Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Palabra Final > Politics > With the advent of more Latino politicians running for office, “being Hispanic” is no longer sufficient to attract votes

With the advent of more Latino politicians running for office, “being Hispanic” is no longer sufficient to attract votes

LatinaLista — There has been an inordinate amount of press lately trying to distinguish the difference between when is a Hispanic a Hispanic or a Latino.
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To add our two cents, it boils down to personal preference.
Yet, there is a far more interesting trend arising among Latinos (personal preference) which is only accelerating a debate beginning to form in communities as more and more Latinos enter public office — Is it right for Latino candidates to appeal to Hispanic voters using their ethnicity?
The question has never really been a big problem in the past since there were so few Latinos running for political office. Those who did run were pretty much in sync with their local communities. In other words, they shared the same political beliefs and cultures.
And for the most part, those local communities were largely homogenous — Cuban Americans in South Florida, Puerto Ricans in New York, Mexican Americans in the Southwest, west coast, etc.
Yet, because of assimilation and Hispanic population growth, Latino groups are really starting to integrate in numbers never before seen.

We know this from what we’re seeing happening in counties across the country.
According to Pew Hispanic, from 2000-2007 in Camden County, North Carolina, there was a 241 percent growth rate in the Hispanic population.
In Palm Beach County, Florida, there was a 56 percent growth rate in the local Latino population and in Broward County, Florida a 52 percent growth rate.
It is more obvious in Florida, than in other parts of the country, of the integration of different Latino groups that is evolving on a national scale. It’s reported that the Cubans’ share of the Hispanic electorate has shrunk from 75 percent in 2000 to 58 percent in 2008.
What does this mean?
It means that not all these Latino subgroups share the same political beliefs or even the same party and electing a Latino candidate, from an integrated area, to public office doesn’t mean that person will necessarily represent the political beliefs of all the Latinos in her/his region.
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Marco Rubio
For example, in Miami, former Florida State Representative Marco Rubio is running for the 2010 State Senate. Rubio who is Cuban American and fully bilingual would appear to represent the voice of Latino constituents. He may but certainly not all of them.
Rubio supports making English the official language of the United States — while he campaigns in Spanish. Of course, it’s hypocritical of Rubio to do so but he knows to reach voters who most identify with him that he has to speak the language they most like to use, which in that part of Florida is Spanish.
Rubio has been accused by critics of hoping “to appeal to Florida’s Hispanic voters simply because he is Hispanic” and it would appear that way. Otherwise, why not campaign in English and English only if he feels English should be the official language of the country?
Rubio’s underscores an accusation long hurled at the Latino community — that we tend to vote for candidates on the roster based less on qualifications and more on whether or not they share our culture.
With so many Latino subgroups integrated into the same communities and more Latinos running for political office, that accusation will be increasingly harder to make because as time goes on there will be more of a choice among Latino candidates which will necessitate the need to look beyond ethnicity and actually determine what kind of Latino/a he/she is.

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  • cookie
    June 17, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    The Latino growth in this country is mostly due to illegal immigration. I wouldn’t be bragging about that as an American citizen.
    You prove a good point for non-assimilation by Latinos for me. Many Latinos prefer to use Spanish rather than English no matter how long they have been here. No politician should feel the need to reach any American in any other language than English. Glad this guy is at least in favor of making English our official language which has been our national language since its founding.

  • Texan123
    June 18, 2009 at 10:25 am

    Hispanics and Latinos demand bilingual teachers, doctors, health workers, service workers of all kinds. Just because this is a bilingual politician, he should not speak Spanish unless ALL his views represent your personal interests?
    This is nuts. Unless you also ban Hispanic politicians from speaking Spanish when English speaking people are in the audience…..As citizens, we should know what our representitives are saying, without translation.

  • Myriam
    June 18, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    I am not promoting illegal immigration, but I promote diversity because America is a melting pot! One of the most significant cultural changes and source of enrichment to my community of Dublin, Ohio (very homogeneous and wasp) was the arrival of Honda with its Japanese executives and their families. The awareness and understanding of a new culture has placed our community in a very competitive position in business, academics and the arts.
    We should promote experiences with politicians, colleagues or neighbors who are different, so we can become more effective parents, teachers and leaders. This is the only way we can positively impact and change our influence to the rest of the world.

  • Karen
    June 18, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    I’m glad this is happening. I’m tired of one size fits all. I hope this extends to business too. Often the people in charge of advertising to and and reporting on Latinos have Spanish surnames, but have little or nothing in common with the people they’re targeting or describing.

