Latinos & the MA Senate Election

January 22nd, 2010 · 9 Comments

This week the President and the Democratic leadership were handed a huge blow in Massachusetts with the seat once held by Senator Kennedy, who passed away in August, now going to Scott Brown, the former Cosmopolitan “sexy man.”

I think that the Democrats took it for granted that Senator Kennedy was holding this seat warm for them from his grave for the past four months and made a serious miscalculation. Furthermore, the Democratic candidate Martha Coakley left a lot to be desired as a campaigner. She seemed to have an “entitlement mentality” that this seat would just magically become hers after she had won the primary. Nobody likes an “entitlement” mentality. Jerome Karabel, in a piece for the Huffington Post, listed 4 big Coakley offenses:

“1. exuded overconfidence and more than a whiff of entitlement from the moment she won the Democratic primary of December

2. went on a vacation after the primary while her opponent was criss-crossing the state in a pick-up truck

3. did not appear in public a single time during the entire period between December 23 and December 30

4. when asked by a Boston Globe reporter about suggestions that she was being too passive, Coakley bristled, saying “As opposed to standing outside Fenway Park? In the cold? Shaking hands?” in an apparent reference to an online video of Scott Brown doing just that.”

Contrast the Coakley approach with Kennedy style campaigning, which is highly energetic and full of meet and greets and other appearances. Coakley had the perfect model for how to engage with the public in the man whose term she sought to finish, but she did not rise to the occasion.

The loss of this seat does represent a warning for Democrats and to a certain extent for Latinos who hinged their hopes on health care and immigration reform. Pretty much everyone can agree that Senator Kennedy was a big advocate for both of those issues, and now that he’s gone and Scott Brown is in his place, we have an opportunity to forge a new relationship and/or re-group. So far Scott Brown has indicated the following from his campaign website regarding immigration and health care:

“I recognize that our strength as a nation is built on the immigrant experience in America. I welcome legal immigration to this country. However, we are also a nation of laws and government should not adopt policies that encourage illegal immigration. Providing driver’s licenses and in-state tuition to illegal immigrant families will act as a magnet in drawing more people here in violation of the law and it will impose new costs on taxpayers. I oppose amnesty, and I believe we ought to strengthen our border enforcement and institute an employment verification system with penalties for companies that hire illegal immigrants.”

I believe that all Americans deserve health care coverage, but I am opposed to the health care legislation that is under consideration in Congress and will vote against it. It will raise taxes, increase government spending and lower the quality of care, especially for elders on Medicare. I support strengthening the existing private market system with policies that will drive down costs and make it easier for people to purchase affordable insurance. In Massachusetts, I support the 2006 healthcare law that was successful in expanding coverage, but I also recognize that the state must now turn its attention to controlling costs.”

As for immigration, it doesn’t sound like Brown will even be supportive of the DREAM Act, which is something that many people hoped we would see for undocumented youth. He basically espouses the tough on immigration line without considering the relative benefit to the economy that immigrants have been proven to bring.

And on health care, it appears that Brown is for “more of the same” without articulating which private market policies will help bring down costs. I’m among the many who have been absolutely shocked that health care costs have risen as they have, while the options and services have been cut or whittled away in recent years. I have also noticed pharmaceutical companies increase their profits, merge, and advertise incessantly on TV. A recent poll shows that Latinos have expressed “massive support” for health care reform.

Given the relationship that our community had with Senator Kennedy, I think that it will be more difficult to warm up to Scott Brown, but it certainly is worth continuing to lobby him on the issues we care about.

Worth noting, Angelo Falcon wrote a piece, Latinos and the Political Earthquake in Massachusetts, for New America Media this week. I would recommend reading it, especially the last paragraph, where he asks some rhetorical questions. Frankly, I think that Latinos everywhere are going to have to be more politically engaged and tuned into the issues so that we can leverage beyond the two party system as Falcon questions. Additionally, we are going to have to try to bring those who don’t care about elections or what happens in places like Massachusetts into the fold and explain to them why these special elections matter.

Tags: community organizing and activism · Democratic Party · Education · GOP · health care · Immigration · Kennedys · Republican Party

9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Blondpolitics // Jan 22, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    The people in a deep blue state spoke loud and clear. It’s not that they are against immigration, etc. It’s that they don’t want an “out of control” government w/o the people’s input. And Obama may seem nice on the outside but his radical policies are very anti-American… I just hope the Latino community can see this and not always vote party line but with reason and understanding of a limited government.

