I came across this article today in the Las Vegas Sun about Latino leaders in Nevada considering the formation of an independent grassroots group or a possible third party.
“The idea, born of frustration over the party’s inaction on immigration reform and fears that as a voting bloc they’re a political afterthought, Latino leaders have discussed the idea among themselves locally and in conference calls with colleagues across the country.
The unlikely model for the movement they would like to launch is the Tea Party — not in substance, of course, but in its grass-roots organizational style. Acknowledging the source of their inspiration, Latino leaders have dubbed the proposed movement the “Tequila Party.”
These Hispanic leaders have noticed that while the Tea Party has had spotty electoral success, it has called attention to its concerns and values and put the establishment on notice.”
The idea of a third party to help push issues beyond where the Democratic and Republican Parties stand, especially in regards to immigration, is a valid one. However, I’m not so keen on the “tequila party” label, which carries with it many of the existing stereotypes and feelings about our community and its relationship to the alcohol industry. So I would consider another name for this movement.
The notion that the current two party system isn’t working well for Latinos has been explored before on this blog. Most recently, Pablo Manriquez covered it in his piece, Latinos Vilified by Republicans and Ignored by Democrats. And of course, in some states like California, nearly two-thirds of Latino likely registered voters identify as Democrats, but they are pretty evenly split in terms of identifying themselves as liberals, middle of the road, or conservatives. So even in Nevada’s neighboring state, there might be some room on the political landscape for such a third party to better represent our community’s needs.
My inclination is to make the grassroots third party group more of a competitor with the traditional issue organizations such as the National Council of La Raza and LULAC. This could be a starting point to really challenge the existing groups and leadership that we have. The Latino issue organizations are largely funded by corporate monies, and recent studies show that many in the community don’t even know who leads them. Furthermore, this could allow the independent grassroots group to play both parties in more local races, meaning if there is a GOPer who is more moderate or amenable to the community’s needs, the grassroots group could funnel resources there. I sense that right now the third party group would more likely be pushing Democrats though given that so many in the GOP have switched to more hard-line positions on immigration (see Senator McCain for example).
What are your thoughts on the “tequila party” idea?