On Tuesday evening, there was a Latino leadership call hosted by the DNC with former Secretary of Transportation and Energy Federico Peña, the chair of the DNC Tim Kaine, actress/activist Eva Longoria, and President Obama. The overall message was to push the Latino Get Out the Vote (GOTV) message.
The call began with Federico Peña who stressed that people should try to encourage everyone they know who is registered to vote. He also talked about voting early if possible and mentioned two websites for people to find their polling place and to vote early raiseyourvote.com and votarespoder.com. These sites are basically the same — except one is in English and the other in Spanish.
DNC Chairman and former Virginia Governor Tim Kaine followed Peña. He acknowledged that this is a critical election where some races will be won or lost based on the Latino vote. He also threw in some terms in Spanish. Kaine’s Spanish is pretty good because he did missionary work with the Jesuits in Honduras while in law school. He talked about the Democrats’ support of comprehensive immigration reform, the DREAM Act, the fact that members of the party decried both SB 1070 and the idea that the constitution should be redrafted to eliminate birthright citizenship. He also mentioned that Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell said that the single most important thing for the Republicans to do would be to make sure that President Obama is a one term president, meaning that their top goal isn’t anything legislative but rather to obstruct the President’s agenda.
After Kaine spoke, actress Eva Longoria addressed the listeners reminding people who came out to vote in 08 that they were part of a movement for change and that these political participants knew that the task wasn’t easy. Longoria said that Latinos will have to turn out as they did two years ago. She basically said that the Democrats have proven that they are the ones who can move our communities forward, as evidenced by their commitment to health care reform. Longoria stressed that people have to stand with the President next week by voting for the Democrats.
Finally, President Obama got on the line, and he acknowledged that there still was a lot of work to do. He said that our country had finally reached a point where the fundamental promise of America was at risk (referring to the American dream and the pursuit of happiness). He basically talked up the Democratic ticket and the importance of voting on Tuesday. Giving a nod to immigration, he did say that when millions of immigrants are undocumented that it is not just a “Latino problem” but is instead an American problem. I thought that President Obama repeated a lot of the same themes he did at the rally in Los Angeles last week.
Overall, the Latino leadership call was a general “hype up the Democrats” and GOTV message. We’ll know next week if efforts like this have paid off in our community. On the GOP side, it looks like the Latino community is going to make some representative gains in high visibility races in New Mexico, Nevada, and Florida.