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Two Factors Forebode Clinton Loss in Texas: Young Latino Voters and Machismo


Where’s Hillary?
It’s been a common question bandied among several Texas-based Latino bloggers and myself. All of us live outside, what I dub, the “Clinton Corridor” — that southern strip of the state that straddles the Mexican border on one side and runs just shy of major cities outside San Antonio and El Paso, and where the Clinton campaign seems to have hunkered down while campaigning in anticipation of the March 4 Texas Primary.

(Source: New York Daily News)
Since arriving in the state, she has basically stayed in the southern region, and who can blame her?
It’s only there that she seems to hold the same kind of court that Obama has been able to do in Dallas, Houston and Austin. The few times she has made it north were not happy times for the campaign, and her poor showing outside of the “Clinton Corridor” doesn’t spell success for her or her team.

Though Obama’s campaign can hardly be described as aggressive, Clinton is clearly showing that she prefers to stay in those sectors of the state where she feels most at home.
When she has ventured para el norte (northward), it was not happy times for her since it was on her watch that a Dallas motorcycle police officer was killed while escorting her to a Dallas rally in a bank parking lot. Because of that unfortunate accident, her Fort Worth rally, scheduled for the same day, was understandably cancelled.
Yet so far, that one time has been the only time Clinton has bothered to personally campaign in North Texas. To be fair, Obama has only been to North Texas once as well but his rallies give his supporters much more face time with him and more comfortable venues (Obama has been holding his rallies in indoor event facilities) than Clinton’s campaign has done outside the corridor.
But the state has been blanketed with Bill, Chelsea and other high-profile supporters of Senator Clinton to urge people to vote for her — all the while, she stays in South Texas to further seal her support.
She may wish that she would have traveled more throughout the state.
It’s common knowledge that Clinton doesn’t stray far from the southern Texas base because of the loyalty she is counting on from Latinos who live there. But party/candidate loyalty is the hallmark of a past generation of Latinos.
While it’s true that the majority living in South Texas are Latinos: Brownsville is 91.3% Latino; Edinburg – 88.7%; El Paso – 76.6%; Laredo – 94.1%, the fact that is escaping the Clinton campaign is that Hispanic eligible voters are younger than white or black eligible voters. That means that 31% of Hispanic eligible voters are between the ages of 18-29.
A lot of these young voters are first-time voters and given their age and how Obama’s campaign is being credited for motivating this age group to get involved in politics, it stands to reason that a vast majority of young Texas Latino voters will be casting their votes for Clinton’s opponent.
Now, the rationale in the Clinton campaign may be, well, we’ve got their parents and grandparents’ votes. Something that is not talked about enough is that for many older Latino voters, this election will be their first to vote as well.
Some may remember Bill Clinton and his time in office, others may identify with Dolores Huerta, a prominent Latina icon of migrant farmworkers’ rights, but for many for whom this is their first election to vote in, there won’t necessarily be any kind of loyalty felt towards a party or a person.
Not to mention, that with these young voters getting involved and being enthusiastic about their candidate, they are bringing their message home to their families – their padres, abuelos, tios. Chances are they are making a case for Obama.
For an older person who only knows they don’t like Bush or his policies, and is proud of their son/daughter or grandchild for taking an interest in politics, it’s not such a long shot to think that the older members of the family, with no real party affiliation or strong feelings for a particular candidate, will follow the enthusiastic advice of the younger members of the family and vote for the same candidate.
Another aspect of campaigning in South Texas that may not have occurred to the Clinton campaign is that yes, while the majority of Latinos live in that region, they also tend to be more traditional than Latinos who are urbanized.
To be honest, I hadn’t thought about this before because this is the 21st Century but an anecdote I heard today highlighting this sentiment made me realize it’s a strong possibility.
It’s called machismo and those LatinOs who may have admired Bill Clinton wouldn’t vote for his wife because she’s a woman.
How many people feel this way? Hard to tell, especially since many probably wouldn’t admit to it but unfortunately, it does exist — especially in a region that is predominantly rural and adheres to traditional customs more stringently than can be found elsewhere in the state.
In fact, Clinton actually doesn’t have South Texas as much to herself as she thinks she does if a recent incident over a song is any indication.
Dulce Maria Gonzalez, a 21-year-old, local singer/songwriter in Brownsville, Texas is for Clinton and wanted to sing her support for the candidate at a recent rally in South Texas.

