13 thoughts on “How sensitive is the Democratic Party to Latino issues?

  1. Both parties found wanting but Dems beat out Reps
    This is our party–however much the Republicans want to play the politics of inclusion. The Democrats at the Democratic National Convention did not take any position on Puerto Rico and ergo we continue to be invisible. This impacts us differently stateside than it does in Puerto Rico. As Puerto Ricans, our country continues to be subject to American power and exigencies and all the implications attached to this. Stateside, we throw our lot with other Latinos and find the invisibility continually leads to civil rights infringements, second class citizenship with the occasional bone, third rate services in the area of health, housing and education. Some of us, of course do well in spite of this, but I’m talking about those “left behind”. Boy, that rhetoric sticks! In terms of class, Gore speaks to us loud and clear–and there indeed seems to be more of an awareness and sympathy towards the plight of the working class. For our elderly, too, Gore bodes well. By acknowleging itself as the party of inclusion without having to defend or justify itself, the Democratic Party was able to represent itself as truly polycultural. It never spoke of minorities or I didn’t here the “M” word on all three nights I watched and this was terribly refreshing. It was obvious from the floor up to the podium that diversity ruled and that no particular group was being selected as a “special treatment minority” also to be lauded. The Democratic Party is indeed more sensitive to Latino issues, or at least, appears to be in having not chosen any group to stand before it as its badge of approval and for positioning itself so strongly behind the workers, the elderly, the children and the poor.

  2. RE: Both parties found wanting but Dems beat out Reps
    I cannot take EITHER party seriously—what seems never to be mentioned is how the Gore who “cares” about us, is part of an Administration that has (a) totally restricted Fedral habeus corpus (by a former constitutional law professor), pushed up to another million children (by Administration figures) into poverty thanks to “welfare reform” (c) has still not put the $100-150 billion the GAO has estimated school buildings need to be fixed–you know, so little things like leaks and broken windows are fixed, (d) gave us NAFTA and other “free” trade agreements (e) the war on drugs (except the two biggest killers, alcohol and tobacco) (f) corporatization of the political process, etc., etc.

    One good (if that’s the word) thing about the Republicans is that at least one knows beforehand they don’t like people of color (Jackie Robinson at a Republican convention: “I now know what it felt like to be a Jew in Nazi Germany”).

    The Democratic Perty “our” party? You can keep it.

    P.S. Does anyone else beside me think that the reason for the “populism” by Gore has ANYTHING to do with Ralph Nader? Now there’s a party to check out!

  3. Let’s get real
    Third Parties are historically unsuccessful in the U.S. because their platforms, if they become popular, are basically absorbed by one of the institutionalized parties. This is just the hard reality. Movements too are absorbed in a similar manner. As such, I would say that your point about Ralph Nader is somewhat accurate. I say somewhat because Gore has historically or at least during his vice-presidency been associated with environmental issues–however misdirected this impression may be. I think it is not–it just isn’t as radical as one might want. Also, the whole medical coverage issue is not new. He has been associated with the failed program Hillary Clinton spearheaded. So that his positions on providing coverage to the needy is not new either. I think basically Gore has decided to radicalize his image in reaction to Bush more than Nader. If the Republicans are now talking like Democrats–well then, what’s a Democrat to do? Certainly not start sounding like a Republican, which is somewhat what Clinton has been doing, especially with respect to Welfare and balancing the budget. In a sense, Gore is raising the ante perhaps inadvertently. He is pushing further into edgey, unmarked territory which may work or backfire politically. But he’s being very ballsy and it seems–what the heck–to be working. He has created more discourse and interest in his candidacy. Another point, he had to really strike out on his own and show that he too could be an innovator or renovator–in reaction to Clinton. I think he has successfully done so. Also Lieberman was quite a coup because it was unexpected–and interestingly embodies being an ethnic, a persecuted minority and being white all at the same time! Again, it could backfire but he’s generated some heat and light for the bold choices he’s made. I think he should be supported.

    Whatever you think of the Latino leadership in this country, most are Democratic and as such working with a Democratic president allows us to push the Latino agenda forward in ways that a Republican president would not. Besides, even if Nader made it into the White House, he would be completely isolated from Congress–rendering him ineffectual. I’m not sure Nader would be effective as a leader, he might be as an adviser to Gore–as a member of his cabinet.

