Stop the handwringing and conjecture about the 'Latino vote,' and support groups doing GOTV
As the midterm elections draw closer and closer, major media outlets have turned once again to pontificating about and predicting the “Hispanic” or “Latino” vote, and comparing it to past white and black voter turnout demographics. This includes hand wringing, scolding, and finger pointing. A quote about how this is “bad news for (insert name of Democrat running for office)” is always included, along with an interview of someone “Hispanic” who is both a Republican and an ardent Trump supporter. Some have even gone as far as to predict that if the “blue wave” doesn’t happen, it will be Latinos’ fault—because “they don’t vote.” It kinda reminds me of all the people still re-hashing 2016, saying “if only those black people had voted like they did for Obama.”
There have, of course, been a slew of weighty “think” pieces on whether “Democrats have a problem with Hispanic voters,” and long lists of what Democrats are doing wrong when it comes to messaging, and taking Latinos for granted, and the “Oh my, I’m so surprised and disheartened that ‘they’ won’t vote, don’t vote, or might vote for Republicans” take. Why that is a surprise is beyond me. After all, no one seems surprised about a majority of white people voting for Trump, who doesn’t give a damn about them either.
If I had a dollar for every white (non-Latino) person who has asked me, “How could any Latino vote for Trump? I mean he is so horrid to people of color,” I’d be rich. My answer is “How could all y’all white folks do it?” And, “Who says all Latinos are, or think of themselves as, people of color?”
Makes me wanna holler, tear out my hair, and throw up both my hands.
Lumping Latinx into a box, as if ‘they’ are a racial category, is simply wrong. Failing to realize the tremendous ethnic, class, and cultural diversity between and among groups who may be Spanish speakers, hail from Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America, or who have roots here dating back to before the U.S. became a nation causes much of the confusion. That big-box, one-size-fits-all demographic category of Latinos, Hispanics, Latinx, Latin@s—whichever term you use, creates a very false picture of the political map. ‘They’ run the gamut, are not homogeneous, are not always white, and are sometimes black. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean the same as “black American.”
Don’t get me wrong. There are research groups and scholars who do a very good job of surveying and studying various segments of our Latino/Hispanic communities. I’ll be referencing some of them here.
My question today is a simple one. If you are ‘concerned’ about voter turnout in these communities, what will you do to support the groups who are out there busting butt doing GOTV, and what support can you give to Democratic Latinx candidates who are currently running for office? (There are quite a few.)
Support doesn’t just mean money, either: you can also help get the word out.