There was an article in the Chron recently about the record number of Latinos on the ballot of both primaries. Of course, there were multiple people running in some races, such as Congress District 29 and Commish Pct. 2. Still, at the end of the Democratic Primary, how many Latinos have been left on the island?
Well, since most Latinos in Harris County live away from areas represented by Latin@s, I’ll use my own ballot as an example. At this moment, Democrats have the potential for 12 Latinos on my ballot. Of those 12, three are in run-off races, including Lupe Valdez who is running for Texas Governor, Richard Cantu for HCDE At-Large, and Cosme Garcia for County Treasurer.
But for sure we in Harris County will see names like Suazo, Lacayo, Hidalgo and Rodriguez on the ballot. And there’s even a Fleischer (es hijo de Chilenos).
And outside of my ballot, some in Harris County will see Sylvia Garcia, Adrian Garcia, Jessica Farrar, Ana Hernandez, Armando Walle, Penny Shaw, Carol Alvarado and more.
In case you’re asking about the dark side (GOP), there are eight on my ballot, including one in a run-off. Of course, being Latino doesn’t necessarily mean they support the issues that are important to Latinos, and Ted Cruz, Little Brown Bush, and the rest are not with us. Just to be clear. And we should never be afraid to say this. But anything for a “record breaking” article, I guess.
And that’s what’s important about ballot diversity. Representation goes beyond the Spanish surname. It’s about voters having a diversity of candidate stories with which they might identify to make the polls more inviting. In other words, a ballot that looks like Houston and Harris County.
But, most importantly, it’s about who’s fighting for you and your issues. Who’s standing up for public education, jobs, immigration reform, and access to health care/ And in these days of trumpism, we need all the fighters we can get.
So the problem with employing surnames as a census — not ‘racial’, maybe ‘creed’ — identifier is as easily pointed out as this: Neil Aquino (Italian, pronounced ‘Ah-Queen-oh”) and Sue Dorrell (Cuban). I’m sure you know of other instances.
Can’t someone come up with a better system (you know, for marketing purposes only)? Every survey I get from YouGov asks me what color I am, to put it bluntly. And most informed people understand that there’s ‘street’ and there’s DNA and there’s a bunch of in-between. Hope you can see your way clear to post this comment and reply.
The communication strategy is important. Surname or not, if one is some sort of Latino, they may identify with how something is presented to them. Of course, when Chicanos or Mexican-descent folks make up 88% of Hispanics in Texas, some may be left out of the equation in the strategy.
I’m reminded of the DNC’s idiotic attempt at Latino outreach by attacking Hugo Chavez. Let’s face it, most of Mexican-descent don’t have a problem with Latin American leaders who weren’t killing poor and indigenous people and actually trying to feed and educate them. But Dems at the national level don’t seem to care about the poor and indio in Latin America. But this is one instance of bad comms that came to mind.