  • 2 HispanicPundit // Jan 22, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    The loss of this seat does represent a warning for Democrats and to a certain extent for Latinos who hinged their hopes on health care and immigration reform.

    But on the opposite end: its a boom to Latinos who hinged their hopes on keeping more of their paychecks. :-)

  • 3 Reyfeo // Jan 22, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    Typical that Dems are blaming the candidate and not the policies for which she stood (a la Obama).

    Dream Act? My , American Blessed kids can’t get free schooling, but illegal’s kids can? Something very wrong with the fact you’re okay with this.

    And yes, we want immigration reform, THE KIND THAT CLOSES DOWN THE BORDER, ASAP!

    The bottom line is Latinos oppose Obama because he exemplifies elitism at its worse…at least with Bush they could relate.

  • 4 webmaster // Jan 22, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    “Dream Act? My , American Blessed kids can’t get free schooling, but illegal’s kids can? Something very wrong with the fact you’re okay with this.”

    You are spreading more lies again. Read the DREAM Act, it says nothing about “free schooling”:

  • 5 CL Walker // Jan 23, 2010 at 8:06 pm

    I think the wake up call to ALL Democrats with the Mass. Mess. will ultimately be a good thing for Democrats and left leaning progressive candidates.

    Democrats STILL HAVE A MAJORITY..they just must use it like Republicans do/did and will again if Democrats DO NOT WAKE UP.

  • 6 Reyfeo // Jan 24, 2010 at 2:30 am

    The DA allows for loans and grants to 18 year olds (not of legal residency due their parents) who pursue college, again despite being not of legal residency…if they fail to complete a two year degree (minimum) they go back to being of illegal status (or what ever status the were before they started)…if they never graduate (and stats show low grad rates) how do you suppose we recover this money, loans or otherwise?—ie free money for college and a back door to amnesty.

    Also, my issue with the Dream Act is it’s a catalyst for many crossing desert borders (ie putting families in serious jeopardy) to try and get here for this entitlement and what amounts to back door amnesty for their kids…I think its TOTAL hypocrisy of you and many of your liberal friends who put water out in the desert to save lives when you should strip entitlements like this that drives the migration to begin with. How many kids must die in the desert before you realize these are the things that drive them here to begin with?

  • 7 Pensativo // Jan 25, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    It is unfortunate that so many of the Democrat Latino elected officials toe the Party line apparently without much thought as to whether the positions supported truly benefit or mirror American Latino culture, customs and tradition, and even more importantly who those positions truly benefit. Moreover I never hear or read any discussions about the larger geopolitical issue which I assert is at the core of the immigration issue in America: the middle east conflict.

    In fact, ultimately regardless of party affiliation, almost all elected officials seem to have to pay their tributes to Israel, a state which treats its “brown” population like cattle, and is subjecting Palestinians to a “Holocaust” for the new millennium.

    And it looks to me, through all of the mainstream media that Israel owns and mainstream media which is sympathetic to Israel, which seems to be all of it, that they wants white Americans to sympathize with and relate to Israelis (the white population in the middle east), at the expense of the Palestinians and in America at the expense of Latinos. Isn’t the border fence being built here in the Southwest, meant to be reminiscent of the “separation” wall between Israel and Gaza, basically imprisoning the Palestinians in their own land? Moreover, Obama has made sure (or was he directed) to appoint ardent Zionist supporters of Israel to most of his cabinet posts. As a matter 0f fact, Joe Biden has gleefully declared that he is a Zionist!

    As Latinos we need to wake up to what is truly going around us and in front of our very eyes. Or before long, we’ll awake to find a new mandatory draft that will send our Latino children to go die for more of Israel’s wars.

  • 8 The Weekly Undocument: The State of our Union is Sassy! | UMX | El Machete // Jan 28, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    […] breaks down Brown’s position even more here. It doesn’t sound like “Brown will even be supportive of the DREAM Act” and does […]

  • 9 What the ... // Jan 28, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    The dream act is another costly adjunct to the taxpayer for irresponsible parents. Government health care another , government motors (GM) now runned by the labor cartel, who’s only experience in the car manufacturing business is breaking windshields and flattening tires. If you believe government should be responsible for your needs, you deserve socialism. There is a cost and price to freedom, it is the act of being responsible and learning to become independent. Part of the cost of freedom is personal responsibility. Unfortunately for Coakley, healthcare is not a right unless you believe in socialism…

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