LatinaLista — Ever since last week’s Senate vote for Sotomayor, where only 9 Republican Senators — 4 of which will be retiring at the end of 2010 –, articles, blog posts and cable news shows have been talking about whether or not the Republicans who voted against Sotomayor will feel the wrath of Latino voters.
Now, it would be petty to think that Latino voters would extract any kind of “an eye-for-an-eye” if someone didn’t vote for Sotomayor because they honestly felt she wasn’t the right person for the job. However, when several Republican senators, who let it be known they were on “the fence” regarding their vote, suddenly declared their opposition to Sotomayor only after the National Rifle Association threatened to score against them for voting for her, well, their actions certainly don’t endear Latino voters to them.
In fact, if people entrusted with the public trust to represent them are so blatant as to pick and choose whom they want to represent, it’s only fair that Latinos help get those politicians elected who want to represent Latinos in Congress.
If Republicans were worried about any backlash, they don’t have to anymore — it’s already begun.
Before a sold-out audience in San Antonio last weekend, comedian George Lopez reminded his audience of how Republicans voted against Sotomayor and repeated several times to his audience that Latinos would not be voting for those Republicans in upcoming elections.
It’s not a threat given the latest research that shows Latinos are finally understanding how to play this juego (game) called politics.
It was known that in the 2008 presidential election, voters of color turned out in higher numbers. An analysis done by the US Census and released last month reported that among Latinos, 2 million more Latino voters turned out to vote in the 2008 presidential election.
But what does 2 million really mean?
A newly released fact sheet done by the Immigration Policy Center sheds light on that question. Researchers compared the Current Population Survey data on voters in 2004 and 2008 and found that 2 million more voters is extremely significant when it comes to predicting future trends among a group of people who are experiencing a continually heightened awareness of the value of political clout.
The Immigration Policy Center found that the number of Latino voters increased by 28.4%, or 2.2 million–from 7.6 million in 2004 to 9.8 million in 2008.
Among all voters of color, it was the most significant increase — Asian voters increased by 21.3%, blacks by 15.1% and non-Latino white voters by only a paltry .5%.
The personal outrage felt by the majority of Latinos against those Republicans who voted against Sotomayor should not be underestimated. The outrage exists even as Republicans don’t believe it.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Tx., disputed the notion that latino voters, who voted 2 to 1 for Obama over McCain in 2008, might be reluctant to support Republicans in next year’s midterm elections based on the Sotomayor vote.
“I think that’s just Democratic cheerleading,” he said.
The outrage is being discussed among people on listserves, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, in cafes, churches and clubs. The realization that Republicans were willing to make a political statement over doing what was right, at the expense of the Latino community, is dawning on the masses.
As well as the knowledge that the Latino community is moving towards a direction where it can do something about it.
The following YouTube clip is a recording of the George Lopez HBO special where he voices the outrage felt by Latinos over the Sotomayor vote: