The state GOP is reaching out to Hispanics
“The Republican Larrazoloites of the 21st century are homeless.”
The above line in Monahan’s blog caught my attention and I began to wonder if this statement holds any truth.
Next summer I will be retiring from the military and I would like to get more involved in the political scene back home. So I am in the process of doing research to see for myself if a Hispanic from the poor north-side barrio of Artesia can find a home in New Mexico’s Grande ‘Ole Party.
Growing up and going through college I was always led to believe that the political home for me was without question the Democratic Party. This was the working-people’s party that stood up for minority rights and was best suited to represent Hispanic values at all levels of government.
So if this is in fact truth, I can’t help but wonder why currently only one of our five federally elected representatives is of Hispanic background.
All of our current U.S. congressman and senators are Democrats, so if the Democratic Party is indeed the big tent home for Hispanics, why don’t we have more than one U.S. congressional representative from New Mexico? I am sure when the 2010 census is complete Hispanics will remain the majority population of our state, so why the disparity?
Several GOP Hispanic candidates this year
If we include our territory days, the facts give the GOP a historical slight edge in terms of successfully electing Hispanics from New Mexico to represent us at the federal level. This contradicts the wedge rhetoric that constantly attempts to divide the two major parties on race.
To be fair, the Republicans haven’t done a very good job courting more Hispanic candidates since our early days, but the same could be said of the Democratic Party, because we haven’t had a Hispanic U.S. senator since 1977 and there was a 12-year U.S. congressman gap before Ben Ray Luján was elected to Congress.
But politics is a “What have you done for me lately?” arena, and we must give GOP Chairman Yates a tremendous amount of credit for fielding several Hispanics on this year’s ballot that include Hispanic congressional and gubernatorial candidates.
Where are the Democratic Party Hispanic candidates for governor? How much success did Hispanic candidates have in the 2008 U.S. congressional Democratic primaries? Mayor Chávez was bullied out of the U.S. Senate Democratic primary race, and no other Democrats dare challenge Diane Denish.
Meanwhile, Susana Martinez was able to garner the majority of Republican delegates at the GOP preprimary convention and Jon Barela is set for a general-election challenge against our congressman from Missouri who represents NM CD1.
I know the biggest question remains how a Hispanic woman will do in a Republican Primary. I am not sure, but we as Hispanics can only ask for the opportunity to compete within both parties with the results based on hard work and merit. These are American ideas, and I am sure Susana Martinez is up for the task as she has already demonstrated through her winning the GOP preprimary convention.
Don’t ‘dumb-stamp’ the voting ballot
So if we look at the recent facts, it is clear that Chairman Yates is beginning to reach out to Hispanics and the GOP is providing leadership opportunities on the same pace or even more than the Democratic Party. As Hispanics, I think it is important that we consider both parties to represent our interests because our elected representatives should be selected on the merit of their ideas and not solely the stereotypical wedge-based rhetoric of race.
Until we are able to get beyond associating race with a particular party, those who traditionally hold the keys to political power will continue to manipulate the growing Hispanic voting base in favor of a one-sided argument.
So my hat is off to Chairman Yates and his staff for a job well done. I as a Hispanic appreciate the effort to re-open “The Republican Larrazoloites Home.”
My challenge to all New Mexican Hispanics is to not “dumb-stamp” the voting ballot (straight-party voting). Let us begin making these politicos earn our votes based on the merit and execution of their ideas.
Luévano, a registered independent, is a Marine Corps officer with 18 years of active-duty service and an Artesia native. He graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2001 with a bachelor’s in political science and economics and from the University of Kansas in 2008 with a master’s in public administration. The views expressed are those of the individual only and not those of the Department of Defense. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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