Tuesday, April 11, 2006

There was an article on CNN today about the recent mobilization of Hispanics as a political force in fighting against proposed immigration reforms (that would more severely limit or control the number of people entering the country). The article talks about Hispanic voters as a potentially powerful voting block, and it seems to indicate that the outcry arising over this immigration issue might provide an impetus for change in attitudes and voting practices within America's Hispanic community (currently there is very low voter turnout within the Hispanic community- a subsection of the population consisting of somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 million people, but apparently some are speculating that Hispanic political activism may be on the rise in the wake of these immigration protests). The article goes on to suggest that the Democratic party would no doubt be the biggest beneficiary of an increase in the turnout of Hispanic voters at the polls.
Steanso kinds of questions this assumption. For one thing, the Hispanic community has traditionally had deep religious and family roots. The Republicans have already done a pretty good job of convincing a lot of lower income people (who would seemingly have little to gain by voting Republican) that the Republican Party is much more religious and more well-aligned with the church than the Democratic Party. A large number of Americans have already traded in their chances for health care improvements, substantial education improvements, and general social welfare programs in exchange for a party that promises to fight abortion and push for prayer in public schools. Steanso thinks that the Republicans are going to get a lot of mileage in the Hispanic community out of the fact that the Republicans are prominently aligned with a large number of religious organizations and leaders.
Also, Steanso tends to think that the immigration issue is not going to be as clear-cut across party lines as this article would have you believe. I think that there will be Republicans who don't want a lot of immigration reform (mostly because cheap, illegal immigrant labor helps to support so many small businesses), and that there will be quite a few Democrats who are actually in favor of immigration reform (because they see the long-term economic and social hazards that allowing continued, unchecked immigration may pose).
Steanso also thinks that the Republicans' appeal to "family values" (which Steanso tends to actually see, typically, as an attack against free speech, gay rights, and any other positions which might threaten the Republicans' '50's era vision of the American family) as potentially resonating within the Hispanic community.
I don't know. Once again, writing about this stuff has given me a headache. All I'm trying to say is that I don't think that an increase in Hispanic voter turnout is necessarily going to amount to a huge boost for the Democrats. I guess time will tell.

We're supposed to have Crack practice tonight, but no word yet from the boys via the World Wide Web, so maybe no one's coming. If that happens, I will cry myself to sleep. Probably.

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