Again…It won’t just happen

Posted in Around The State, Commentary, Elections at 2:51 pm by wcnews

Great article on organizing voters from O. Ricardo Pimentel, Answer nearly always ‘no’ if you don’t ask. He shows how the “inevitablity” of the demographic voting shift in Texas won’t just happen.

t was, admittedly, an unscientific survey.

I stopped 10 Latinos in downtown San Antonio earlier this week. All eligible to vote, I asked if they had in November.
Four said yes, including one elderly woman who told me in Spanish that she is a citizen.

But six hadn’t. They gave me sheepish looks after divulging their civic lapses, obviously anticipating guilt-inducing questions up next.
Instead, I asked if anyone had approached them to register or vote?

No, came the answer. No knocks on the door. No telephone calls. No beckoning contacts.

This is relevant in light of what can only be described as giggly giddiness overtaking many in the Democratic Party because their top guy captured such a significant portion of the Latino vote, 70 percent or better.

This Latino vote, and the explosive population growth that enables it, signal the inevitability of Democratic dominance even here in redder-than-red Texas, it’s said.

For sure, this employs logic given the demographic shifts. But “inevitable” can be right around the corner, electorally speaking, or long-time-if-ever coming, Methusela speaking.

The hard work of registering voters and getting them to the polls is what will make the shift inevitable.

One third of Latinos are under 18 and another third are not citizens, Camarillo explained. And a whole lot of the remaining third share the tendency of minority voters of participating in greater numbers — when asked.

In Texas, virtually no one is asking, Camarillo’s organization is a notable exception but fundraising constraints come into play.

There is, in other words, no effective well-funded, statewide, coordinated undertaking by a coalition of groups.

Texas, not coincidentally, has erected the most onerous restrictions on third-party voter registration drives in the nation.

Democrats and others have noticed the cohesiveness of Latinos in voting for folks who believe in public investments, not a GOP strong suit at the moment. But it is as if they expect this support to continue without effort, Latino minors maturing into responsible voting Democrats automatically.

It doesn’t work that way.

Said Perales, “The gap between eligibility and voting is widening, not narrowing.”

Said Castro, “It’s not going to happen on its own.”

The truth is, if inertia and lack of statewide coordinated registration and get-out-the-vote efforts persist, it won’t happen at all.

This effort should occur not to turn Texas blue but to make sure Latinos have sufficient voice.

Last I looked, maximum voter participation is still a democratic value. It happens only on purpose.

So, how about less giddy and more giddyup?

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