voters suggesting that they should vote for them to exploit any alliances that could be forged between the two groups? The reality is most Latinos have more in common with African-Americans and someone like Barack Obama than we do Hillary Clinton. Barack Obama’s father was an immigrant. He was raised by a single mother… as much as I would like to believe otherwise, Latinos have a high unmarried birthrate. Both groups are competing for scarce resources and face the limitations of institutional racism.

Now I’m not suggesting that Latinos vote for Obama simply because of his race and the possibility that we can forge alliances with the African-American community. I think that everyone should examine the issues closely, but also think critically about how ethnic and gender differences have been exploited in this race. Additionally, examine the paper trail. Who is funding these candidates? John Edwards has raised a good point that you can’t take money from entities and then expect to not have to cater or pay them back at some point.

As Harry Pachon (another professor whose classroom I have sat in) points out, “…the ‘X Factor’ is the volatility of the Latino voter.” I think that this volatility comes from the fact that we Latinos cannot easily be pigeon holed into a tidy census designated box. In addition, when a group has been marginalized for so long and has relatively weak internal leadership, I don’t think that any politician can really call such a group its “firewall.” At least, I hope not.

Tags: Barack Obama · Hillary Clinton · John Edwards · Presidential Elections

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Michaelr // Jan 30, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    Some of the short-sightedness from the Billary camp fully explains how little she knows the history of Hispanics, and why she continues to stay stupid things when referencing them as her firewall amongst other things. While the African-American community is fully approachable to Cubans, Puerto-Ricans, and Dominicans, Central Americans, and South Americans, it’s the Mexicans, and the Mexican-Americans who have trouble with this political relationship. While the reason for this is a mixture of phobias, generated by the caste system that’s been in place in Mexico for nearly 500 years; I hate to reference Octavio Paz and turn this into a Third World hypothesis. However, based on the performances of the vast majority of the U.S. Congressional Hispanic Caucus, its seems U.S. politicians of Mexican-American descent, with the exception of the late Henry B. Gonzalez, Gloria Molina, and Gloria Romero, have real trouble with the definition of public service. Antonio Villaraigosa and Fabian Nunez have actually been campaigning for Hillary Clinton and ignoring their prime duties. Their perception of public service seems to be more self-service. And Loretta and Linda Sanchez, along with Joe Baca all perform poorly in their obligations to their constituents. White America will never look at Latinos as equals…politically, or as human beings. We are the poorest minority group, and yet we are the largest in the United States. Do you really think Hillary Clinton is going to change that? Seven years in the U.S. Senate, she has voted twice for the Patriot Act, voted to go to war in Iraq, and continually votes to fund whatever the White House wants. Is that a candidate for change? Hardly…

  • 2 Regina Rodriguez // Jan 31, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    I’m a Mexican-American and I voted for Barak Obama. So there.

  • 3 notoriouslig // Feb 1, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    The LA Times seems set to endorse him on Sunday, endorsement posted on line today. “In the language of metaphor, Clinton is an essay, solid and reasoned; Obama is a poem, lyric and filled with possibility. Clinton would be a valuable and competent executive, but Obama matches her in substance and adds something that the nation has been missing far too long — a sense of aspiration.”

    I don’t normally care for the paper and I didn’t expect it to endorse him, but for once, the paper surprised me.

    Oh yeah, and this brick isn’t in that firewall.

  • 4 SeniorMoreno // Feb 2, 2008 at 5:55 am

    BEWARE !!!!

    TO THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE FRIENDS OR RELATIVES THAT ARE ILLEGAL!

    CLINTON OPPOSES ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS DRIVER’S LICENSE!

    IF ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS ARE NOT GIVEN DRIVER’S LICENSES THEY WILL BE FORCED
    TO BREAK THE LAW!

    AND SINCE IT IS A CRIME TO BREAK THE LAW, IF CAUGHT YOU ARE EXEMPT FROM
    A PATH TO CITIZENSHIP!

    THIS WILL FOREVER BAN YOU FROM BEING A U.S. CITIZEN!
    THIS IS THE BEST WAY TO DEPORT YOU!

    OBAMA BELIEVES THAT THOSE WHO BLAME IMMIGRANTS FOR JOB LOSSES AND LOW WAGES
    ARE USING LATINOS AS SCAPEGOATS. CLINTON ON THE OTHER HAND BELIEVES THAT LATINOS ARE
    IN PART RESPONSIBLE FOR JOB LOSSES AND LOW WAGES.

    OBVIOUSLY OBAMA IS THE BEST CHOICE FOR LATINOS IF YOU WANT TO STOP THE BLAME ON LATINOS!

    SAY NO TO THE SCAPEGOATING!

    SI SE PUEDE! SI SE PUEDE! SI SE PUEDE!

  • 5 Polymathic // Feb 3, 2008 at 11:28 am

    Well, the L.A. Times and La Opinion have endorsed Barak (as well a slew of other papers, especially in California). It is going to make for some very interesting results, I expect for Super Tuesday, which might be worth watching not only on CNN but on V-Me, which be covering it in Spanish, as announced here: http://www.vmetv.com/_files/_official_pr/impremedia.pdf

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