Latinos in the Tea Party?

By: Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary A small minority of Tea Party advocates are beginning to look at Latinos as potential members and/or supporters for the Tea parties that exist around the country. Some Tea Party advocates are airing radio and TV commercials and printed literature as well as Internet websites in Spanish. Tea Party advocates are stressing that the Tea Party (and obviously by extension the Republican Party) believes in traditional family values and in the importance of immigrants. This is a far cry from where the Tea Party and the Republican Party were just a few months before. The real change has been of course the Latino vote.

This was one of the decision makers of the 2012 presidential election. This vote bloc helped to contribute to current U.S. President Barack Obama being reelected. There were other circumstances leading to Obama’s reelection, but the Latino vote played no small part in that victory. Clearly this, and the fact that Tea Party advocates realize they simply do not have many Latinos in their ranks. This is why there is a sea change developing within the ranks of the Tea Party. They see Latinos as part of mainstream American society and part of America’s future. They see that Latinos are not only here to stay but that there are already several generations of native-born Latinos who are very much part of this great country. Finally, their influence on everything from voting to business and sports to science is immeasurable.

There still remains considerable opposition within the ranks of the Tea Party to allow a vast number of Latinos in. Many Tea Party members simply do not want to see a “sizable Spanish speaking bloc.” They fear that English will eventually be made irrelevant. The fact that almost all native-born Latinos know English and use it in everyday situations should alleviate that fear. But the bigger fear still seems to be allowing a “minority” into the ranks of the Tea Party. This view is one of the reasons why the Republicans lost the 2012 election, and may lose future presidential elections. Including racial and ethnic minorities is necessary for the Tea Party, and by extension the Republican Party, to survive and grow in this century.

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