Latinos: Why Vote?

By Miguel Perez

April 15, 2014 5 min read

The Democratic president who was supposed to be our great amigo turned out to be a huge disappointment, deporting more immigrants than even his Republican predecessors, refusing to ease his government's crackdown on the people he claims he wants to help, and making a mockery of his " Si Se Puede /Yes We Can" campaign rhetoric.

And the Republicans who claim they want to be our new amigos won't even allow immigration reform legislation to come up for a vote in the House of Representatives, proving they are more concerned about a backlash from their anti-immigrant "base voters" than making new friends.

No wonder so many Latinos have lost faith in American politics! No wonder so many don't bother to vote!

When you ask eligible Latino voters why they don't "do the right thing on Election Day," many of them respond with another forceful question: "What for?"

Instead of becoming more and more involved in the electoral process, it often seems as if Latinos are becoming increasingly disgusted with both Democrats and Republicans.

Yet many politicians — including the president — have the gall to complain about Latino voter apathy. At a fundraising event in Houston last week, President Barack Obama blamed the looming Democratic Party setbacks in this year's midterm elections on blacks and Latinos.

"We have this congenital disease, which is in the midterm elections we don't vote at the same rates," Obama said, according to the Washington Post.

That's true for most voters. And yet, thanks to you, Mr. President, particularly among Latinos, that disease could be spreading into future presidential elections. After all, what is the next Democratic presidential candidate going to tell Latinos: Si Se Puede ? What are they going to sell us: comprehensive immigration reform?

Even before Obama became president, Democrats were known for assuming that Latinos had no other choice but to vote for them, and then taking the Latino vote for granted. But Obama has taken that audacity to new heights, potentially raising Latino voter apathy and encouraging many traditionally Democratic voters to stay home on Election Day.

Amazingly, the only thing that keeps saving the Democratic Party from massive Latino defections is the insistence by a few Republicans that they can be much worse.

Just look at the way some potential GOP presidential candidates reacted to Jeb Bush's recent display of compassion for undocumented immigrants. When the former Florida governor said illegal immigration should be considered "an act of love" instead of a felony, most of the other contenders, or their surrogates, not only took cheap shots at Bush, but sent Latinos a clear message that they are not about to change their vitriolic, immigrant-bashing dispositions.

You've heard of being caught between a rock and a hard place? Well, Latinos keep getting caught between the hatred and hostility coming from Republicans and the phony promises coming from Democrats.

All we see are finger-pointing politicians.

"We've got a bipartisan (immigration) vote out of the Senate," Obama said in Houston, "and yet we cannot even get a vote in the House of Representatives ... not because it doesn't make sense ... it's not because there's some serious dispute or technical difference in terms of policy. It has to do with politics."

Yes, Mr. President, but politics as usual is getting sooo tiring. It is likely to make things difficult for immigrant rights leaders and other activists to conduct future voter registration campaigns in a community where people are tired of being told their vote will make a difference and where both parties have lost huge quantities of credibility.

Of course, when Latinos stay away from the polls, Democrats tend to lose elections. Clearly, Democrats have a lot more to lose from Latino voter apathy. And yet they still expect to win the Hispanic vote by default, because the Republicans keep insisting that, to please their base, they need to be our enemigos .

Republicans tell Latinos that Democrats are only using them to get elected and that their promises can't be trusted. Democrats tell Latinos that Republicans are promoting hatred and discrimination. And Latinos are discovering that everything they say about each other is true.

To find out more about Miguel Perez and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at

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