Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Palabra Final > Politics > What Can be Learned from Richardson’s Campaign?

What Can be Learned from Richardson’s Campaign?

LatinaLista — Though it was leaked last night that Gov. Richardson would be leaving the presidential race, he made it official today.
In his afternoon farewell speech, he showed the good manners every Latina mother would be proud to see practiced by their son, when he listed one-by-one his opponents and said something nice about each one:

Senator Biden’s passion and intellect are remarkable.
Senator Dodd is the epitome of selfless dedication to public service and the Democratic Party.
Senator Edwards is a singular voice for the most downtrodden and forgotten among us.
Senator Obama is a bright light of hope and optimism at a time of great national unease, yet he is also grounded in thoughtful wisdom beyond his years.
Senator Clinton’s poise in the face of adversity is matched only by her lifetime of achievement and deep understanding of the challenges we face.
Representative Kucinich is a man of great decency and dedication who will faithfully soldier on no matter how great the odds.
And all of us in the Democratic Party owe Senator Mike Gravel our appreciation for his brave leadership during the national turmoil of Vietnam.

Believe it or not, manners still mean a lot to most Latinos.
Though he lost, Richardson exits as a classy guy and will be remembered for doing two things:
1. Holding the world record for the most handshakes in eight hours — 13,392.
2. And something no other candidate had thought to do with the Latino electorate — he didn’t just reach out to Latino voters, he INVOLVED them.
How? With one of the tenets of good manners: a simple invitation.

Richardson’s campaign set up a program they called Mi Familia con Richardson.
The hopes for this grassroots campaign was to directly involve Latinos in his candidacy. The campaign grew through people personally inviting others to join.

Bill Richardson speaks to a family of potential voters.

In addition to recruiting more members for the campaign and help raise money, each member had to commit to do at least five of the following actions between the time they enrolled and the Democratic primary or caucus in their state:

Attend community/neighborhood organization meetings to represent the Richardson for President campaign.
Distribute campaign literature in their neighborhood, at events, and at public gatherings.
Host a debate watch party for Mi Familia con Bill Richardson members or potential members.
Organize new chapters of Mi Familia con Bill Richardson in neighboring communities or at local businesses, organizations, and other appropriate venues.
Volunteer five times at a Richardson for President Headquarters or event.
Submit Letters to the Editor about Bill Richardson to local publications.
Submit blog entries about Bill Richardson to blogs of their choice.
Call radio talks shows on behalf of Bill Richardson.
Collect voter contact information.
Volunteer for voter registration drives and block walking.
Man the phone banks.
Vote or caucus for Bill Richardson.

These kinds of commitments may not seem like a big deal to most people but it can be when it comes to turning more Latinos onto politics.
In a recent exchange with a Dallas reader who wasn’t Latino and who had observed that not many Latinos had stepped up to the plate in local politics or speaking out for the community, I was reminded of what one professional had told me who had researched the poor turnout among Latinos when it comes to volunteerism — “Latinos still wait to be invited but when we are, we give it our all.”
By providing the guidelines for participation, Richardson’s campaign tapped into what we know exists in the Latino community — a willingness to work and be involved.
Unfortunately, too many Mexican-American and South American Latinos lack what American culture so highly values — initiative. They still wait for that personal invitation before they act.
Richardson’s campaigners knew this, and whether coincidence or not, one of Richardson’s idols also knew that to involve Latinos, it has to be personal — in both invitation and cause.
In today’s Huffington Post, Joseph Palermo reprints an excerpt from his book “In His Own Right: The Political Odyssey of Senator Robert F. Kennedy,” where he specifically details this same strategy to get Latinos involved in his 1968 election.

