Photo by Joe Hall/Flickr (Creative Commons)
A multilingual sign points the way to a polling place, November 2006
"Much has been made about Latino enthusiasm around voting on Tuesday, suggesting that low enthusiasm means 'not voting.' Well, here's the thing: I am voting on Tuesday, but I would hardly describe my mood as 'enthusiastic.'
"All to say that there are different factors vying for Latino attention--some could dampen participation, some could energize it--and the way that candidates define themselves on the issues makes a difference to those energy levels."
Martinez's opinion piece made the Twitter rounds this weekend. In it she wrote about about the varied perceptions of Latino voters as either a) a solid voting block, aligned on issues and focused chiefly on immigration (which they are not); b) no different than the rest of the electorate, without common interests (which they are also not).
The AtlanticWire has a roundup of stories on Oklahoma's State Question 755, an until-recently obscure ballot initiative in the Sooner State that, if approved by voters, would prohibit the state's courts from using international law or Islamic Sharia law when making rulings.
I wrote about this curious bit of proposed legislation the other day. As unusual and geographically removed as it seems, State Question 755 is relevant beyond Oklahoma in the same way that Arizona's SB 1070 - and Oklahoma's similar HB 1804, which preceded it in 2007 - have been politically relevant beyond both states.
The inspiration for the measure, according to its backers, comes from a New Jersey case. From CNN:
The question might seem a befuddling one for a ballot in the heartland, but it stems from a New Jersey legal case in which a Muslim woman went to a family court asking for a restraining order against her spouse claiming he had raped her repeatedly. The judge ruled against her, saying that her husband was abiding by his Muslim beliefs regarding spousal duties. The decision was later overruled by an appellate court, but the case sparked a firestorm.
“The Latino community will be huge in these elections, they were huge two years ago…Because two years ago this community turned out, things were surprisingly different.”
- First Lady Michelle Obama on this morning’s “Piolín por la Mañana” radio show in Los Angeles
The interview was the second this week with a member of the Obama family on Eddie “Piolín” Sotelo’s influential morning show on Univision's La Nueva 101.9. An-studio interview with President Obama aired Monday, during which Sotelo pressed him on his promised support for comprehensive immigration reform, a sore spot for some Latino voters given the lack of a successful bill so far.
Today's interview with Michelle Obama, taped in-studio yesterday, is yet another testament to the growing influence of Spanish-language media and, as election season rolls around, the power of the highly-coveted Latino vote. Obama's remark above was in response to a question from Sotelo about "the importance of voting." The interview was aired on Univision radio stations around the country.
One of the striking things about "The Wave," the latest and perhaps most controversial of the immigration-related ads produced by the campaign of Nevada's Republican U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle, is how similar it is in its tone to what is perhaps the granddaddy of the illegal-human-tide campaign ad genre, a television spot from former governor Pete Wilson's 1994 re-election campaign known as "They Keep Coming."
The ad starts with a video image from the early 1990s (one that was repeated for years on television as synonymous with illegal immigration) of people running north into the United States from Mexico, along the southbound lanes of the San Ysidro border crossing. Rushing the southbound lanes was a maneuver that some smugglers encouraged for a period back then, as was telling border crossers to run across Interstate 5 to avoid border security, a tactic that led many to their death on the highway.
This afternoon's Patt Morrison show on 89.3 KPCC will feature an interview with Rosario Dawson, the actress who in 2004 co-founded Voto Latino, a non-partisan voter outreach organization that targets young Latinos, in particular those who are U.S.-born and English-dominant.
In the years since, the group has registered more than 35,000 voters, combining pop culture, politics and social media in its outreach. The 31-year-old actress-activist and New York native (whose ethnicity is described in the Internet Movie Database as including Afro-Cuban, Puerto Rican, Native American and Irish heritage) has been appearing in films since she was a teenager, with prominent roles in feature films that include the film version of the Broadway musical "Rent," "Clerks II" and "Sin City."
Dawson will talk about last-minute efforts to get Latino voters to the polls and the top issues they face in this midterm election year, including immigration and the economy. The show airs at 1 p.m., with the interview scheduled to air between 2:20 and 2:30 p.m.