« The Official Break | Main | Latino diversity -- a Question »

Latino diversity -- a Question

In a generally convincing article arguing that New York Democrats should be less sanguine about the prospect of Michael Bloomberg's reelection as mayor -- which could mean 16 straight years of Republican mayors -- Greg Sargent makes an intriguing point:

If the Dems continue to desert Ferrer, it will help Rove achieve another key strategic goal: winning Latinos to the GOP, a minority-outreach effort that he actually takes seriously. A victory for Ferrer, New York?s first Hispanic nominee -- coming right after Antonio Villaraigosa?s election as the mayor of Los Angeles -- would mean that Latinos had won city halls in major cities on both coasts. That would be deeply meaningful for Hispanics nationwide, reaffirming Democrats as the party truly interested in elevating them and making it tougher for them to bolt. National Dems seem blind to the potent symbolism that such a bicoastal victory would carry. But you can bet Rove isn?t blind to it.

That's a creative defense of the dreary Ferrer: He's no Villaraigosa, but together he and Villaraigosa average out to an inspiring bicoastal pair.

But I'm interested in another question, and I wonder if anyone reading this is enough of an expert on Latino politics to offer an informed answer -- is this true? Is it the case that Mexican-Americans in Texas would be inspired by the election of Hispanic mayors in New York and LA? Or El Salvadorans in Northern Virginia, or Latinos in Chicago? Or old-line Hispanic families in New Mexico?

I might be a little naive about this, since I was probably 20 years old before I really understood that there Hispanics who weren't Puerto Rican. But I now know that even within New York City, the worlds and the experiences of Puerto Ricans and Dominicans are very different, and it's hard for me to imagine that Latino communities in other places and with roots in other places have much more of a common identification.

And if there is anything more than talk to Rove's Latino strategy, I suspect it involves a very careful segmenation of the Hispanic population. He's not going after Hispanic votes in New York City or LA, where the population is large and already holds political power through the Democratic Party. Getting 20% more of those votes wouldn't matter for either congressional or presidential politics. But what about the growing number of Hispanics in states that don't already have established Latino political institutions, where the population is more dispersed and more suburban or rural? North Carolina and Virginia come to mind, perhaps also Colorado, and states in the upper Midwest as well. I suspect the Republicans know a lot more about those voters and where the pockets are of people who are more religious, more conservative, more likely to start voting like white ethnics.

It is now generally understood that the Democratic Party made a hash of its outreach to Hispanic voters in 2004, with Simon Rosenberg's New Democrat Network the best effort to try to salvage something. But I worry that Democrats often look at "Hispanics" as if they are as cohesive and unified a group of voters as African-Americans. I suspect that's not true, but I don't know. Anyone have a better answer?

Posted by Mark Schmitt on September 22, 2005 | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Latino diversity -- a Question:

» The Decembrist: Latino diversity -- a Question from My Weblog
Link: The Decembrist: Latino diversity -- a Question. Excellent post. [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 22, 2005 5:56:56 PM

» National Democrats Missing the Forest for the Trees? from James Poling
The American Prospect has a good piece up about the NYC mayoral race. It's Bloomberg against Ferrer and everyone is pretty much expecting a landslide win for Bloomberg. AP asks why the national dems can't see the importance of having... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 22, 2005 9:17:01 PM

» The Decembrist: Latino diversity a Question from HispanicTips
Good read and discussion going on here check it out. If the Dems continue to desert Ferrer, it will help Rove achieve another key strategic goal: winning Latinos to the GOP, a minority-outreach effort that he actually takes seriously. A victory for... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 23, 2005 12:08:54 PM

» A Non Vote For Ferrer = Vote For GOP from LatinoPundit
The Decembrist points out that Karl Rove's Latino outreach efforts can be intensified by not voting for Ferrer. If the... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 26, 2005 8:22:35 AM

» Cell Phones from mobilebum.info
News and ... Sep News of Safety phones, new cell phone phones Cell time ... [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 8, 2006 5:36:11 PM

» Most popular words 2006: from Reader's Favorites at Scientific American
The articles includes Editor's Favorites, top e-mailed stories, and most popular articles. ... Babies Can Learn Words as Early as 10 Months ... [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 13, 2006 8:45:14 AM