Kennedy’s prospects for winning depended upon grass-roots participation, and aggressive voter-registration drives in neighborhoods where poverty and unemployment were the key issues…
Volunteers set up a group of seventy-five Latino youths in the 21st Congressional District in Los Angeles to galvanize support for Kennedy. They also organized African Americans in the district, an example of black and Latino solidarity for Kennedy. Reports came back to the campaign that there had been “the most astounding outpouring of volunteer help” in many districts, which required the then innovative practice of tracking names on computer punch cards. By the first week of April, the Kennedy campaign headquarters on Wilshire Boulevard, as well as the national headquarters in Washington, D.C., received reports that thousands of Latino farmworkers were being added to the voter registration rolls in the San Joaqin Valley. Latinos were also involved in trying to compete with McCarthy at colleges and universities. Chavez himself spoke in support of Kennedy on several California campuses.

There’s no doubt Latinos want to be involved in the political process and respond when asked to do so. The marches of 2006 are proof of that alone.
As the campaigns rev up for the next primaries where there are significant Latino communities, all would do well to take the lead from Richardson in remembering — people respond better when good manners are used.

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  • Frank
    January 10, 2008 at 7:52 pm

    A few in here could learn from Richardson’s “good manners.”

  • Evelyn
    January 11, 2008 at 12:19 am

    Finally, something we can agree on!
    I cant remember hearing anyone that’s credible ever say he was a lier.
    When someone lies to demonize people they don’t like, is a bad habit that will get you tagged as a racists, but than you already knew that…..I just thought i would remind you again because it seems you and Eyes, keep forgetting.

  • Maldonado
    January 11, 2008 at 1:41 am

    “too many Mexican-American and South American Latinos lack what American culture so highly values — initiative.”
    This is an affect of colonization.

  • Frank
    January 11, 2008 at 8:01 am

    Evelyn, I have never told a lie in here. My sources of information are just as credible as yours and in fact member “liquid” dispelled much of your sources. But you continually attack the messenger which is myself and anyone else in here who is opposed to illegal immigration.
    My views are mainly based on the rule of law, not statistics anyway. A fact that you cannot dispute so you continually hurl insults and go on the personal attack. Very childish.

  • Frank
    January 11, 2008 at 8:08 am

    Marisa, you say that most Latinos practice good manners. If you really want to convince people of that, this blog sure shows the opposite by many Latinos who post in here.
    Would their mothers be proud of the way they hurl insults around in here rather than showing good manners and debating civilly? I am not a racist in spite of what some Latinos say in here and my posts certainly don’t reflect that either. Good manners? Hmmm.

    January 11, 2008 at 8:28 am

    I feel we have not seen the last of Mr. Richardson and that is a good thing. Also, I do not demonize anyone; they do a good enough job of that on their own by their actions and total disrespect of our laws, our borders and our nation. I’m not heartless, nor am I gullible.

  • Marisa Treviño
    January 11, 2008 at 10:58 am

    I was wondering how long it was going to take before someone made the connection between my post and these comments.
    One thing I’ve learned over the years with my writing is that it doesn’t matter what you write, or how you think you’re saying it (in your head), everyone “filters” it in their own way. What some consider attacks, others consider defense. Insults to some are “facts” to others.
    Where do good manners come into play during the heat of defending oneself and/or views.
    That’s a personal judgment call, in my opinion.

  • mitch
    January 11, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    marisa, my great grandmother came to america many years ago from the central highlands. we were raised to be american. our family believes in one nation under god. what is your point, other than money, in leading us as a nation into the third world our ancestor’s brought us from?? money will never buy you happiness. the simple reality is the team concept. while you and your ilk promote colors, the future of all are sold down the road. i hope you get all the gold and silver. united we stand, and divided we have fallen. we were raised as american’s, speaking the language of a prosperous nation. no weto’s aqui!! if not for your financial gain, and the perpetuation of slavery, how do you sleep at night?? we as american’s are moving forward as a team. america first! represents a team of one! green,purple,brown, or white. we realize the implications of a doomed future for all, if organizations, such as yourself are not educated as to the future of a failing AMERICA. we strongly suggest a brief study of bosnia. why are you committed to the proverbial repeat of history?? $$$$ perhaps?? may the good lord take a likin, mitch

  • miguel
    January 11, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    mitch: Please make a point. The only thing I could grasp was the “no weto’s aqui!!” remark. Not even our in-house commentators have used this one.