Brownsville singer Dulce Maria Gonzalez

“I think that Obama’s speeches are inspiring to a lot of people and he has good points, too,” she said. “I wanted to write a song that would emphasize a difference that Clinton never talks about — that she’s a woman. Women look a lot at the details that men often don’t notice, and I think the details make a big difference.”

In what is supposed to be Clinton country, the treatment of Dulce since she sang her song “We Need a Woman,” has been anything but supportive. Dulce’s MySpace page was filled with negative comments and where ever she goes people want to debate her on her choice of supporting Clinton.
Her endorsement of Clinton has even affected her job prospects — all for exercising her right to support the candidate of her choice — in the heart of the Clinton Corridor.

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  • Jax
    February 25, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    Hillary is done. Tonight’s news has Obama ahead in Texas.
    What we are now seeing is nothing more than the dying gasps of her candidacy.
    By the way Maria, should we now start to divide according to nationality? I’m Irish and we have great numbers in this country–how about the Polish? My wife’s family came from that country. I know many citizens of Italian heritage who also vote.
    You are becoming divisive and that is precisely what so many U.S. citizens resent. We hear enough Spanish while shopping at WalMart.

  • adriana
    February 25, 2008 at 7:35 pm

    It is ironic that you show a picture of Hillary with a child in a charro/mariachi outfit given the latest shenanigans today circulating the photo of Barack Obama in Kenyan garb.
    As for Hillary camping out in South Texas, I can only hope that she stays there and doesn’t return to NY in the Senate. She’s putting all of her huevos in one basket… the rest of the lonestar state doesn’t matter… much like those 10 states that she has lost in a row.

  • laura
    February 25, 2008 at 11:00 pm

    Dulce is a beautiful young woman and she has a good point: the details make a big difference.
    But for me, the Iraq war is no detail. It is the biggest, most, most horrendous, and most unimaginably cruel part of the Bush legacy. And Clinton said she doesn’t regret she voted for it.
    What about the Iraqi women and their children ? Their grandchildren ? Their husbands and fathers and brothers ?
    As long as Clinton continues to insist that her career – for whose sake she cast that vote – is more important than the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, I am not sorry to see her lose.

  • blaze
    February 26, 2008 at 9:15 am

    I have scanned many progressive sites and I have to admit that I have rarely seen such virulent rhetoric as Obama supporters spout about Hillary. I begin to think they would rather vote George Bush back in rather than vote for Hillary. They even accuse her of “trying to split the party” even though, as Barack himself said, Hillary’s supporters will support him, but he doesn’t think his supporters will support Hillary. So young Dulce faces the firing squad.
    Laura, Hillary obviously thought there were WMD in Iraq. Read her speech at the time and you will see that she demanded that Bush keep his pledge and get UN approval of any invasion. She called for continued inspections and voted for the Iraq resolution to put teeth into those inspections. When asked if she regrets the decision, she has said that she does many times. You are just perpetuating the “conventional wisdom”.
    Meanwhile, the Progressives have been long been excoriating Congress for not simply stopping the war funding as a way to end the conflict. They cry that they are betrayed by Pelosi and Reid. Barack Obama has consistently voted to continue the funding but that doesn’t seem to matter to his flock. Once you’re in the big house, it’s harder to take that principled stand that he had when it didn’t really matter.

  • Daniel Jarvis
    February 26, 2008 at 10:01 am

    Sen Clinton will never win among the Hispanics male voters simply because hispanic males generally regard women as a lesser human being.

  • Esteban
    February 26, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    As to Dulce’s MySpace page, frankly, some of the college-age Obama supporters tend to be a bunch of angry twits. It’s no different than the flame wars on Youtube skateboard videos.
    It’s unfortunate that people are not allowed to have a choice between two excellent Dem candidates without being targeted by personality cultists.
    Everyone blamed Kerry for not fighting hard enough to win his election. Now they want HRC to roll over and die.
    They say she’s vicious while Obama is “above the fray.”
    For eight years in the White House, both Clinton’s were ‘above the fray,’ staying focused on policy and never responding to the reams of vicious slurs heaped upon them.
    And look what that ‘above the fray’ style got them.
    Now it’s considered fair to slime any Clinton, while even the tiniest perceived slight against Obama, or even a choice for the other candidate, brings out the rabid freak cultists.
    Total logic disconnect.

