The Los Angeles Times just did a front page story on the Latino vote. Wow! Wait! The article says Latinos voting is all huff and puff. Well I am so flabergasted that I wanted to respond by saying: You are right, for now.
I have never had a Latino family member or friend tell me they are going to vote to “make a difference” or to increase Latino influence. Never. In fact, voting rarely comes up as a topic of conversation. The answer to why that is is simple, super simple. As my old boss Dean Tipps would say, “Voting is a social behavior.” It is like smoking: you either do or you don’t. Most Latinos don’t vote. (Insert long and expensive study here.)
There are ways to facilitate an increase in Latino voting. This is especially true among Latinos who are more likely than other voters to work multiple jobs and longer hours. I’m a big fan of early voting at ATM-like kiosks at malls, shopping centers, grocery stores, laundry mats or local schools. Hell, I am even down to put a voting machine at a local pot dispensary.
I am also a huge fan of having candidates and ballot measures that are actually worth getting up early on election day for. Put a $20 minimum wage on the ballot, and guess what happens? My male uncles and cousins all call me to ask how to vote. Put a candidate for governor on the ballot that wants 20 students per classroom, free lunch for all students and 15,000 summer jobs for California teenagers, and guess what happens? All my female aunts and cousins call my sister to ask her how to vote. But this won’t happen because the powerbrokers that fund elections are too closely connected to the political status quo and the wealthy corporations that give them their allowance.
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