  • Frank
    January 11, 2008 at 9:41 pm

    Marisa, one can debate an issue civilly without resorting to personal attacks and insults. Haven’t you ever heard of it? It is your blog but personally anyone who were to wander in here and read it would be put off by the childish and immature tactics of some. No one in here knows anyone personally in here to make judgements about them and put false labels on them. It is the kind of tactics that those use who have no viable arguments.

  • Evelyn
    January 12, 2008 at 12:12 am

    Frank says
    “No one in here knows anyone personally in here to make judgements about them”
    Your right Frank, the only thing we have to guide us is your words. Believe me, if it acts like a racists, if it posts like a racists, than its a racists. You have earned the tag of racists, because you insist on making racists comments and statements.

  • Frank
    January 12, 2008 at 4:10 pm

    Evelyn, thats just it! I haven’t said anything in this blog that could be interpreted as racist. Want to back up your accusation with my very own words? You can’t! You would just twist and spin my words to make them appear racist because your own racism is blinding you.

  • Evelyn
    January 12, 2008 at 10:14 pm

    You have said many things on this forum that are racists, especially the list of lies you asked for , and I gave you.
    The fact that you want to make yourself believe liquid proved them wrong using more lies is one of the problems.
    Why you would choose to believe fake organizations, founded by one man who has been publicly exposed by credible institutions who work with our government, and are considered to be experts on the issue of racism is beyond me.
    I am not the only member on this forum that believes you are a racists. I am however, the only one that has lowered myself to your level
    and had the nerve to tell you to your face.
    No one has the power, not even Marisa has the power to remove the tag of racists from you. Only you have the power to do that.
    Stop lying about immigrants by using information gathered on racists websites that have been exposed as such by credible organizations.
    Swallow the hate you have for immigrants and Mexicans (or whatever you want to call them) in public. Once you are alone than express it all you want, and you will see how the tag of racists you have labeled yourself with will disappear.

  • Horace
    January 13, 2008 at 9:04 am

    “mitch: Please make a point. The only thing I could grasp was the “no weto’s aqui!!” remark. Not even our in-house commentators have used this one.”
    Let me help you out here, Miguel. Mitch’s point is that all U.S. citizens should view themselves as a member of one prosperous community, not as subsets of the American community fighting for a pot of money. Being Latino may be important in Mexico, El Salvador and Venezuela, but it is much less important when one becomes a member of the new set of people called U.S. citizens. The process is called assimilation.
    His other point is that that there are certain Latinos that make their living and gain power by separating Americans into the tribal subsets called Mexican-Americans, African-Americans, Arab-Americans, etc. Without the divisiveness that Hispanic groups like La Raza, and African Americans like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton perpetuate by their political agendas, ethnocentric organizations would not exist. This is why Hispanic ethnocentrics promote bilingual education and illegal immigration. Contrary to popular belief, they’re ruthless politicos with little interest in perpetuating culture. Without new, non-assimilated grist to feed their mill, ethnocentrist organizations will eventually fade into nothingness, as the have no raison d’etre. Extiction happened to the militant Irish and Italian organizations that ran the bullying political machines in New York and Chicago, and it will eventually happen to La Raza, MALDEF and others. Assimilation is what race and ethnocentric based organizations fear most, as they lose power. Their followers are mere naive pawns, with false expectations.

