By Alex Gonzalez
The current complaint among Latino organizations and political activists, from both parties, is that the House is holding the Immigration bill hostage because Speaker John Boehner refuses to bring the bill to the Floor for a vote. And this a valid argument, since this week the House voted for “Ryan Budget Deal” and seven weeks ago the House voted to open the government and raise the Debt Ceiling without the “Hastert Rule.” This is the Rule that Boehner keeps using to avoid bringing the immigration bill to the Floor. Thus, Latino voters from both parties are right to complain.
Hence, it is true that Republicans in the House are holding the immigration bill hostage. Speaker Boehner does not want to bring the bill to the floor because about 40 members, who mainly represent districts where tea party groups are very strong, will vote against it. Which will spell disaster for the Republicans in up coming elections. As a result, Latino Voters should hold any Republican in the House accountable for this by voting MORE.
And while it is a valid argument that some Republicans are holding this bill hostage, Latinos, on the other hand, have the power and the numbers to change this. For example, in Texas, in the districts where some of these Congressional seats are located, there are 4.5 million Latinos eligible to vote, but where only 1.8 million voted in 2012 which was a presidential year.
The key is to have Latinos participate in the PRIMARIES. If more Latinos vote in the primaries, with the numbers that we have in Texas, Latinos could change the status quo. It only takes 650,000 votes, and there are 4.5 Million eligible Latino voters in Texas.
Moreover, Senators Cornyn and Cruz voted against the immigration bill and if Latinos are unhappy with that outcome, they should display their disdain by participating in elections. Currently, Sen. Cornyn is running for re-election in Texas, and the primaries will dictate that race. In Texas it 650,000 votes will select Republican Senator in the Republican primaries which in turn will elect the new Senator from Texas. So why is it that out of 4.5 Million voters we cannot have 650,000 Latinos to vote in primaries and vote out those who have voted against the immigration bill? It is well known that Sen. Cornyn has been playing games with the immigration Bill to use it in campaign and to keep those against any type of immigration reform appeased.
So why is it that Latino political and civic organizations–from both parties–who are very angry, about the stagnant immigration bill and with those who are using the issue as a political football, can’t send a strong message to those Republican in the House by voting out Sen. Cornyn with only 650,000 votes? If Latino voters want to instill fear in Republican and Democrat elected officials by voting, they need to be more active in primaries and not wait for others to advocate for issues important to them.
There is a reason why Republicans fear the Jewish vote; Jewish-Americans are the more civically engaged ethnic group and have the highest turnout than any other voting ethnic group. There is a reason why Republicans in Florida fear the Cuban vote; Cubans are the most civically engaged ethnic groups in the state with the “Cuba issue,” even if they are turning Democrats.
Thus, Latinos have to take responsibility for this, because as it stands, apathy is the greatest enemy of Latinos in Texas and the U.S. And voting apathy is a greater enemy than any tea party group. Sure Democrats love to blame the tea party, but Latinos need to be held accountable for their apathy as well.
If Latinos want to be heard and be considered as viable contenders, they need get involved and vote. If 3 million Latinos vote in TX, this will shake up the entire Political establishment in both Parties–including those House members who currently oppose this or any immigration bill–where the balance of power between Republicans and Democrats is only 1 million. Additionally, six of those 40 members holding the immigration bill hostage come from districts in Texas where Latinos can sway the election if they were to vote in the primaries.
As it stands, the two most well know Republican Senate candidates, Sen. Cornyn and Congressman Stockman offer very little prospect for Latinos. And if Latinos allow this to happen, fully knowing that neither candidate has any favorable views on immigration, Latino voters have no one to blame but themselves.
Similarly, in the race for Lt. Governor Race, Dan Patrick is espousing ill-advised messages on immigration, and if Latinos stayed dormant and Patrick gets elected, they too are to blame since the could have stop it by voting more in the primaries.
All those Latino democrat-leaning organization, whose vested interests is to keep portraying Republicans as oppressing and discriminating Latinos, need to be honest and tell Latinos that Texas will elect a Republican Senator, Lt. Governor and Governor and if they want to make any real meaningful changes to the status-quo and the immigration issue, they need to have a strong turnout in the Republican primary by voting out those who have opposed the immigration bill in the Senate and the House.
When Latinos vote Democrats only, they don’t help themselves either, as Democrats have taken Latinos vote for granted. That is why they never passed any type of immigration bill even when they had a super Majority in Congress and spent two years on Obamacare. And this frustration with Obama is clearly shown in the recent poll by Gallup where only 52% Latino have favorable view of President Obama.
So maybe getting serious about voting and involved in the Republicans primary in Texas can be option for Latinos to vote out those who have voted against an immigration bill and to send the message to Democrats that empty promises will no longer be accepted. Latinos have the power and the numbers, they must now use it with their vote.Alex Gonzalez is a political Analyst and Political Director for Latinos Ready To Vote! He received a Bachelors Degree and a Masters’ Degree, with emphasis in American politics, from San Francisco State University. comments to firstname.lastname@example.org