Tuesday, 18 October 2016
The Quagmire Of The Latino Electorate
With the election being so close to being over you can taste the post-result riots, I've been thinking about if I should even bother to talk anymore about what's been going on. After all, there's only a few more weeks left. It would be hard to change anyone's mind about anything at this point. Anything that should be coming out of an op-ed on the election would just be a reinforcement of the author's decision or weeping for the sanity of the nation. But I'm not going to bother with either one. Anyone who knows me knows who I'm going for, why I'm going for them and why I'm not happy about it. So rather than dwell on my choice, let's dwell on the choice of the demographic that I'm part of: Latinos!
As anyone who's breathing can tell you, Latinos have been all abuzz in the 2016 election thanks to the comments that the Donald opened with when he threw his golden Made-in-China hat into the ring. When he called Mexicans drug-dealers and rapists, the left burst into moral outrage and promptly called him a racist as he crushed Republican after Republican. The idea of the wall resonated with his core, and it certainly was more of a draw when Donny threw in the added caveat of Mexico having to foot the bill. Once he got the nomination, there was more mention of Latinos in the election. For every ten or so mentions of the criminals, he would utter that "he would get the Latinos" or that "the Latinos have been betrayed". With comments like those, Democrats couldn't help but laugh and consider them the ravings of a madman. After all, they know that in their heart of hearts that us Latinos would be so adamant to march behind them after what Trump said.
Now they're not wrong. But they're not right either.
The first thing to point out is that Latinos are not all Mexicans. I would say that this stems from a bigoted, ignorant right but even the ever-so-refined left seems to lose sight of this. Latino pretty much has just been the more sophisticated way to refer to Mexican, and it's not without reason. Mexicans are the largest part of the Latino demographic. I can't be complaining too much about them going for the main sub-section of the Latinos if they want to get the votes, but this simplifies the way in which people view how other Latinos feel politically. For example, Cubans are usually more on the Republican side of things since a good portion of them fled from the socialist Castro. Perhaps the Venezuelan-Americans are no different. You're not going to see that intricacy, that subtlety. And in fairness, it's not like there's much opportunity for that to flourish. The conflation of the Latino and the Mexican in American is far too powerful that it eventually does cause the demographic to become monolithic by force.
Secondly and more crucially, the driving issue behind the courtship between the politician and the Latino demographic is the one of illegal immigration. Democrats often bring up the way that the Republicans have pandered to xenophobic tendencies in regards to the issue. They pull out story after story about the cruelty and heartlessness of the deportation process and feel as though their pandering through these tales will get the Latinos hook, line and sinker. And here's where the issue comes in. Not all Latinos illegally came to the US. In fact, they're kind of annoyed that there are these illegals coming in, because it hurts them too. As sympathetic as legal Latinos can feel about the struggles of the illegal immigrant, they also feel as though them getting the easier way in is a slap to the face to them. Legal Mexicans are particularly annoyed as it only feeds into the stereotype they're fighting so hard against. It essentially drills in the illegal immigration issue as the main and perhaps only Latino issue the big politicians will address.
It seems shocking for some to think that there may be Latinos out there who might actually be in favor of stricter immigration laws. The idea seems treasonous to the left, because it seems that if you're a minority, even thinking Republican is absurd. Yet there are many Latinos out there in the US who are opposed to the influx of migrants coming into the country. There are Latinos out there who would like to see some sort of border protection. Maybe they might be in favor of that wall with all its conditions or maybe they're just interested in seeing something like that. These people exist. Democrats don't see that. They neither see that Latinos generally are pretty tense with the US in general. I mean removing Mexico from the equation, the US has had its field day during the Cold War readjusting the powers that be down in the South. Furthermore, while Democrats may be awfully good at pandering to Latinos, they're awful in helping Latino communities. I've said that Republicans are a bad joke but Democrats are weak satire and part of why I said that was in regards to the Latino issue. They talk a big game about fixing the system but these communities still are as underdeveloped and crime-ridden as before.
Even though these complexities do exist, it is clear though that this time around us Latinos will go for Clinton. How many of us truly trust her may be hard to say but we certainly feel that Trump is not going to do us any favors. That's not to say that there aren't some Latinos out there who could be for Trump. Though if you're looking for a reasonable one who doesn't indulge in gross self-loathing of their own culture, you're not gonna find it in Marco Gutierrez, the leader of the movement. It's more that the majority of the Latinos have come to the point that it may just be better to head left than anywhere else. Even with their faults, it is important to recognize that Democrats are at least more open-hearted on the surface level. And there are those odd candidates who actually make some concerted efforts to improve the situation.
But then there are those like Ana Navarro, who while rejecting the Republican nominee, does not reject being a Republican. There are probably many of those like her that people may not be aware of. If people are able to see more of this diversity that does exist in the Latino communities, perhaps the issues can be brought to the table in a more reasonable fashion. Heartier debates about the problems Latinos face can be addressed. The evolution of politics stems from unorthodox perspectives being shown a greater light. In this election, the issues were too simplified. Cynically it could be said that all elections are like this. But I hope that might be able to change. It'd be nice to see more of the diversity among us all with the bigotry of the nation quelled. And it would be nice to see Navarro run in 2020.