  • David Berger Segovia
    January 13, 2008 at 10:48 am

    It is interesting to read that you attribute Gov. Richardson’s polite assessment of his competition to his Latin American roots. In fact, it may indeed reflect more Anglo-Saxon qualities. I have lived and worked in Latin America (Mexico & South America) for over 18 years (I have been a resident in Mexico City now for 12 years) and I have never witnessed that kind of civility in politics here. In fact, it is quite the opposite and my colleagues in the region comment that they would greatly love to see practiced within their own countries the US’ and UK’s internal political respect. Interestingly (given that Gov. Richardson enjoys Mexican heritage), from my experience, the most egregious negative and nasty political behaviour has been in Mexico. I have never witnessed more egotistical, blatantly antagonistic and belligerent (with occasional fistfights during senatorial sessions) “politicians” anywhere. There are indeed many fine qualities to be respected in both the Anglo and Hispanic communities, however, to attribute Gov. Richardson’s courteousness to Hispanic culture is at best a “courtesy”, and at worst an indication of the writer’s bias.

  • Marisa Treviño
    January 13, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    Excellent point, David. I concede that what I write does reflect from my own “biasness” growing up with certain behavioral expectations applied to me from family members. Among those expectations were to be respectful.
    Your comment actually brings up an interesting point that I’ve wrestled with for many years — that many of us US-born Latinos/Hispanics have grown up with a romanticized version of our heritage.
    The last time I was in Mexico City, I witnessed on TV the very fistfights you are talking about. Also, outright threats and murders of political opponents, as happens in parts of Mexico and Central and South America, would hardly be considered “polite!”
    Yet, in the US, I think there exists a tendency to attribute elder respect, importance of family and loyalty to Latinos because it was so ingrained in our upbringing, starting with our grandparents/great grandparents who were the original immigrants in our families.
    Thanks for clarifying the differences.

  • miguel
    January 13, 2008 at 4:31 pm

    Horace, your views using mitch name. If he did have his family start in the highlands of Bosnia I can see where he would embrace the US way of life with out any question. They are a tough people and as much of an American that he becomes he has to remember his roots. His assimilation should include a bit of acceptance of others still in the struggle. Horace, you turned his heartfelt pride of being here into your own old tired drumbeat. His “no weto’s aqui!!” remark shows some assimilation into your world.
    Marisa and David. The view of the what goes on in politics is correct but their antics are in a different world from the common peoples that make up the respective countries.
    Politicians will do what ever it takes to stay in the political hole they carved out for themselves as a goal in their life. At our level as common folk, most of us have respect ingrained in us. I am partial to the Mexican version where the family does support all living generations. We do not close the door to our children when they leave the nest nor do we shuffle off our elders when they are most in need of family in their old age. This is beginning to happen more in this country with the excuse that is for the good of the parent because we in reality are too busy with our own lives to give some back to them.
    Politicians are a different breed of animal and what little respect they provide has to be weighed against the political gain it might provide. All use religion in the same way. Political gain.

  • Evelyn
    January 13, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    Do you live with Mitch? If you do, and he explained to you that the necessity for assimilation was the point he was trying to make in his article, like you imply. Please tell him that learning to write in English with the ability to be understood by others, is a very important part of assimilation. Especially if you are born in this country.
    If one is unable to write in English without others being able to understand what one is trying to say, especially if one is American. That person is the least indicated to tell others to assimilate.
    That is a moot point anyway, because all credible evidence shows that Immigrants (especially Hispanics) are assimilating faster than immigrants from Europe were able to!
    Immigration Policy Center for information on assimilation of recent Immigrants.

  • Liquidmicro
    January 13, 2008 at 7:03 pm

    Evelyn wrote: The fact that you want to make yourself believe liquid proved them wrong using more lies is one of the problems.
    Now, what lies have I told?? Your own Strayhorn report stated she did not include 2 very important deductions, lets see if you can find them.
    “The absence of the estimated 1.4 million undocumented immigrants in Texas in fiscal 2005 would have been a loss to our gross state product of $17,7 BILLON. Undocumented Immigrants produce $1.58 BILLION in state revenues, which exceed the $1.16 BILLION in state services they received. However, local government bore the burden of $1.44 BILLON in uncompensated health care costs and local law enforcement cost’s not paid for by the state.”
    I see the following, HOWEVER, local government bore the burden of $1.44 BILLION in uncompensated health care costs and 49.1 MILLION in local law enforcement cost’s not paid for by the state.
    That “HOWEVER” is a very important part in that paragraph. No need for any LIES from any group as you express, Strayhorn admits it herself. You are too biased to distinguish and comprehend the information.
    The Hospital report is from the Dallas Morning News, a newspaper!!
    So, PLEASE, show me where I used any group for any information to perpetuate any LIES in here.

