Latino Voters Assist in Turning Back Extremist Policies

The high voter turnout this past Tuesday represented a message by the majority of people that we want peace and progress and the use of our taxes to improve people’s lives. The large number of votes cast by Latinos across the country also sent a clear message that the nation’s political landscape and history are now changing for the better and that the Republican barrage of insults and disrespect hurled at them will no longer be tolerated. Over seventy-four percent of Latino voters

Over 70 percent of Latinos cast ballots for Obama, a higher rate than in 2008 (click to enlarge photos)

cast their ballots for Obama and made their voices heard on the issues that concern them most. This percentage of Latino votes in favor of Obama was a higher rate than that of 2008. This was achieved despite a past history of being disenfranchised and having to struggle for the right to vote, experiencing gerrymandering, the continued existence of at-large voting districts and the passage of recent state voter suppression laws. While the right to vote is just one of many political activities, its importance has been restricted and denied to many during the history of this country. Thus, the defense and exercise of this hard-won civil right during this recent election was extremely significant for the forces of progress and especially for many Latinos who stood in long lines to cast their ballots.

The issues and lack of political respect created a high Latino turnout
The issues of education, jobs, healthcare, forcing the wealthy to pay their fair share of taxes, and a lack of comprehensive reform immigration mobilized and brought concerned Latinos out to the polls. A definite line was drawn in regard to these issues by the neo-conservative political agenda whose far-right extremist positions ran counter to the social and economic interests of Latinos. In addition to the harm these extremists could

Latinos come from the soil of America and have helped build it

cause, there was also the hatemongering, immigrant bashing and underlying message used during this campaign that Latinos were somehow un-American and not a part of the “real America”. Latinos have evolved from the soil of the Americas and built the first cities such as St. Augustine and Santa Fe within what is now the U.S. over 500 years ago, so how much more American can one get? Real America, as in really indigenous, well, we are it! When politicians from the extreme right talk of taking America back to its “traditional” values, this is doublespeak for a return to white-male supremacy, de facto segregation with minorities as second-class citizens, aggressive militaristic wars, and a population without proper education and healthcare. When people at Republican rallies chant “we built it”, this is code-speak for stating that only whites did the hard work required to build this country. This mythical thinking negates the forced labor of slavery, indentured servants and the role of Mexican-American and Asian-American workers on the railroads, mines, construction sites and fields throughout the Southwest and West Coast during the 18th and 19th centuries and into the present time. An additional insult by right-wing extremist Republicans intent on harming the progress and well-being of Latino families was the scapegoating hurled at us publicly which insinuated that we are responsible for the slow demise of the country. This Republican scapegoating was a dishonest attempt by them to cover up the unethical actions of their allies such as the robber baron bankers who have plundered the economy and housing market, politicians profiting from continuous wars which their children do not have to fight in, and the corporations who export jobs overseas such as Romney has done.

Ethnic, class and gender warfare by the Republicans divided the country
With the national and local elections now over, many people are proposing that everyone needs to accept the results in a civil manner and that we should all hold hands, unite and proceed forward together. While this would be nice, this unfortunately didn’t occur in 2008 and will not happen once more. During the last twelve years, there has been a qualitative economic shift as an enormous amount of wealth has been squeezed from the middle and working classes and diverted upward to the top five percent of society. This financial expropriation was achieved by cutting wages and benefits, social services and increasing military spending and the tax burden imposed upon working people. This class warfare waged by those at the top of society and their political lackeys on the right needs to be countered and resolved through a combination of unity, strength and action as it has polarized political views and policies along class lines. The country’s demographics are also swiftly changing as the Latino and Asian population nationwide has increased dramatically, that of African-Americans substantially, while the aging white population has experienced only a slight increase. Thus, the browning of the

Romney, Gov. Brewer & Republicans took the position that Arizona is the model solution for immigration

country physically and politically is occurring which signals the growth of a true diversity whose goal should be the achievement of social equality. Yet, for those on the far-right who live in the past and who adhere to the illusion of “taking back our country”, this inevitable evolution that is occurring nationwide is something to be feared. Why? Because the development of such a diversified and more equitable society is a danger to their past privileges of white and male supremacy that they once enjoyed. These swift economic changes that are occurring demographically and among social classes have now aligned certain socio-economic, gender and ethnic groups into two distinct and diametrically opposed political camps. One camp is comprised of a majority of young people, college-educated whites, unmarried females, African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Latinos, labor and urban dwellers. These growing sectors increasingly support change based upon a progressive political and social agenda that will move a diversified society forward to a better future. This is the progressive camp that generally supported Obama for president. The alternate choice in the recent elections consists of conservative and extremist policies that are held by a combination of Republicans, tea partiers and other assorted far-right groups who utilized hatred to advocate divisiveness, racial conflict and the lack of a clear vision for the future. This regressive political camp and Republican supporters are comprised of predominantly less-educated white males, those with strong nativist views, elderly whites, and born-again evangelicals who oppose social change and wish to dogmatically impose their religious beliefs upon the rest of society. Essentially, a predominantly white Republican political party that lacks any diversity or tolerance. The addition to this lily-white mix of the majority of Wall Street bankers and corporate heads who are opposed to government regulation makes this camp one that is fearful of a changing society in which they must evolve, compete with, and co-exist with others who do not look like them. Their yearning for a return to the past and a halt to further change and progress is what has made this election a political referendum on the progressive movement and its vision of a future America versus the regressives who fervently wish to return to the distant past.

