LatinaLista — A recent open letter from one group of Latino Republicans to another exposed, yet again, the differences that exist within the Latino community. We may share the same umbrella label but there are distinct “handles” that prove time and time again the Latino population is much more complex than saying we are a group united by the Spanish language — something which isn’t even true among third, fourth, etc. generations.
In the letter from Arizona-based Somos Repubicans, whose members are mainly comprised of Mexican-Americans, the group challenged the actions of their Cuban and Puerto Rican Republican hermanos and hermanas regarding their endorsement of Mitt Romney.
In part, the letter read:
The overwhelming vote of Cuban Americans and Puerto Ricans for anti-Latino immigrant Mitt Romney should open the eyes of conservative Latino Republicans not belonging to the Cuban and Puerto Rican communities, to the fact that we do not count on their support for our political, economic/business agenda, and thus, they should not count on us, except on a previously negotiated basis on which we, Mexican Americans, hold our votes and power in the hands of our own leadership.
While it would make things politically convenient if all Latinos believed, endorsed and supported the same candidates and issues — not to mention it would solidify Latino political influence in this country — the fact of the matter is it isn’t that way nor has it ever been.
Yet before anyone gets the wrong idea that Latinos aren’t politically united on any issue, a survey done by national pollsters, Latino Decisions, shows there is reason to believe that we are more alike than we are different:
Contrary to the view that Latinos are too diverse to share a common politics, there are some issues where the group coalesces. There is substantial agreement across many distinct segments within the Latino population (generational cohort, state, national origin, party) on matters related to identity politics.
The #1 example is the DREAM Act.
Among the three major Latino subgroups, 58 percent of Cubans; 52 percent of Puerto Ricans; and 69 percent of Mexicans strongly support the DREAM Act. Of those who “somewhat support” it: Cubans- 16 percent; Puerto Ricans- 38 percent and Mexicans at 18 percent.
There are other issues that also unite Latinos, regardless of where their families originated. These issues deal with education, the economy, jobs, social security, elder care and the list goes on — issues that are no different than any other American voter.
In their final appraisal of their survey results, Latino Decision authors highlighted a reality within the Latino electorate that is as true as the fact that not all Latinos are the same.
The data show Latino voters in Republican, Democratic and swing states alike are motivated by group-specific concerns. Republicans cannot count on low Latino voter turnout as part of a winning strategy. Democrats cannot assume Latino support to lead them to victory either.