  • Frank
    January 13, 2008 at 7:18 pm

    Evelyn, find yourself a new whipping post and buy a dictionary because nothing I have said in this blog is racist nor am I a racist. I am through with your BS and personal attacks on me. Grow up, you are disgusting, hatelful and childish individual! From now on please ignore my posts and I will ignore yours. It is the civiilzed thing to do. Oh, that’s right you don’t know what civility is.

  • Evelyn
    January 14, 2008 at 2:34 am

    I will Ignore your posts as long as you don’t lie to demonize Immigrants or Mexicans!
    That is the only way you can get rid of me!

  • Evelyn
    January 14, 2008 at 3:45 am

    When you can show me an analysis of revenues collected by local government, and we can subtract that from what the local gov. paid in health care and law enforcement costs than it means nothing.
    Hazleton Pennsylvania tried to say that undocumented immigrants were a burden to their town, but the ACLU was ahead of them and presented the judge a report showing that the years when the immigrants started coming to Hazelton, the revenue went higher and higher. They also presented proof that the undocumented Immigrants paid more in taxes and other fees collected by the city than was spent on them.
    The federal government should give these cities and towns some of the money they collect in Social Security from the undocumented Immigrants each year that the Immigrants will never see.
    These towns would have already filed a law suit if the could. My guess is they probably cant prove Immigrants are a burden.

  • Liquidmicro
    January 14, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    The ACLU presented NO report based on the years when immigrants were entering Hazelton, what they presented was a newspaper article about the housing boom and immigration that was on the cities web site for a number of months. They also presented an Amicus Breif from the Chamber of Commerce about employers being effected. At no point does the ACLU present proof of anything in regards to undocumented Immigrants paying more in taxes and other fees collected by the city than was spent on them.
    Please read the ACLU web site and info here:
    What the ACLU states is: At no point does any of the Hazelton paperwork state anything about ‘Illegal Immigrants’ as being the cause as to that of which Hazelton is now doing (scapegoating).
    Here are the actual transcripts links:
    As for SS monies, that is something for another discussion later.

  • Liquidmicro
    January 14, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    Evelyn says: When you can show me an analysis of revenues collected by local government, and we can subtract that from what the local gov. paid in health care and law enforcement costs than it means nothing.
    Revenue collected by local Gov’t’s doesn’t stay with local governments. It all goes to the state. Then a small portion of the taxes collected are sent back to the counties to then be distributed to the municipalities within. So Strayhorns report is pretty much what you are asking for, it’s just that word “HOWEVER’ that discredits the headline.

  • Evelyn
    January 15, 2008 at 1:01 am

    I think this is the most appropriate time for you to explain why SS money isn’t being asked for to pay for these costs, NOT LATER!

  • Liquidmicro
    January 15, 2008 at 9:43 am

    How you become eligible for Social Security
    As you work and pay taxes, you earn Social
    Security “credits.” In 2005, you earn one credit for
    each $920 in earnings—up to a maximum of four
    credits per year. (The amount of money needed to
    earn one credit goes up every year.)
    Most people need 40 credits (10 years of work) to
    qualify for benefits. Younger people need fewer credits
    to be eligible for disability benefits or for family members
    to be eligible for survivors benefits when the
    worker dies.
    The 1996 Welfare Reform Act may have erected barriers to a non-citizen’s eligibility for SSI, but it did not come close to ending it. The very group Congress sought to make ineligible for SSI, people who may have entered the U.S. illegally but through a series of happy accidents permanently reside here under color of law (“PRUCOL” aliens), has been able to hold on to SSI eligibility through a combination of lawyering and lobbying.,2933,79013,00.html
    So, why give SS to these towns when, in fact, they can receive the benefits themselves?