» Cardinal backs some condom use from cardinal backs
Catholic cardinal backs the use of condoms for married couples where one has HIV/Aids. [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 28, 2006 8:00:50 AM

» White Pages Phone Directory with Free People Search from Internet Directory Assistance
Nationwide search of our online telephone directory using only first and last names; Accurate! Use the freshest data available anywhere; Quick! ... [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 30, 2006 7:34:37 PM

» Find search engines across the world with Search Engine from World Search
Gain quick, efficient access to search engines from countries around the world with Search Engine Colossus - International Directory of Search Engines. [Read More]

Tracked on May 7, 2006 10:50:24 PM

» Job Search from Directory with Free People Search
Perform a quick job search using Job Bank USA's powerful job search engine. ... Thank you for using Job Bank USA's employment search services and job search ... [Read More]

Tracked on May 8, 2006 11:09:55 AM

» USA Search Engine Optimization from Advanced Search | US
Directory of USA (USA) search engine optimization (seo) and marketing professionals for web sites, internet development and viral marketing campaigns. [Read More]

Tracked on May 8, 2006 12:04:58 PM

» Clippers Advance for First Time in 30 Years from Mobley and Corey
the Clippers advanced out of the first round of the playoffs for the first time in 30 years with a 101-83 [Read More]

Tracked on May 16, 2006 11:46:25 PM

» Die Schweizer Suchmaschine from dir.pogovorim.com
Suchmaschine fr die Schweiz mit regionaler Volltextsuche (im domain und in weiteren Sites mit... [Read More]

Tracked on May 28, 2006 12:43:39 AM

» Cambridge Dictionaries Online: the little prince from online dictonary
Free online dictionary from Cambridge University Press [Read More]

Tracked on May 28, 2006 2:03:22 AM

» Hollywood Creative Directory from Directory Map
Contact information for the film, television and new media industries. [Read More]

Tracked on May 28, 2006 5:15:03 AM

» Federal Court Holds "Anti-Prostitution Pledge Requirement" Violates First Amendment from pledge their
"opposition to prostitution" in order to continue their life-saving HIV prevention [Read More]

Tracked on May 29, 2006 5:38:57 AM

» News Release from Technosim
ITmedia Mobile i ASCII24@nifty FMOBILE Watch. ి... [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 2, 2006 7:53:56 PM

» News Online from JapanHorse
Features weekly articles, archives to past issues, and timelines of scientific importance. [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 2, 2006 9:29:47 PM

» Gates to give up daily role at Microsoft (AP) from while others
foundation while others run the company he co-founded and guided to industry dominance [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 16, 2006 8:27:08 AM

» Dirk's 50 help Mavs take 3-2 lead on Suns from 50 pts including
Of course the Suns only managed 20 pts in the 4th, so they ended up on the losing [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 16, 2006 3:20:23 PM

» Florida county is nudist Mecca (AP) from shes wearing
shes wearing nothing but a smile. The pitch: She swims nude at Paradise [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 18, 2006 4:55:54 AM

» RB Toolbar from rbtoolbar
RB Toolbar - уникальный и наиболее перспективный и продуманный проект... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 19, 2006 10:19:05 AM

» Medical Dictionary from Bestbarrel
Searchable dictionary created by Dr. ALFRED. [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 24, 2006 10:44:41 AM

» How Important Are Computers in Your Life? E-Mail Us from Us Your Video...Extend
Your Video...Extend the Reach of ABC News' Reporting by Sharing Your Observations [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 24, 2006 6:23:57 PM

» acupuncture face lift from Medicine Words
Medicine Dictionaries and Word References Emergency Medical Technology ... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 26, 2006 7:44:11 PM

» site map: chains from myjewelrystore
Select your jewelry...14K White Gold .43ct Diamond & Sapphire Ring G-H SI3 [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 28, 2006 9:33:14 AM

» long bows from People searching
Searchable keywords online... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 31, 2006 6:04:06 PM

» clinique from clinique: Read reviews and compare prices
Shop our selection of Clinique fragrances and cosmetics online. ... Search results for "clinique". Item 1 to 10 out of 580 Show all, sorted by Popularity ... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 4, 2006 4:48:55 PM