What are the issues that separate these two political camps?
There are strong views on economic, political and social issues that
affect Latinos and polarize these two divergent camps. These issues

Latinos want: quality education, decent jobs, healthcare and immigration reform

are increased aid to education and healthcare, job creation and vocational training, defending women’s rights, immigration reform and decreasing the military budget. Support for these issues by the progressive forces coincides with the interests of the majority of Latinos throughout the country. Romney insulted half of the country when he stated during the campaign that the 47 percent who want to improve these social services are “dependent” and not productive persons-in essence, moochers! The Republicans and their far-right allies have proposed that Arizona be a model solution for immigration while the Neanderthal-type statements made by certain of their candidates in regard to negating equal pay for women and denying them a say in their reproductive rights have been rejected by an electoral majority. However, we must keep in mind that this vote was not that unanimous as close to half of the electorate of whom many are right-wing regressives still oppose what benefits Latinos and the majority of working people within the country.

Voting is an action that is part of a broader political process
With the voting now over and an electoral mandate given to a progressive agenda, the reality still exists that 49 percent of the voters still oppose such changes in an ideologically polarized society. This leaves us with a divided government comprised of a Republican dominated House of Representatives and U.S. Supreme Court. Most likely, this will result in more political gridlock ahead and an obstruction of progress by the Republicans and their tea party allies. This means that the pressing job of educating more people in regard to the issues affecting us and organizing them to take action must continue onward. Voting is a single political act and a viable tactic but it needs to be utilized within a broader political context which also includes ongoing ideological and organizational activities. A better future for Latinos is contingent upon uniting with and building a diverse coalition comprised of other progressive

Building a united front of progressive forces is the key to a better future

sectors and allies within our society as real change will come from below. These are the sectors that voted for Obama and who are in the process of growth and development throughout the country. The right-wing regressive camp that wants to return to the supposedly “real America” of the past in which affirmative action for whites predominated has not been totally defeated. Widespread educational work needs to be carried out to more Latinos and the broader public in order to expose these extremist ideas and harmful positions as a reactionary force that is not only detrimental to the progress of Latinos, but to all working people, women and other minorities. The changing economic situation and demographics within the country will continue as time is our ally. However, other tactical allies need to be won over and coalitions broadened out by continuing the hard and persistent work of ideological education and political mobilization. We must strive to unite with the many to isolate the few and continue to apply firm political pressure upon Obama in order to move him forward with a progressive agenda that concretely benefits those who voted for him.

Author: Jimmy Franco Sr.

Jimmy Franco Sr. is the moderator and writer of the blog site: "A Latino Point of View in Today's World"

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  1. Great article! Addresses a number of issues as it relates to 21st century social justice politics. It will be extremely important that these progressive coalitions built around equity and justice, not be sabbotaged, intentionally or inadvertantly. I work with gang involved youth who are trying to turn their lives around in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside counties. One youth explained to me the importance of good community leadership. He said,” some of those folks just don’t get it! That argument at a city council meeting, or that intolerant comment made at a school board meeting, turns into violence in the neighborhood”. Lets continue to lead by example! Peace

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  2. Thank you for eloquently communicating challenges ahead of us. Billions of dollars spent did not win/buy an election. I am thankful that the Obama campaign was well organized and planned and executed a campaign that brought so many together against those who had more money in few hands. The many who contributed small amounts made a difference. My hopes are that Citizen’s United will be overturned as it opens up possibilities for much foreign money coming in to tamper in a grave and serious manner in the US political process, plus allow multiple representation by those with many financial assets.

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    • Hello Gloria,
      Thank you for your comments. Obama is just a temporary ally as we are the main players if we take action together. Public financing needs to be implemented so that corporate money can be kept out of our elections.
      Jimmy Franco Sr.

