Black and Latino Voting Blocs Flex Political Muscle
Barrington M. Salmon | 10/10/2012, 11:05 a.m.
She grimaced at one point.
"This conversation gives me heartburn," she said. "It's very insulting to think that Latinos can't speak to other people's interests. We want to see Latinos represented in proportion to our numbers. This conversation hurts our communities."
Labor leader Hector Sanchez said Republicans have alienated Latinos, while Democrats have chosen not to expend political capital on passing, for example, the Dream Act.
"Democrats need to play offense and stop playing defense," said Sanchez, executive director of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement in Northwest. "Immigration has not been a priority. It's unacceptable the level of racism, anti-immigrant statements and attacks on labor and education [from Republicans]. We need to be more aggressive."
McAllister said Republicans have made a political calculation.
"The reason why we see the war on women, labor and minorities is because they drive the vote," he said. "Fifty percent of African Americans live in the South - red states. You have to change the paradigm, not just see this through the prism of race."
Alex Nogales said Republicans continue to ignore a potent population.
"Latinos are overly fond of the president and not fond of the other party," said Nogales, president and CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition, based in Pasadena, Calif. "Republicans have been very consistent in the message of hate in terms of the Latino community. There is no real choice. They will take us to a place we don't want to go, especially when the other candidate says 47 percent consider themselves as victims."
President of the National Council of Black Women, E. Faye Williams, stressed coalition building.
"Dr. [Martin Luther] King spoke of a coalition of women, the poor, brown and black," she said. "We cannot get all of what we want unless someone gets all of what they want. Usually, we wait until the last minute to come together."