April 27, 2007


Will the Democratic Convention reflect the Hispanic community

In a decidedly Democratic state, San Diego serves as a bastion for the Republican Party. For San Diego Democrats, this means they usually have to toil under the shadow of the Republican Party. But this weekend, Democrats from all corners of the county can bask in the glory of the party and spread their wings at the Democratic State Convention being held at the Convention Center in downtown San Diego.

The Democratic Presidential candidates will be here, every elected State Democrat will be here, and the Democrat Central Committee members, who make up the bulk of the attendees, will be here. The main purpose of the convention is to organize the central committee, elect regional directors, and adopt resolutions that reflect the philosophical beliefs and principles of the party.

Those are the stated reasons for the convention but what really happens at the convention is that it serves as a platform for the presidential candidates to share their visions, drum up support, raise money, and rah-rah the troops for the upcoming primary election. Then there are the parties and hospitality suites filled with all sorts of goodies for the attendees to partake in. For political junkies this is nirvana or as close to it as possible.

For the Hispanic community this could be a turning point. Hispanics have been taken for granted by the Democratic Party, which saw this constituency as squarely in their corner and as such did not need to work for the Hispanic vote. This was reflected most notably in the last presidential primary at their National Convention. As a Hispanic watching the proceedings you would not have seen any Hispanics as a main speaker. We saw Barack Obama afforded the limelight, which then propelled this novice into the forefront of the presidential campaign. Veteran Hispanic politicos such as New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson were relegated to the side lines and today Richardson struggles to get his Presidential campaign off the ground.

But when a record number of Hispanic voters turned their back on the Democratic Party in the last presidential election, voting for George W. Bush, this should have served as a wake-up call to the party. The Democratic Party had lost touch with the Hispanic voter.

The State Convention will have a heavy dose of Hispanics involved with this convention, which is a good thing, but a more significant indication of the party will be the adoption of resolutions that will have the input from Hispanics and that which reflects this community and will then be carried forth to the National Convention. Will these resolutions reflect the needs and concerns of the Hispanic community? We don’t know, but we are anxiously waiting to see where they stand on such issues as jobs, health, education, opportunity and of course the immigration issue.

Hispanics will be looking to see if the Democratic Party will reflect their philosophical beliefs and principles of the Hispanic community! The largest minority voting Democratic block will be watching. We are tired of being utilized as a token voter for their own purposes and as they continue to ignore the Hispanic voter.


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