Sunday, March 07, 2004

Latino Voters Critical to Democrats

A recent Miami Herald Poll indicates that in Florida Kerry leads Bush 49% to 43%, with the suicidal 3% of the electorate supporting Nader. This is good news from a state the leans Bush and many Democrats had written off. But one worrying figure in the good news is that among Hispanics, Bush leads Kerry 56 to 40 percent. The Bush number includes not only the typically GOP-voting Cuban Americans, but also traditionally Democratic non-Cubans who backed Al Gore in 2000.

The Latino vote in this country is not securely Democratic. Latinos are very much a swing constituency; one with a lot of untapped potential. Latino voter registration rates are very low. Both Democrats and Republicans see great potential in spending money to bring more Latino voters into the process on their side.

One Democratic group that is taking Latino votes very seriously is the New Democrat Network, which is now airing a 5 million dollar buy. This series of Spanish language ads on Spanish language TV networks, rolls out initially in Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Albuquerque (the major media markets of the three most volatile Southwestern swing States). This is important work, and laudably relevant to a crucial goal. I do not hesitate to suggest rewarding such intelligent behavior with your Treasury ballots, even though I do not support all of the views of the NDN. Now days, we Democrats need to recognize those whom we agree with more than 50% of the time for who they are: allies and friends.

If you wish to act locally to help in an intensive effort to register Latino voters, you will want to work with Raul Grijalva's Congressional campaign in Arizona's District 7. Grijalva is without any seriously challenges in this cycle. This is indicative of his strength in CD7 that he lacks any serious opposition in his Sophomore term. Compare this to Rick Renzi in CD 1 who in his Sophomore term is facing a very credible, high-quality challenger in Paul Babbitt. The breathing room that Grijalva's hard work to secure his district for Democrats has bought gives us the chance to focus all our efforts on growing the Latino electorate for the Democratic party.

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