  4. RE: Let
    Let’s see if i get this–(a) because 3rd parties have had their message absorbed by the major ones, we should still support the major parties? At what point does one say, basta? Let’s not forget the Republican Party started as a 3rd party, and did not win its first election. (b) I do agree that Gore has been sounding populist. Except not against: credit card companies, auto companies, oil & gas companies, private medical insurance, the ripoff by mining countries in the West, the restriction of Federal habeus corpus, school buildings collapsing, “aid” to Columbia, Vieques bombing, etc. Yup, he’s a radical, all right (c) Lieberman? Gimme a break–a man who as the NY Times (8/26/00) pointed out is “proudly probusiness.” Besides, the man cannot finish a sentence without invoking god–what’s that all about? A courageous choice? Why? ‘Cause he’s Jewish? Gimme a break (d) Gore & the environment: if Gore kept even HALF his environmental promises that would be a miracle. There’s been NO indication that he’s willing to make the choices needed to bring down emissions–there’s his nonsense about “credits” as if we’re supposed to be impressed. (e) Healthcare? The Clinton plan was nowhere near universal healthcare–which by the way, not only is it a left plank going back to the beginning of the 20th century, but was proposed by Harry Truman. Gore wants to insure all children (about goddam time!) and “eventually” go towards universal healthcare for all. Quick–how often is THIS point emphasized in his talks? (f) Latino “leadership” is Democratic? So what? What good did it do when it came to welfare “reform” or the bombing of Vieques? (g) No, I don’t think Gore is being a populist because he needs to distinguish himself from Bush–it IS because the worry is that Nader will take away votes–the SAME thing Clinton was worried about in 1996, according to his campaign manager. To imply that there is a substantive difference between the two parties totally ignores the move in the Democratic Party to a probusiness agenda, thanks to the Democratic Leadership Council (brought about by Clinton and fully supported by Lieberman). I will vote for Nader, since it will take 5% for the Green Party to qualify for Federal Funds in 2004. We need to allow space in this country for a proworker, leftist party; if nothing else, it will improve our “debates” in this country. (g) Why assume that Nader will be isolated if he wins? There’s the Hispanic and Black Caucus, both of whom will support him–besides, if Nader won, how much would the Congress dare ignore? Ralph knows his stuff, and will not hesitate to point out the deals and sneaking in of riders in legislation, plus corporate welfare, etc.

  5. Let’s
    Sorry–I posted the same thing twice. However, I think the following Nader quote pretty much say it all:”If Al Gore really wants to challenge the powerful corporations as he stated in his populist rhetoric at the Democratic National Convention, he ought to give back all those millions of dollars to the giant pharmeceuticals and oil corporations. As for Bush, it was unconstitutional for George to run for president because he’s not really a person, he’s a giant corporation.”- Ralph NaderPortland, Oregon, At a rally drawing more than 10,000 people

  6. RE: RE: Reality knocks
    Well, let’s see. I won’t answer you point by point but I will reflect on some of what you have stated. To begin, we live in a country that is capitalist. As such, neither Gore nor Lieberman have to hide the fact that they are supporters and have the support of certain sectors of big business. In fact, what usually gets played out among BB (big business) is a hedging bets game ultimately–some for Gore and some for Bush. Gore’s attack is levelled against a kind of openly rapacious activity that reflects what he and Lieberman have seen as a disintegration of civil society. And this is all within the framework of a capitalist system.

    Should there be other parties?–yes. Was I stating the argument that because the two-party system is so entrenched no one should ever attempt to create a third party or fourth or fifth party? No. I am merely stating, and actually your example about the Republican party supports my point, that ultimately the program of the outsider becomes institutionalized by a process that involves being absorbed into one of the main parties, or during times of upheaval, the outsider party supplants an older and established party.

    To attack Gore for proposing universal healthcare and thereby bringing forward an idea that is as old as–let’s say Fourier and the Paris Commune–is really just whistling in the wind since it remains consistent with the Democratic party’s identity of being the great social innovator.