    February 26, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    The Iraqi war was approved by many people, including Hillary, for reasons that were not fully factual. But, now that we have taken on the roll of fighting radical Islamic forces that have all intentions of destroying everything that is connected to the Western World, we must complete the job at hand and at whatever cost. If the U.S. were to tuck tail and run away now it would not take very much time before radical Islam would be back with another terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Personally, fighting them over there is a lot better than having to fight them on American soil and at the cost of civilian American lives.

  • Marisa Treviño
    February 26, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    Daniel, While I admit that machismo is alive and well with some Latino males, it’s still a minority within the Latino population itself. I think your summation of male attitudes towards women speaks for some men across the board — regardless of their ethnicity.

  • American Dolt
    February 27, 2008 at 12:17 am

    “The Iraqi war was approved by many people, including Hillary, for reasons that were not fully factual. But, now that we have taken on the roll of fighting radical Islamic forces that have all intentions of destroying everything that is connected to the Western World, we must complete the job at hand and at whatever cost. If the U.S. were to tuck tail and run away now it would not take very much time before radical Islam would be back with another terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Personally, fighting them over there is a lot better than having to fight them on American soil and at the cost of civilian American lives.”

  • Frank
    February 27, 2008 at 7:59 am

    Uh Marisa, I thought profanity wasn’t going to be tolerated in your blog?

  • DarlaMc
    February 27, 2008 at 8:51 am

    “The people in this stadium need to know who we’re going to fight for,” Obama said at Soldier Field. “The reason that I’m running for president is because of you, not because of folks who are writing big checks, and that’s a clear message that has to be sent, I think, by every candidate.”
    Senator Obama- these look like big checks to me-

  • Marisa Treviño
    February 27, 2008 at 11:06 am

    You’re right, Frank. AD’s comment got past our reviewers here. We apologize. We’ve deleted the entire paragraph since he made his point in the first paragraph.
    And for AD, though I don’t censor difference of opinion, there is no room on this site for the use of profanity to make a point. In fact, you lost your point once you resorted to expressing frustration with those words. Words matter, as we all know.

    February 27, 2008 at 11:24 am

    Dolt, which tribe are you from, Shite or Sunni? Or maybe you are just a paying member of CAIR or some other radical Islamic organization. Maybe you are one of those crazed conspiracy freaks that believe the Trade Towers were brought down by our own government. Ever hear of Bin Laden or Taliban who have threatened to bring down all of Western civilization as instructed in their Koran. Wake up. pull your head out of your ass and face some cold hard facts. We are in a war in the Middle East, not America, because of radical Islamic forces that have no reguard for human life. With so much bile and anger spewing from your mouth, maybe you could try to make a point instead of ranting about what you fail to understand.
    Get my point, Marisa? Perhaps you can better monitor those that come to your blog with vulgarity and have no respect for you or the other grown-ups participating in these discussions.

  • Evelyn
    February 27, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    Words do matter. Some in here have learned the hard way. It’s terrible when people demonize Hispanics with words, especially when they are lies.

  • Frank
    February 27, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    It is also terrible to demonize law abiding Americans who want our immigration laws enforced and lie and say that this is only about HIspanics to them and then call then them racists for it. It is also terrible to attack the whole white race. Pot, kettle, black.

  • cristinas
    February 29, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    Blacks like Tavis Smiley, are being threatened! Obama has thugs working for him! Is that what we want? Thugs in the White House!
    Black Commenter, Criticizing Obama, Causes Firestorm
    By Darryl Fears
    Tavis Smiley, the bestselling author of the “Covenant With Black America,” is in a world turned upside down. He said he’s being “hammered,” “barbecued,” and is “catching hell” from black Americans for suggesting that Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) made a major mistake by declining to speak at the State of the Black Union event that Smiley plans to host next week in New Orleans.
    “There’s all this talk of hater, sellout and traitor,” Smiley said to me in a telephone interview. Smiley even mentioned getting death threats, but wouldn’t elaborate. He said his office has been flooded with angry e-mails. “I have family in Indianapolis. They are harassing my momma, harassing my brother. It’s getting to be crazy,” Smiley said.

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