Is the “Tequila Party” the Latino response to the Tea Party?

November 28th, 2010 · 5 Comments

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?

Tags: Democratic Party · GOP · Immigration · John McCain · LULAC · National Council of La Raza · Republican Party

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Tweets that mention Is the “Tequila Party” the Latino response to the Tea Party? -- // Nov 28, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by LatinoPolitics and Mark Sawyer, Corey Carrasco. Corey Carrasco said: RT @LatinoPolitics: Is the “Tequila Party” the Latino response 2 the Tea Party?: #teaparty #immigration shout out @ … […]

  • 2 Anna // Nov 28, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    Re: ” I’m not so keen on the “tequila party” label, which carries with it many of the existing stereotypes ”

    I agree. That label is stupid. But I’m in favor of creating a third party. Has Obama worked the phones for The Dream Act?

  • 3 WhatThe.. // Nov 29, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    So you begin a new party that short changes you at the start. You eliminate and alienate the rest of the country by telling them they don’t belong, unless of course, your Latino. A recipe for disaster, hypocritical and racist in nature. To boot, you stereotype our heritage by using “Tequila” to describe the party. What brilliance and originality. Do you really believe anyone will take your platform seriously? It doesn’t take much to understand why this sector of Latinos vilified by Republicans and ignored by Democrats.

  • 4 Tracy // Nov 30, 2010 at 6:39 am

    Good post. Agreed that the “Tequila Party” name is incredibly foolish. It would perhaps be humorous if it were a Saturday Night Live skit or a standup comedian’s joke, if it were simply satire like an article on The Onion — but the fact that this is for real is not funny.

    I do understand the desire for an alternate party to really champion our causes. The two party system is broken. Dems and Repubs simply play politics rather than properly represent their constituents, and this prevents things from getting done.

    That being said, I think another party only divides liberals and makes it easier for conservatives to win elections – so in the end, it’s not a good solution. Also, a political party founded on the concept of unifying a race/ethnicity will only alienate others and unify xenophobes who will more easily push the idea that Latinos are “taking over the country”.

    Perhaps the solution is not MORE political parties, but the abolishment of political parties altogether.

  • 5 WhatThe.. // Nov 30, 2010 at 11:08 am

    You hit the nail on the head Tracy, I’ve been saying this for years. Their is a reason Americans don’t have true leadership choices thru the two party system, because their is no difference between the two. Both parties must appease to all political spectrums in order to stay in power, at the expense of true political philosophy. John Adams, the second president of the United States and Founding Father of the Constitution once said, “a division of the republic into two great parties is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution”. He and other Founding Fathers, believed that political parties would breakdown the system of this new country, and that candidates for high office should be chose based on their own beliefs of what is best for the country. In other words, ‘a political party system’ had no value, but for the ‘political party’ itself, which inturn, would lead to corruption at the expense of true representation of the people.

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