Home > Important, Politics > Sotomayor and the Hispanic Vote

Sotomayor and the Hispanic Vote

Last week’s news Adrian. That’s what you’re saying. But not so fast. The Ballot Box blog posted some key takeaways from yesterday’s release by the Census Bureau on voting and voter registration in the 2008 presidential election. Hispanic voter turnout increased 28.4% as compared to 2004, but overall voter turnout in the entire country increased just 4.3%. “Another way of looking at it: there were 5.4 million additional votes cast in 2008 compared to 2004 and about 2.2 million of them were cast by Hispanics….” Overall Obama took 67% of the hispanic vote.

Sotomayor was grilled by Republican Senators. To many Hispanics it will seem like bullying.

Sotomayor was grilled by Republican Senators. To many Hispanics it will seem like bullying.

The trends don’t look good for Republicans and they weren’t doing themselves any favors last week, when a Republican made a racist sounding gaffe and the general tenor seemed confrontational. The winner was from Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican who said, “You’ll have lots of ‘splainin’ to do,” to Sotomayor. The comment was stunning. It’s comparable to if an African-American selection for the Supreme Court was in front of white Senators and one of them replied with an off-the-cuff “Whatchu talkin’ bout Willis?” They were later criticized by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy.

The issue is not whether Republicans were racist. Newt Ginrich called her a “racist” before walking back his comments and Rush Limbaugh called her a “bigot and a racist” but he is a conservative radio host and this was before the hearings.  The “You’ll have lots of ‘splainin’ to do” comment was the one that was insensitive and a mistake. It was a misguided attempt at humor but it succeeded in making Republicans look out of touch–again.

The verdict was clear in the 2008 election. Republicans know they have to come up with something different to win Hispanic voters and expand their base. As of now they don’t seem to be on the right track and the numbers are not in their favor for 2012.

Tom Coburn probably wishes he hadn’t said it.

Sotomayor explains controversial “wise latina” remark

  1. mike k
    July 23, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    On the Ricky Ricardo line…it was during a light moment in the hearings, and was laughed off by everyone. It’s just another example of the media blowing things out of proportion that this gained national steam.

    Right before Coburn said that, Sotomayor described a hypothetical situation where she would go back to her hotel room, get a gun, and shoot Coburn. Were we supposed to look at that seriously as well?

    If anything, Coburn should be chastised for not fully understanding pop culture- Ricky Ricardo had the Cuban roots…not Lucille Ball.

  2. Adrian Carrasquillo
    July 23, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    Michael you’re right. I tried to distinguish my viewpoint by using the words “racist sounding gaffe” and “insensitive” if anything. Racist implies he wanted to stick it to her, I think he was just trying to be funny. And you’re right the media did blow it out of proportion but for a lot of people, the level of their grilling didn’t sit well. I think the most damning interpretation of what’s going on is what I touched on. Mainly, that Republicans should have some measure of significant Hispanic reachout. They appear out of touch.

    Remember when Virginia and Indiana were crimson-red states? Well if Texas saw an increase in hispanic voter turnout like Virginia did it would turn blue. Those votes are there its just a matter of enough money being infused into get out the vote efforts. Right now Democrats don’t truly believe it can happen but the state is only getting bluer, not redder.

  3. Clari
    July 24, 2009 at 9:43 am

    It’s great that you objectively pointed the issue with racism within the government once again. However, the point that also should have been made is the sexism thats going on. Why is it that a Latin women was chosen to be the republicans scapegoat. This why, because she is a minority female who comes from a low socioeconomic class. She is a perfect candidate for them to lash out on.

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