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  3. Ramiro “Ramsey” Muñiz, is currently incarcerated in the Federal Correctional Institution in Beaumont, Texas. In three weeks he will turn 70 years of age. He is approaching 20 years of incarceration, and we seek a meeting with President Barack Obama to discuss his current situation which has had a devastating effect on him, our lives, and our families. We seek your assistance. He is known for becoming one of the first Hispanic candidates for Governor in the state of Texas at the age of 30. His community activism and volunteerism brought about advancements for Mexican Americans, Hispanics, Latinos and others throughout the Southwest.Ramsey Muñiz was an advocate and spokesman for civil rights and he encountered many problems in his life since then.
    Thank you for any assistance that you can provide.
    To learn more about Ramsey Muñiz, please go to
    Irma Muniz, Chairperson
    National Committee to Free Ramsey Muniz

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  4. whether America’s AWM’s (Angry White Males) like it or not, the US is connected at the hip with the rest of Latin America and when Latin America cough, the US gets a chill! Last weeks elections prove just how important and potent Hispanics are when given a chance in jobs, freedom, education and in the judicial system which, by the way, is in dissarray in the southeastern regions of the USA and in Arizona in particular. Hispanics are now the front runners in the struggles for civil rights for all Americans citizens and the AWM’s in Arizona, Texas and the rest of bigoted/racist America are unable to cope with it. It was this one election that the AWM’s found out how potent the minority vote is. It was like waking a sleeping giant! It must have been a rude awaking and more likely a rude shock, to find out the (AWM’s) are now the vulnerable ones, not just in the USA, but throughout the world at large! In short, the AWM’s have lost the credibility they thought they once had. It’s no doubt they will now look for their last bastion of defense ( an appointed, not an elected) conservative US Supreme Court Justices to continue to carry out their biased misguide national, international foreign and human rights policies. That is what made this one election the most important one in the entire American history. However, it will take President Obama the next 2014 and 2016 general elections to remedy the judicial corruption in the USA has been in during the last 40 years and to bring back the nation’s human rights and place it in it’s proper place among the other advanced civilized societies!

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    • Hello Fermin,
      I agree with most of what you say, however, we must make it clear to all that this is a political struggle and not primarily a racial one. Many progressive white males are allies in the fight for justice and equality. I disagree about your statement that we must bring back the nation’s human rights as the human rights record domestically and internationally in the past was far worse. We need to go forward and not back on that issue as there is a lot to improve on.
      Jimmy Franco Sr.

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  5. As a PWM (progressive white male) who supports the interests and issues facing the Latino and minority communities in this nation I see the critical need to continue our efforts to establish true equality in America. In the elections (2006 & 2008) when I ran for Ohio State Representative as a Democrat I was honored to have local Latino and minority community support. However, due to the unbalanced voting districts controlled by Republicans in Ohio it is virtually impossible for Democrats or Progressives to win in Butler county. We must continue to work together in the mid-term elections to change the established power structure of the Republican Party both at State and Federal levels. Knowing from this election that 46% of white voters supported Obama, while hopeful, still demonstrates the degree of racial prejudice that exists in our country. As a highly visible supporter of Obama (our cars loaded with Obama & Progressive issue stickers) both my wife and I experienced unacceptable racists slurs from AWMs as well as white teen age youth. The slurs from school age children were my greatest concern as it is evidence of continued prejudice being taught in extreme right Republican homes. Efforts must be made to alter the generational hatred being taught in those homes with better diversity education in our schools and churches. I look to the Latino and minority community to help find some answers to ongoing racial bigotry. Unlike myself, your community has fought against this inequity for generations, and though progressive all my life I had not experienced the racial barbs until I ran for office and became involved deeply in politics. PWMs need to learn how to better deal with this outrage of primitive ignorant behavior, and that must begin with the education of our children if we are to stop the generational hatred and racial bigotry. While I will do what I can in my interpersonal experiences there is little any of us can do to undo the established biased white attitude and racism of adult whites. The real hope is the change in demographics and the fact that AWM’s are a dying breed of older Americans who will, with God’s grace, pass away in the next decade. However, we must find ways to prevent another generation of ignorance and bigotry arising from our youth of every color and faith. Bigotry is not an exclusive white issue and prejudice is a two way street, so it is incumbent on us, as white and minority leaders and citizens to teach our children tolerance, respect and acceptance for all people. I am hearing far too much hatred of Muslims from far right bigots as well as condemnation of anyone who is pro-choice or gay. The preaching of hatred is deeply embedded in much of our predominately white culture today and it ultimately leads us toward division and weakens our democracy. Only working together can we find the way to a better nation and true equality for all. Our children are not only America’s future they are the hope of the world to prove that democracy and equality are possible and viable in the 21st century. If they are taught to hate rather than to be tolerant, division will continue to plague our nation and our people. I have a bumper sticker on my car that I believe says it all, “Zero Tolerance for Intolerance.” Perhaps that should be the mantra for us all. We have four more fruitful years to achieve critical goals for America and working together I believe we can better unite our people of all colors and beliefs for a better tomorrow. Perhaps by 2016 we can have a more tolerant and caring society who will again support the forward momentum of our nation with another progressive president. Let us work together to make that happen, not for any political partisan victory, but for the common good of our people, our democractic republic and our nation.

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    • Hello Kenneth,
      Thank you for your thoughtful response and dedicated political activity. The ongoing political education that is needed to enlighten people’s minds and diminish ignorance will definitely take time to accomplish. Meanwhile, we must continue this ideological struggle against incorrect and ignorant ideas as they are like poisonous weeds that require resistance and elimination.
      Jimmy Franco Sr.

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