For Latino voters, 2010 election may prove to be even more historic than 2008

LatinaLista — Ever since the first doomsday polling predictions were published forecasting low or non-existent Latino voter turnout at the polls in two weeks, non-Latinos have believed them.

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Come to find out that the hope was that Latino voters would believe them too. In fact, to make sure Latinos believed them, one group decided to spell it out for Latino voters by bluntly telling them not to vote.

But anyone knows that the surest way to get someone to do the opposite of what you want is to tell them not to do it.

As a result of being insulted by an ad that clearly had a partisan agenda, Latino voters of all ages are now conscientious that somebody doesn’t want Latinos to vote. Whether out of spite, defiance or civic duty, it’s clear that more Latinos will show up at the polls on Nov. 2.

Yet, unlike in 2008 when turnout was fueled by excitement and, yes, hope, there’s not the same degree of voter emotion around this election — though it’s very clear that this election, compared to 2008, warrants even more emotion.

Latino voters need to be emotional about this election because if more extreme GOP and Tea Party candidates win, Latinos lose out.

The easiest example is in Nevada with recent statements made by Tea Party-backed candidate, Sharron Angle. In addressing Latino students last week, Angle remarked that she didn’t really know if they were Latino because they looked Asian to her. She then proceeded to tell the students that the immigration ads, she had been called out on by immigrant rights groups, really referred to illegal immigration from across the Canadian border.

Since then, her camp has been on the defensive in avoiding the students’ request for an apology. A supporter of Angle’s even attacked the students.

Heidi Harris – who has identified herself at a recent forum as the “official defender of Sharron Angle,” – went on MSNBC and called the students “racist” and repeatedly used air quotes when she said the word “Hispanic” to describe them. She also asserted that Angle should not apologize to the students she offended because her Mexican grandchildren give her carte blanche to talk about Latinos in any way she wants.

Other Tea Party and hard-right GOP candidates have also targeted issues that are now, rightly or wrongly, synonymous with the Latino electorate. From immigration enforcement and the DREAM Act to English as the official language, racial profiling and birthright citizenship, each issue is being attacked or expanded upon by these candidates with one thought in mind — to limit opportunities for Latinos.

Though the natural argument, and it’s one that is constantly voiced by these politicians, that they are targeting undocumented immigrants and not Latino citizens, we’ve already seen that Latino citizens get caught up in the dragnet of enforcement with no apology or initial belief from law enforcement that the Latino citizen is telling the truth.

If these kinds of candidates get into office, who have a presumption of guilt when it comes to all brown-skinned Latinos and perpetuate these types of targeted policies, then the notion of a free country ceases to be the case for these Latinos and their families who will be constantly on the defensive and worried for their loved ones’ safety.

All the pollsters have loudly proclaimed that the GOP, and possibly, Tea Party candidates will win their elections.

They won’t win if Latino voters understand the consequences that await if people are voted into office who are as ignorant about Latinos as they are about the U.S. Constitution.

There may not be any enthusiasm or hope to fuel this Latino voter turnout, but fear and anger should be enough to drive Latinos to the polls.

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