» Utley stretches hit streak to 33 from his hitting streak
night, hitting a single in the first inning of a game against the St. Louis Cardinals. [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 8, 2006 2:36:01 AM

» Search Results Page - a from ondmd
Your search results page is packed with information. ... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 9, 2006 2:54:14 PM

» Internet Home from For All
... Computers & Internet News · History of Computers & Internet ... 1995-2006 [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 13, 2006 10:24:39 AM

» Folic acid and cancer prevention from (13 June 2006).
study were generally accurately reported. More research is needed to determine whether the results represent a genuine effect. [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 14, 2006 4:25:12 PM


I'm commenting as an editor at a daily newspaper in northern New Jersey where Latinos are more than half the Passaic County population and the mayors of our two major cities, Paterson and Passaic are both Puerto Ricans, with heavy Dominican, Peruvian, Mexican and Central American minorities. I also spent 20 years as a journalist covering Latin America.
I think one can say with a good level of confidence that Latinos are united on metapolitics and divided several ways on issues.
Their background, mostly as poor immigrants coming from failed or weak economies, tends to give them a labor-oriented perspective on most economic issues.They definitely seem to favor government action/intervention on behalf of the people (el pueblo is a kind of mysitcal secular term in Spanish)in such areas as housing, job creation, workers rights, unions. And with almost universal Catholic affiliation, they are generally conservative on most social issues, such as abortion and gay marriage. In addition, from my own observations, Latinos have a strong warrior culture going all the way back to the Moorish invasion, and you find Latinos overreperesented in the military services-- and in the casualty numbers, too. At our newspaper we have covered the funerals of not a few Hispanic soldiers killed in Iraq. It's always a heartbraking assignment: kids whose parents struggled to get here and toiled in deadend jobs, their sons and daughters who joined the services because they couldn't afford college--even community college-- and wound up on the wrong side of an IED in Iraq. Still, support for the war remains strong.
One area that is rarely discussed in the media is that Latinos prefer to live in cities and, at least in New Jersey, form the core of a new urban class of citizens who favor safe streets, mass transport, strong neighborhoods, public services, etc. Latinos in New Jersey have been the demographic base for revival of many urban cores. However, what's been missing up till now is a commitment by Latinos to education as the key to social mobility. This holds especially true for Latino women, whose families often do not support their efforts to become educated and lead independent lives, and, unfortunately, for too many Latino youth, who are lured to lives of crime, drugs and gangs as they are failed by the awful city school systems.
Liekwise, there is strong support among Latinos for small business enterprise and the chance to start a business and work your way up.
As for divisions: it's certainly true that Cubans who came out after the Castro revolution are staunchly rightwing on foreign policy, while Salvadorans escaping the civil war there are not enthusiastic imperialists. Puerto Ricans look down on Dominicans, who look down on..etc., etc. Cubans look down on everyone, except Spaniards. Nevertheless, these are not political divisions. Those may be characterized, I think by two factors: generation and when they came to the United States. I'm not sure this is completely valid, but the 2nd generation tends to lose their parents' social hangups, but also their parents's economic solidarity. Race and ethnicity tend to go away as factors in forming political beliefs. So do the old trust in government, politics and economic justice. It's these young Latinos that the Republicans are targeting, especially in the Southwest, with such policies as school vouchers (for parochial schools) and home ownership.
Politically, the Democrats have to make a major effort to win the Latino vote. The way to the White House runs through the Southwest.

Posted by: Jonathan Maslow | Sep 22, 2005 5:41:40 PM

I have to disagree with you about the "generally convincing" nature of Sargent's article. Speaking as a Democrat who campaigned for Dinkins twice, but was one of 30K defectors who put Bloomberg into office last time because the thought of pulling the lever for Mark Green made me ill, I think Sargent's article ignores two critical features: Bloomberg is a good mayor, and Ferrer is a machine hack.

The article consistently misrepresents the basic political forces at work, like suggesting that Guliani won by stoking the fears of blue-collar whites of crime. This is nonsense -- the man who defeated Guliani in his first run was none other than...David Dinkins, and those blue-collar whites were *less* likely to have voted for Dinkins in his first election. It was the *fact* of crime that lead to the 4% shift in voting patterns in the Dinkins-Guliani re-match -- the crack epidemic still raging, a race riot a summer, and no sense that anything much was possible, and the 4% that were swayed didn't include the blue-collar whites, who were in the Guliani camp the first time as well.

