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Today’s primaries serve as a good litmus test on just how angry are Latino voters

LatinaLista — It might just be any other Tuesday in most of the nation, but for the people of Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Oklahoma and Vermont today is voting day.

miami.jpgYet, the two state primaries that have garnered the most attention are Arizona and Florida. Not so much for their high-profile roster of men and women running for public office but for the tactics of some candidates to invoke an issue that just can’t be used enough these days by politicians who think uttering the words “illegal immigrants” is their ticket to a sure win.

Miami voters go to the polls for today’s primary election.
(Photo: Miami Herald)

Tonight’s results will be a good litmus test to see just how receptive the American public is to candidates who rely on Chicken Little politics to get them into office.

Unfortunately, hand in hand with that kind of politicking is negative campaigning. How can a politician convince people the sky is falling — or in this case, the country is being invaded — unless he/she creates fear in voters when it comes to choosing between themselves and their opponents?

Well, some experts in Arizona think the political campaigning went too far this time.

Judy Whitney of Tempe said the attack ads this campaign season were the worst she could remember in her 55 years in Arizona. She called out one campaign ad for being “rude, crude and uncalled for.”

Other experts felt that the extreme negativity of the campaign coupled with the extreme heat will be enough to keep voters away.

When it comes to Latino voters, I certainly hope that’s not the case.

In both Florida and Arizona, Latino voters need to come out and vote for several reasons. Aside from it being their civic duty, a good Latino turnout would illustrate an unified displeasure with politicians scapegoating undocumented immigrants just to win political office.

Secondly, a strong Latino voter turnout would underscore the poll power of the Latino constituency.

And thirdly, a strong Latino voter turnout would be a good indication of just how angry and tired Latinos are of being the political targets of shallow-minded candidates.

If the Latino voter turnout is weak in Arizona and Florida — two states whose politicians specifically targeted the Latino community — then what kind of hope does that give to the rest of the Latino electorate who live in states whose legislators are just waiting to see if tonight’s results serve as any kind of referendum on the illegal immigration issue before deciding on what to do in their own states — and taking on their own local Latinos?

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