    I still maintain that Gore is distinguishing himself from Bush, although, of course the Gore ticket should be concerned about Nader acting as a siphon of the left. Nader is just not drawing the numbers he needs to. Also, again I reiterate that the qualities you point out in Nader are really those that would work well in the capacity of an advisor than a leader who must build consensus, occasionally twist arms, bash heads and cut deals. You also imply that Nader is a populist although he is far from popular. This may seem a frivolous remark but it isn’t. Nader supports populist causes but he is not a great crowd drawer or enlister of women and men. I like him very much for the work he has done. But I don’t think he should run for president. I believe there should be a solid laying of a groundwork for the Green Party–I would say a thirty year plan of building candidates up from the local government level and winning legitimacy community by community, town by town. The Green Party will have the same problems the Reform Party has and has had–and for basically the same reasons. They haven’t really built an infrastructure for their parties. They want to start at the top which means failure and the squandering of resources. Be that as it may, Nader for me is much more effective as an outsider than an insider. To become an insider will ruin who he is and what he has stood for. You say he will not be isolated because he has the support of the Black and Hispanic Caucus–now what percentage of Congress do we comprise? And how effective was the caucus in the fight to save Welfare and the struggle against the current HMO system?

  7. Let’s be very funny
    This is great and actually very funny– Rock the vote, please! Not to discount the value of those 10,000 people and the demographic they comprise. And of course there is so much truth in humor! I’m sure Nader said this in his proverbial deadpan manner. There is so much fury in that man that he has to keep a tight lid on himself. And I mean this in a positive sense.

    I would like to see Gore keep those millions and still initiate and support legislation that will bring the oil companies and the giant pharmaceuticals to their knees a la Franklin and his uncle Theodore. And like Franklin and uncle Theodore, I hope he busts George W.

  8. RE: latinos
    So? That’s your right as an American. However, it doesn’t answer any of the points raised here, either pro or con

  9. RE: RE: RE: Reality knocks
    I wasnt attacking Gore for proposing universal healthcare–in fact, I support it. What I was saying was that one did not hear about this from Gore until the worry arose that NAder would “defeat” Gore. That’s a politician talking–there is no evidence anywhere that Gore was prouniversal healthcare before–what’s missed is that Gore now would have to challenge the healthcare industry. Not very likely. On a second point, I DO agree with u that the Greens have not built an infrastructure. I will also add that in my view the biggest failure with the left is its domination by middleclass white males–diversity has got to be worked on in the left. Nader IS popular–anyone today wearing seatbelts, usind prescription drugs, eating food, breathing clean air or drinking clean water, has an enormous debt to Nader and his “Raiders” For about 40 years, he has been at the forefront as a consumer advocate. As to not being popular, wouldnt that be a criticism of media coverage? The media always says, “well, we can’t cover u because people dont know u.” But if the media won’t cover u, then HOW will people know about u? Can anyone say circular argument?

    By the way, there is NO one (I hope) who actually thinks Nader will win. The point is, that by laying the groundwork and winninf Federal Elections the DIALOGUE in this country will be expanded, and the probusiness, corporate agenda (I know this is a capitalist country. Does this mean that it HAS to remain one, or that we chooses x over y because one will screw the working class just that much less? Think how impoverished a choice that is–“I can either torture u for 6 hours or bust your knee and let u suffer for 6 hours.” Which is the lesser of 2 evils? That’s the sort of analysis one hears in the media outlets. Think how disgusting that is to the rest of us. It’s time that we as citizens (a) vote and (b) vote based on long as well as short term considerations. If we say, now is not the time (ie, wait 30 years) then WHEN is the time?

    Again, dont misunderstand me–Latinos can vote for whomever they want to. However, let’s not then (next year, say) bitch and moan because President Gore is not being “sensitive” to Latinos, or speaks but does not do. Then what will we say for 2004? Let’s still support Gore, since he’ll improve? What of 2008? I mean, at what point do we just go alternative? In 30 years, k, Ill be in my 60s!! 🙂

  10. RE: RE: latinos
    What’s Gore’s position on Puerto Rico? I believe he supports Rosello and selected Rosello to manage his campaign in Puerto Rico. (As if we could vote! It’s as if we are in a constant rehearsal to become Americans. Practice makes perfect! Frightening thought.) This is a contradiction we stateside Puerto Ricans live with: A candidate who supports our interest stateside is completely unenlightened towards Puerto Rico as a nation. Gore needs to really look at Puerto Rico’s history and U.S. policies there. He needs to really explore what is going on in Puerto Rico in a non-partisan way instead of having everything filtered through the PNP which I assume is going on since Rosello is his buddy–at least politically.

  11. RE: RE: RE: latinos
    Here’s a question (aprops of nothing): Should Puerto Rico become the 51st (or 52nd, counting the other colony the U.S. has, Wahsington DC) would that be a bad thing (assuming she still remained predominately Spanish speaking)? Maybe that could be a forum question, which should be up for a while.

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