Similarly, this hogwash about Democratic malaise doesn't explain why Democrats keep getting elected to lower office in NYC. The town has not in fact gone Republican -- we've simply noticed that the Democratic Party is incapable of fielding anyone but lousy candidates for Mayor.

And again, the idea that people are suggesting that Bloomberg is a liberal Democrat is stupid -- no one, ever, has suggested that. He is plainly a centrist, and no one mistakes him for a liberal. Sargent had to throw the 'liberal' label in to avoid coming too near the truth -- the Democratic party is incapable of running a centrist (read: electable candidate) for Mayor, because of the influence of the machine.

The richest line in the whole article is here:

"And what if you believe that Bloomberg, in many ways a successful mayor, would simply do a far better job than Ferrer? Shouldn’t that trump such abstractions about GOP long-term machinations? Perhaps."

Perhaps? Thanks pal -- you want us to vote out a good Mayor, and vote in someone who has written so many IOUs to get where he is that his entire first term would be spent returning favors? No thanks. We'll take two scoops of the good Mayor, please.

Sargent wants the Democratic party to matter to New Yorkers more than good governance. It doesn't. I thought after we ended Mark Green's career they would have gotten that message, but seemingly not. If the Democrats hand us a candidate we can vote for, we will. Until then, no.

Posted by: Clay Shirky | Sep 22, 2005 10:13:01 PM

To qualify these observations, I had the privilege of serving as field director for the No on Prop. 187 (anti-immigrant initiative) campaign in northern California in 1994, worked to encourage the expansion of the new citizen (basically Mexican-American) vote throughout the 90s, and took part in the 2004 campaign in New Mexico.

My experience points to a lot in common with Jonathan Maslow's comment above. In California, Pete Wilson's manipulation of white fears of being swamped in a tide of brown invaders set off that mystical embrace of el pueblo and comunidad he mentions. Those Latinos eligible naturalized and registered to vote in droves, mostly as Democrats. In 1994, the electorate was 81 percent white; about 9 percent Latino. By 1998, the electorate was 14 percent Latino.

But from there the trend has stalled. Many of the naturalizations followed on the legalizations begun with the new immigration law of 1986 -- functionally it takes ten years for folks to come online as participating citizens. The new immigrant Latino population remaining is young, uneducated and poor. Jack Citrin and Benjamin Highton wrote an analysis called How Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration Shape the California Electorate for the Public Policy Institute of California that does a good job looking at possible futures. Many of us think that Latinos in California will only become voters in greater numbers as the demographic characteristics of that population come to more closely resemble those of the white population: more schooling, more economic stability, and some aging.

So will they continue to be Democrats? In California, despite defections to the magical figure of the Terminator, I think the answer is yes, for a long time. Republicans are perceived as old white people who treat Spanish-speaking immigrants badly, who want to deny healthcare and education to the children. It is that simple. Democrats will get the votes of people who feel that way about Republicans pretty easily -- having prominent figures like Villaraigosa certainly helps. All the social issues that might tend to swing Latinos to the Reps won't cut in a big way until/unless Latinos feel that they get fair treatment and their culture(s) and families get respect from Anglos. I suspect that where there are even newer Latino populations (like Iowa and the South) this pattern might be even more pronounced, IF Democrats are differentiated at all for other white people.

Here in California, it is hard to imagine Ferrer being much identified as a Latino -- but I am constantly surprised at the extent to which relatively apolitical Latinos think of Bill Richardson as part of el pueblo, so I could be way wrong about this.

Posted by: janinsanfran | Sep 23, 2005 2:42:18 PM

That's kinda wierd he wouldn't be identified as a Latino in Cali. Wonder why? Is it b/c he is not Mexican?

Posted by: Latino Pundut | Sep 26, 2005 8:17:35 AM

Latino Pundit -- yes, Nueva York is simply very far away if home was Mexico. But I could be very wrong, as I said.

Posted by: janinsanfran | Sep 27, 2005 7:20:41 PM