LatinaLista — It used to be whenever states like Alaska, Oklahoma, Ohio, Idaho, etc. were mentioned as having sizable Latino communities, it would immediately evoke a shocked reaction — from both Latinos and non-Latinos. Yet, in this day and age, it should be no surprise that Latinos live all across the country — even in a small town (3,736 pop) called West Liberty, Iowa.
In fact, West Liberty has the distinction of being majority Latino (1,951 pop) versus non-Latino (1,785). It was a fact that didn’t get by CNN when they recently highlighted the city for not having one visit from any of the GOP candidates who were stumping for the Iowa caucus.
Some critics have pointed out why would any GOP candidate stump through a town that’s so small. It’s a fair question, I guess. Yet, there was video footage of a couple of candidates who, with their entourage, outnumbered local turnout at some of the stops. It makes you wonder.
Other critics have pointed out that since most Latinos vote for Democrats it’s another reason why West Liberty wasn’t even on the radar of these politicians. Yet, by assuming that all of these Latino voters are automatically in Obama’s camp is either lousy political advice or a handy excuse for avoiding a constituency who ask questions that force candidates to stray from their rehearsed rhetoric.
You can’t help but think that these candidates fear being asked about their stand on illegal immigration or the DREAM Act, if they’re not surrounded by their sympathetic followers, who interrupt their hardline declarations with cheers and applause.
Yet, these nor any politicians should behave as if Latino voters don’t exist. In addition to possibly missing an opportunity, it takes discrimination to a whole new level to have such disregard for a voting constituency that their presence isn’t even acknowledged.
And if it’s that easy to ignore Latinos while campaigning, it’s even easier to ignore them when holding a position that is supposed to represent all the people, regardless of differences.