LatinaLista — As was seen in the Texas primary, Latino voters are a significant voting bloc. Both Clinton and Obama can cite support from Latino voters as factors in their electoral gains in their respective bids for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Yet, just as Latinos are not a homogenous group, not all Latinos are Democrats and not all Latinos necessarily agree with the platforms of either Obama or Clinton.
(Source: LA Times)
So that leaves John McCain.
A man who at one time sponsored a bill on immigration reform and now can’t seem to distance himself far enough from it.
A man who has always been perceived to be a friend to the Latino community and now â€” is strangely silent.
A man who needs to carry 50 percent of the Latino vote if he wants to be President.
The Republican presidential nominee John McCain is no stranger to Latinos. After all, he’s been a resident and political representative of Arizona, a state with 40 percent of its population Latino, since the early 80s.
Because of his constituents, he knows Latinos. Yet, as reporters from the LA Times recently discovered, McCain knows that to win his longshot bid to become president he has to appear to be supportive of Latino issues while remaining true to the traditional conservative base that comprise his party.
McCain vowed to compete in states Republicans have written off and to reach out to “communities of all ethnic backgrounds and income levels.”
Before his victory Tuesday night, McCain told reporters it was time to broaden the campaign beyond the narrow scope of the Republican primaries. “We will contest every constituency in America — whether they be workers; whether they be Hispanic, whether they be African American — we’re competing for their vote.”
In recent days, McCain has frequently emphasized that he will try to win California. His advisors believe his work on the controversial immigration legislation that included a path to citizenship for many of the nation’s illegal immigrants will provide an inroad to Latino voters, particularly in the Golden State.
The only thing is that if McCain does tout his work on the immigration legislation he also needs to make clear that he no longer supports it.
He now says that “we’ve got to secure the borders first,” and that he would vote against his own comprehensive immigration bill if it came to the Senate floor.
While it’s true that not all Latinos identify with immigration reform as an issue important for them, it does still resonate for a significant number of US citizen Latinos who realize that renegade state legislators trying to drive out undocumented immigrants are impacting their lives as well.
For that reason, immigration reform is not just an issue for undocumented immigrants. The rhetoric McCain’s campaign has been delivering about securing the border first, before thinking of immigration reform, is pretty much a moot point in light of the Texans who have been actively challenging the Department of Homeland Security over the building of the border fence along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Concessions have already been made in utilizing technology and more manpower, in conjunction with incorporating the suggestions of landowners who live along the border region, in creating a system that secures our borders.
What’s left is to honestly discuss how the immigration system will be reformed and the plight of 12 million people who live in limbo and are being persecuted on a daily basis will be addressed.
But it’s a type of honesty that the Republicans have been sidestepping.
They think by creating a diverse gender ticket attention will be diverted from the polarizing issue of immigration. It’s being reported that some members of the Republican party, in an apparent bid to combat the diversity of the Democratic ticket, are urging McCain to choose a female running mate.
The two most mentioned women are Texas’ Kay Bailey Hutchison and North Carolina’s Elizabeth Dole. Yet, why not a woman of color? Why not a Latina Republican?
There are several who come to mind who would make notable contributions to the Republican ticket. Yet, Latinas or blacks or any other woman of color don’t seem to be on the radar of the Republican Party.
By having a woman vice-presidential candidate, Republicans are hoping to be perceived as a party that is as “with it” as an Obama or Clinton ticket. The only trouble is they’re still seeing in monochromatic.
It’s time the Republican ticket reflected the diversity they claim to support.
If putting a white woman on a ticket with a white man is the biggest step towards diversity that they can muster, then as conscientious voters, Latino Republicans owe it to themselves to ask Republican party leaders, “Why?”
Otherwise, it’s pretty clear that nothing has really changed in the Republican Party where political lip-service to sway voters is considered good politics and a strategy to “maintain” support among a group whose turn at top party leadership won’t come any time soon.