Tag: Sharron Angle

I Like the Part About Tequila

It’s an inevitable fact of American life that any successful endeavor will be met with a thousand rip-offs. That’s why we have eight hundred upcoming movies about vampires. It’s why there are dozens of television shows about the intricacies of decorating cakes. And it explains why Pearl Jam is at least partly to blame for Creed.

So it should surprise no one that the apparent success of the Tea Party has inspired other political groups to follow its playbook. But I was dismayed to find out that one of the potential copycats is a coalition of Latino leaders who are “floating the idea of breaking traditional ties with the Democratic Party and creating a grass-roots independent movement tentatively called the Tequila Party.”

I half-suspect that this strange idea is an Onion article that I somehow missed reading. But in the chance that it’s not, let me make a few observations.

Now, as I’ve written before, I’m not u-rah-rah supporter of the Democratic Party. How the organization continues to flounder — despite the fact that countless polls show Americans actually agree with its platform — is a mesmerizing monument to its incompetence.

However, I have to ask if the best strategy to deal with this disappointment is to emulate the tactics of a bunch of rage-filled rednecks. On principle, Latinos should say no to this approach. And in practicality, it’s not a good idea to take lessons from people who can’t spell basic words in their native language.

Yes, the Tea Party has been successful in the short term. However, it has alienated as many Americans as it invigorated.

Some of its most hardcore proponents — such as noted nutjob Sharron Angle – went down in flames. It will be interesting to see if the Tea Party has any kind of sustained influence. Personally, I doubt it.

More likely, it will be one of those huge pop-culture moments that people believe will land in history books, but will actually fall somewhere between disco and the OJ trial as lasting cultural markers.

In addition, the Tequila Party’s founders should keep in mind that one reason for the Tea Party’s success was the inherent power of its members. As I’ve written before, these were primarily older, white, financially secure members of the establishment. Any complaint, no matter how absurd or self-serving, was guaranteed media coverage (often of the fawning type).

Yes, Latinos are (and I haven’t made this point in days now) the fastest-growing demographic in America. But it’s unlikely that Hispanics can assemble the throngs that the Tea Party put together, just because we don’t have the numbers (yet). And even if we could, I find it hard to believe that any gathering of that many Hispanics would be met with anything other than tear gas.

Finally, let me point out the folly of this whole crusade, which is to pressure the Democratic Party to address Latino issues. It should be obvious to everybody by now that one cannot pressure Democrats to do anything or to take action — unless that action consists of folding under the slightest pressure. They’re pretty good at that. But forcing them to actually accomplish something on their agenda… well, that’s trickier.

In sum, I’m dubious about this Tequila Party idea. Perhaps our time would better be spent reaching out to moderate citizens (if any are left) to convince them of our good intentions, rather then shouting at an impotent political organization.

On the other hand, it might be nice to attend a rally where the signs are bilingual — and spelled correctly.


Postmortem

Once again, thanks to Ankhesen Mie for her always insightful comments. Building off that last post, and reneging on my claim that I would not go further into the results of last week’s midterm elections, I have to add one small snowball to the avalanche of analysis that is still cascading down the internet.

As I wrote previously, the GOP gambled that by firing up their base, they would be the big winners on November 2. One of the ways they did this was by appealing to the fears of older white voters. As Speaker Boehner can tell you, this strategy worked.

However, my pals at the Huffington Post have pointed out something that I also noticed. The GOP approach may have backfired more than celebrating Republicans would care to admit.

This is because, despite their success at reclaiming the House, “their hopes of controlling the Senate as well were stymied by a firewall of Latino voters who were outraged by Republican demonization of Latino immigrants.”

Yes, although Republicans coasted to victory nationwide, some of the most virulent conservatives in Senate races failed to capitalize. For example, in Nevada, Sharron Angle — a woman who never saw a race-baiting ad she didn’t like — lost to the embattled Harry Reid. His margin of victory can be attributed to the fact that he earned “a whopping 90 percent” of the Hispanic vote, which “was up from 12 percent of the electorate in the 2006 midterms to 15 percent in 2010.”

Similarly, in Colorado, Illinois, and my current home state of California, Latinos were the difference in high-profile Senate and governor races. It appears, therefore, that more than a few Hispanics were mobilized to vote against politicians they saw as actively hostile to them.

Again, I’m not saying that all Republicans are racists. But it’s clear that Hispanics heard the rhetoric that conservatives employed in this election and didn’t see it “as a difference about a policy or issue. It directly offended the Latino community’s sense of identity, pride and self-worth.”

Now, it’s true that many Latino Republicans won elections last week, a sign that at least some Hispanics are OK with the GOP label. However, it’s also true that in eight key states, “Latinos overall voted for Democrats over Republicans by approximately 75 percent to 25 percent — a 3 to 1 margin.”

In sum, the short-term benefits for Republicans may not have been worth it. This is because Hispanics (and you know this fact already) are the nation’s fastest-growing demographic, and “as the Latino population continues to grow, it will rapidly become impossible to put together an electoral majority … with that kind of Hispanic opposition.”

Of course, Republicans aren’t so dumb or oblivious that they haven’t noticed this development. Their hope, of course, is that by the time the next election comes around, Hispanics will have forgotten that much of the GOP message this time was based on lambasting Latinos. Party leaders are assuming that Hispanics will lapse into amnesia when casting their votes.

This is not crazy. After all, it’s apparently what happened to everyone else in the country last Tuesday.


Get out the Vote

My cousin (actually, my wife’s cousin, but we’re all family) recently called me from London. He’s living there for the next couple of years, but he still keeps an eye on news from America. He was upset, close to apocalyptic in fact, about the upcoming elections.

“Those Republicans are crazy,” he said. “You need to write a piece telling Hispanics that they have to vote for Democrats.”

My immediate reaction was that my cousin had a greatly exaggerated impression of just how influential I really am. He was so agitated, however, that I didn’t get a chance to tell him that or my secondary issue. Namely, it’s rather arrogant for me to tell people that it’s their racial duty to vote for anybody, especially when Democrats haven’t exactly been whiz-bang in getting Latino issues to the forefront.

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