With less than two weeks to go, a Republican operative has been roundly condemned for trying to suppress the Latino vote, this time through a TV ad that Latino leaders say is both irresponsible and dangerous.
The Spanish-language network Univision on Tuesday pulled an ad funded by the front group, Latinos for Reform, urging Latinos in Nevada not to vote in the upcoming election, supposedly because Democrats had not reformed immigration laws. Latinos, who make up 15 percent of Nevada’s voters, overwhelmingly support Democrats.
Nevada’s Latino vote could be decisive in the race between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Tea Party-backed Sharron Angle in one of the most high-profile races in the country. Nationally, Latinos voters also will most likely play critical roles in races in California, Florida, New Mexico and Illinois, and Latino voter participation will also be watched closely in Arizona and Texas.
Hector Sanchez, executive director of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), said it would be a big mistake for Latinos anywhere to skip the Nov. 2 vote.
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Disengagement from the political process is simply the wrong answer. Staying home on Election Day will castrate a key element of our political power. It would be recognition of weakness and dependency on somebody else to fix our problems. It would equate to the self-silencing of our community.
Although Latinos may have “valid reasons to be disappointed with some of the political leaders who have failed to demonstrate the political will to drive immigration reform,” Sanchez said,
…we must also have to be careful and consider what could happen if we do not participate in this election. We could allow extremist, xenophobic, angry voices, which have been running on an anti-immigrant platform, to increase their political power and lead the nation in that direction.
Latino voters can play a big role in the 2010 midterm elections, National Council of La Raza (NCLR) President Janet Murguía said, and some people will go to great lengths to suppress their votes. Murguía urged Latinos to stand up and have their voices heard at the polls this November.
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Latinos for Reform’s efforts to urge Latinos to stay at home on Nov. 2 are an affront to us as Americans who have a deep and abiding faith in our democratic process. Too many people fought too long and too hard—some at the cost of their lives—for the right of all citizens to vote. This ad is a blatant attempt to undermine both that noble struggle and the long and proud history that Hispanics have in this country.
The group that paid for the ad, Virginia-based Latinos for Reform, is headed by long-time conservative Republican operative Robert de Posada, who once led a Bush administration commission to advance privatization of Social Security, according to the Las Vegas Sun.