(Jim Clark) – After the first post-election meeting of the state-wide Nevada Republican Party last month I reported on presentations by Governor-elect Sandoval, Lt. Governor Krolicki, GOP National Committeewoman Heidi Smith and Nevada GOP Chair Mark Amodei among others.
Although nearly all the election results pleased the delegates the conclusion on why Sharron Angle lost the senate race to Harry Reid was that Reid attracted, and Angle repelled, Latino voters . . . some 16% of Nevada’s electorate.
Angle aired campaign ads on illegal immigration that portrayed Mexicans as menacing criminals. A spokeswoman for Angle, who is also chair of the Nevada Republican Hispanic Caucus, was put in the awkward position of denouncing Angle’s ads.
Robert de Posada, a former GOP operative, organized a controversial “don’t vote” campaign aimed at conservative Latinos in Nevada and California. Northern Nevada Republican Assembly candidate Ellie Lopez-Bowlan reported that a prominent Clark county Republican Latina offered the Angle campaign contact data on 40,000 registered Hispanics as well as a Latino-oriented script and campaign volunteers.
No response. Angle lost the race by 40,000 votes.
But stay tuned.
Although Nevada Latinos supported Reid or sat on their hands in the last election, Reid’s half-hearted attempt to get the DREAM Act (a proposal for a path to citizenship for young Hispanics who either attend college or join the military) to a vote has created mounting Hispanic animosity towards Reid and the Democratic Party.
Tired of being courted by Democrats only when they are facing reelection Latino leaders are taking a leaf from the Tea Party book and have officially formed a Tequila Party of Nevada. This has drawn national attention.
Fox News Latino reported that, since Tea Party candidates won 40 congressional seats, 5 senate seats and 3 gubernatorial seats, the Tequila Party hopes to mirror their success and recruit candidates sympathetic to Latino issues.
The Las Vegas Sun reports:
“Latino Democrats wonder if their support is taken for granted. They express frustration and anger at the lack of movement on immigration and education reform in Washington. They bristle at being underrepresented in the state Democratic Party and the Democratic National Committee. Community organizers complain they are recognized only near the end of campaigns, when polls are tight and their votes are needed. ‘There’s a feeling that Democrats aren’t listening’ said Louis DeSipio, a Chicano studies and political science professor at the University of California, Irvine.”
The Tequila Party of Nevada’s statement of beliefs include the following: “Americans are Americans, not hyphenated Americans”; “political education and information is needed to allow Hispanics to make more informed political decisions;” “we believe in common sense immigration reform”; “we believe in low taxes and small government;” “free-market capitalism is the best vehicle for achieving the American dream”; “Hispanic families should have the right and means to choose the schools that are best for their children.”
Hmmm. Sounds a lot more like the GOP than the Democratic Party.
Historically efforts to create a third party around race or ethnicity . . . the Puerto Rican Young Lords Party, the Black Panther Party and the Mexican-American La Raza Unida Party . . . have failed. But Irma Aguirre, co-founder of the Nevada Tequila Party, expects the group to be “a vehicle for Republicans to address tough questions that, unfortunately, the Republican Party is failing to address. If the Republican Party is going to survive we must sort out these issues. It cannot continue with fear mongering and racist rhetoric.”
So she envisions a forum for debate and discussion rather than a competing political party.
Republicans should stay tuned.
(Jim Clark is President of Republican Advocates, a vice chair of the Washoe County GOP and a member of the Nevada GOP Central Committee. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)