Redistricting and Re-redistricting Latinos

By: Daniel Nardini

There are truths, there are truths to be self-evident, and then there is truth in numbers. The U.S. Census 2010 is truth in numbers. In this case the Census shows that the number of Latino voters in Illinois has substantially increased to include one more voting district. This will increase the voting districts with majority Latinos to five in Illinois. The chief beneficiaries—besides Latinos—will be the Democrats who want to keep their voting district monopoly so they can put in another state governor and keep the most populous counties in Illinois in Democrat hands.

As you have guessed, Republicans are challenging this redistricting. They intend to change the redistricting so that Latinos will largely end up in mostly Republican voting districts. What fascinates me is that both parties are eager to court the Latino vote. With the sheer number of Latinos in Illinois, and the sheer number of Latino voters this entails, it makes perfect sense. It also gives Latino communities empowerment. It means that if any candidate in Illinois, whether Democrat, Republican or independent, wants to court the Latino vote then they must do things to help the Latino communities they want to represent.

It means rebuilding infrastructure in Latino communities where it is decaying. It means helping Latino families who face unemployment, crime, create better school facilities for their children, etc. Any politician who does not try to court the Latino vote in largely Latino areas will be committing political suicide, and it also means that with voting clout Latinos can choose who will be best for their state and local representatives. More important, Latinos can elect Latinos to office. Who knows, but next time it might even be possible to elect a Latino Illinois governor if such a capable person comes along and he/she strikes a chord with the Latino community.

While some states are virtually persecuting their Latino constituents with state immigration laws, Illinois politicians are fighting to get the Latino vote. Thank goodness this is happening in Illinois!

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