  • Evelyn
    January 15, 2008 at 10:51 pm

    Immigrants who are given prucol alien status are those who are already in the processes of adjusting their unauthorized immigrant status to legal resident alien status or what you know as green card holders. link
    people who qualify for Social Security
    scroll to lawful alien status
    more info
    Immigration Policy Center
    In the end the lady in the article would have qualified, later in life to receive social security, because she was ‘fixing her papers’ anyway.

  • Liquidmicro
    January 16, 2008 at 9:09 am

    Good, you have done some homework. But thats my point, those here ‘illegally’ now need to go down and apply for residency, fill out there paperwork, get something started. However, (love that word) they choose not to, most have done nothing to change there status.
    If they attempt to change there status for what ever reason it would only help there positions, and then if they are denied, they should adhere to the law.
    See section C:c. deportable immigrants residing in the U.S. pursuant to an indefinite stay of deportation

  • Evelyn
    January 16, 2008 at 7:03 pm

    Now do your homework, 99.9% of unauthorized immigrants do not have an American citizen spouse or American citizen children, who can petition for them.
    The few Hispanics who do have this opportunity are not entering illegally. They are the ones waiting 10 yrs to come here legally.
    The rest have no way to come in legally unless we change our laws to include a guest worker plan. One that would allow them to come and work legally, go home when they want to see their families, instead of having to bring their families here, or start families here because crossing the border is too much of a risk for them.
    Now do your homework so you can see that there is no way for people who don’t have American spouses, or American children over the age of 21 to petition for them, to come here legally. There is also the H1b visas, but because of a 65,000 cap on this visa, this visa is gone the day the employers can apply for them, which is once a year.

  • Liquidmicro
    January 17, 2008 at 12:01 am

    And only 2% of Americas Farmers are using the H-2A Visa (Guest Worker Authorization), why not get those here ‘Illegally’ on that visa, there is an unlimited number of them available (NO CAP LIMIT). With that they can come and go freely, are paid and treated fairly, etc. Without an education, as most ‘Illegal Immigrants’ do not have, they are stuck with the H-2A, working menial AG jobs.
    Now, if most have no family here to petition for them, then why is it that just over half of all Hispanic adults in the United States (47 Million) worry that they, a family member, or a close friend they know could be deported?
    H-1B’s are for “specialty occupations”, why don’t Mexicans apply for the TN NAFTA visa? Or the O or P visas? instead of the H-1B Visa, or the H-2B Visa? Why is it that all those who do not qualify for these other visas are stuck into the H-1B or H-2B visa categories filling the quotas up so quickly?
    What I find is that many posters here conveniently ignore the hundreds of thousands of family-based immigrants each year, as if they are not employable or do not exist. They are employable, and they do become a valuable part of the US workforce as they immigrate here. I think the reason they are not discussed is that those few which we discuss here do not qualify for family-based immigration, and are trying to immigrate through other categories which are oversubscribed. As long as there are so many millions of people trying to immigrate through a system that contains limits, there will be some people who do not qualify to come. This is not fair, but neither is it unfair. Nothing is fair in this world. And it is expected that each person desiring to immigrate here would consider themselves worthy enough that the US should choose them to immigrate. But, alas, we as a nation are entitled to choose who enters and who does not by what our needs are, not by their needs or desires for a better life.

  • Liquidmicro
    January 17, 2008 at 12:06 am

    Almost forgot that there is also the EB 1 & 2 categories for Green Cards for “specialty occupations” since that is what you are bringing up with the H-1B Visa, “specialty occupations”, for skilled, educated persons.

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