    June 22, 2009 at 10:25 am

    English: The official language of the United States
    21 JUN 09
    The leftist blog site The Wonk Room- recently posted an article attacking U.S. Senatorial candidate Marco Rubio for his support of making English the official language of the United States.
    This article, as well as the cited articles that support the article, are nothing less than laughable. The article is a perfect example of how our left-wing Obama-driven media has completely overdosed on the Messianic juice.
    The overwhelming majority of the ‘legal citizens’ in the United States speak English. All too often, I have to point out an inconvenient truth to our ill-informed liberal friends- they seem to be unaware of the fact that their Socialist friends across the Atlantic all have official languages to which their countries adhere to.
    Spain’s official language is Spanish. France’s official language is…wait for it…FRENCH!!!!!
    If you were to move to France, you will be pressured to learn and speak French. So why can’t we do the same?
    So what is wrong with English being our official language? Don’t we want to be just like the Europeans? Our beloved leader and national fly-swatting champion, President Barack Hussein Obama, recently walked across the pond and proclaimed that he was, ”a citizen of the world”. But when it comes to representing America and making a clear stand for the best of our values and principles that have made our nation a beacon of hope for a darkened world – nahhhh, there’s no time for such trivial things.
    This of course came before President Obama pimp-walked his way back to the ‘old country‘ on his apology tour.
    Let’s review some of the foolish commentary published by our pals in the liberal press. First, New Times blogger Kyle Munzenrieder stated that Marco Rubio was, “not in line with Hispanic and immigrant communities”. Let’s ignore for a second how comical Mr. Munzenrieder’s attempt to magically remove Rubio from his own ethnic background and upbringing is. What’s worse is Munzenrieder’s pathetic attempt tarnish Rubio’ motives for running for Senate, doing so in a most underhanded way. ”Well, along comes Marco Rubio, who hopes to appeal to Florida’s Hispanic voters simply because he is Hispanic,” whines Mr. Munzenrieder.
    Mr.Munzenrieder, do you have one shred of evidence- just one quote from the record- where Marco appeals to Hispanic voters to vote for him simply because of his ethnicity? You must be thinking of Kendrick Meek, who has done just that. But why should the facts stop you from stating otherwise? You’re just a journalist, after all.
    I dare to ask this “expert” on Hispanos (this means Hispanics in Espanol), what he means by this? For those of you who don’t know already know, I am Hispanic-and legal! But for the life of me, I can’t understand what Munzenrieder’s statement about Rubio not supposedly “being in line with Hispanics and immigrants” means. Does this mean that Marco Rubio, thousands of other like-minded Spanish-speakers, and myself should sport sombreros and join a local Mariachi band?
    I think what he’s trying to say is that Mr. Rubio is not in line with the illegal immigration lobby. This is a feeble attempt on my part to ‘dumb it down ‘for you liberals out there. So pay close attention.
    Illegal immigration is just that, illegal! Many Hispanics that are here legally are in favor of a strong and enforced immigration law. Both our Northern and Southern borders need to be sealed using all the means at our disposal. This means would include a fence, stationing the military at the borders, using aerial drones, wild dogs, free standing sniper turrets, quicksand, whatever it takes!
    Unfortunately, we cannot ship back all of the illegals that are already here, at least not simultaneously- but rest assured, deportations will occur once we have shut down our porous borders. The answer to our immigration problem is attrition through enforcement- that means, boys and girls, if we enforce the immigration laws that are already on our books, most illegals will leave on their own. Then we can deal with a much more manageable problem.
    Not only are the illegals draining our social programs, they are directly affecting our economy. What about the unsavory ‘nationals’ that are coming over to do us harm? And let’s not forget about the ones that overstay their visas.
    We are country that believes in the rule of law. I am stand with Senator DeMint and Marco Rubio in enforcing our existing immigration laws and promoting English as the official language of our great country.
    Warmest Regards,
    Javier Manjarres
    CEO, Conservative Republican Alliance
    Join today! Donate!
    CRA,INC IS A 501(c)(4) organization that focuses on advancing conservative principles and values through education and advocacy.
    CRA-PAC is a federal political action committee which helps elect candidates who reflect our core principles and values through a variety of activities aimed at influencing upcoming elections. CRA,Inc and CRA-PAC are two separate organizations. Not authorized by any candidate or candidates committee.

  • CSNoriega
    June 23, 2009 at 11:14 am

    I’ve always been uncomfortable with the idea of blindly supporting a candidate based on ethnicity alone- especially if it means that a candidate with more like-minded values and policies loses support. That’s why I think it’s so important to vote with your heart AND your mind, to educate yourself on the issue before casting your vote. Anytime a Latino is on the ballot versus a non-Latino, I am naturally inclined to give them my vote because I want to see Latinos succeed in public office. But I force myself to scrutinize their platform, and if in the end it means voting for a non-Latino over a Latino I will do so. At the same time, if 2 candidates are very similar I do not think it’s wrong to make the personal decision as a Latino to give preference to a Latino candidate.
    But when it comes to politicians actively seeking the Latino vote, one must tread even more carefully. In the case of Rubio, the following really bothers me:
    “Rubio supports making English the official language of the United States — while he campaigns in Spanish.”
    I don’t understand why Rubio even chooses to take a stand on making English the official language of the U.S. In the scheme of things– it seems like a pretty minor issue to me– so actively supporting it while campaigning in Spanish makes him look like a hypocrite. I don’t know much about him, so I am not going to further criticize, but from an objective standpoint the whole thing looks absurd.

  • Horace
    June 23, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    I stand with you Javier. Americans should not let their country be hijacked by foreign invaders and their liberal citizen conspirators.

  • Tara
    August 31, 2009 at 1:31 am

    remember when O.J. was acquitted by a predominantly black jury–because he was black? voting for someone purely based on their race/gender/ethnicity/whatever is just LAZY.

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