Latino voting bloc

The recent election marked the end of “Anglo Saxon” domination over the United States and the beginning of a possible race war between whites and Latinos, said Linda Martín Alcoff, a well-known philosopher from the City University of New York, during a lecture at Columbia University on Wednesday.

Alcoff said the presidential election results prompted the question of “how Angelo Saxon cultural domination is going to survive in the United States” as whiteness begins to “lose its place.”

Winning the Hispanic vote by 44 points over Mitt Romney was seen as the key to President Barack Obama’s reelection last week, and with one in three Americans predicted to be Latino by 2050, it’s forced both Republicans and Democrats to prioritize the major issues concerning the group in an attempt to win over the growing voting bloc, she said.

One of Alcoff’s central claims for why the Latino vote has caused such a stir in the recent election cycle is because its population growth poses a new and unique threat to whites, as the United States is largely surrounded by countries made of up Latinos whose populations could feasibly overtake that of whites.

“No other group can realistically pose a threat of ballooning numbers like we can,” Alcoff said. “It’s not like the Jews in Germany, where they were like 3 percent of the population and there was no real economic threat.”

Alcoff even went so far as to connect an increase in recent gun purchases to whites arming themselves for some sort of possible race war against Latinos.

Since Obama was elected in 2008, for example, the number of radical groups has increased hugely all across the country, while the number of guns sold in the month Obama was elected reached an all time high of 1.5 million, she noted.

While the Associated Press reported last month that rising firearm sales resulted from a fear of increased gun laws, Alcoff said this is instead evidence of the Latino community being targeted.

“These groups are not harmless,” Alcoff said. “The principle target here…is not an unspecified or abstract immigrant population, but generally Latino immigrants from Mexico or Central America.”

In fact, Alcoff is currently lobbying for more recognition of specific instances of Latino racism as hate crimes. Her talk was hosted by The Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, and previewed her forthcoming paper about racism.

It will argue that discrimination against Latinos should be regarded as its own category, much like the notion of anti-black racism, which she says will allow for a clearer identification of racist legislation, politicians and groups.

Obama’s victory has left the Latino population as the “it group” among political pundits, Alcoff said, adding the discussion about the group is “offensive in so many ways…I won’t even go into it.”

Fix contributor Luke Kerr-Dineen is a student at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

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A vitriolic opinion piece that combines the opinions of three Latino professors pretty much describes Republicans and Mitt Romney as racist, evil jerks.

“Latinos were voting against hatred and racism when they supported (President Barack) Obama,” argued a political science professor in the piece, posted on Politic365.com.

That professor, Henry Flores of St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas, went on to state in the election reaction piece that it did not matter to Latinos that Obama is “immigration reform light.”

“They also voted for a candidate who understood Latinos as human beings and not illegal aliens or some other entity (from) another place,” Flores wrote.

Not to be outdone, Luis Fraga, associate vice provost at the University of Washington in Seattle, described Republicans as hostile to Latinos, and warned their emerging voting bloc in favor of Democrats puts them at further risk.

“Latinos risk further being targets of anti-immigrant and anti-Latino legislation at national and especially at state levels,” he wrote. “They are at risk that laws such as those in Arizona, Georgia, Alabama, and other states that are solidly Republican will continue to target and harass Latino families.”

Finally, Stephen Nuño, assistant professor in the politics and international affairs department at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, opined that “Romney pretty much wrote off the Latino voter and it showed. If you were Latino and voted, you either had to do some serious calisthenics in your brain to decide on Romney or you weren’t thinking at all.”

Nevermind Obama’s strong deportation program, he added.

“Despite his immigration policy, Latinos overwhelmingly trust Obama to do what is right on a whole spectrum of issues that are important to Latinos, from education to health care,” he argued. “The only question is whether or not the GOP can overcome the lunacy of its nativist voter base for its own good.”

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A recent panel at Catholic University – billed as nonpartisan – instead offered only left-leaning professors who denied a growing anti-Catholic sentiment among Democrats and claimed most Catholics don’t care much about Democrats’ support of same-sex marriage or pro-abortion health insurance mandates.

The political science professors also claimed Catholic women prefer President Barack Obama to Republican nominee Mitt Romney, that the Republican Party fails to provide policies favorable to Catholics, and that Catholics don’t necessarily vote based on their ideologies.

The professors tapped to lead Thursday night’s “Catholic Vote” panel at Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. all teach at the private college. They included John Kenneth White, a frequent Huffington Post commentator and author of “Barack Obama’s America”; Matthew Green, a Roll Call contributor who wrote Speaker Nancy Pelosi was “a strong candidate for historical greatness”; and Stephen Schneck, national co-chairman for Catholics for Obama.

The panelists hardly focused on abortion and same-sex marriage – and religious liberty was not mentioned at all – this despite the U.S. Bishops criticism of the Obama administration and Catholic University’s own lawsuit against the Obama administration accusing it of violating its religious freedom.

According to these experts, Catholics care more about the economy than these issues and are unlikely to change their vote based on a candidate’s stance on abortion.

When asked about Obama’s new health insurance law that will require Catholic schools to provide free contraception and abortifacients, and the growing anti-Catholic sentiment among Democrats, the scholars dodged the questions, saying they were too partisan, or that polls show those two issues don’t really matter to most Catholics.

White said that there clearly must be no growing anti-Catholic sentiment in the Democratic Party, because Catholics continue to support Democrats in the election.

The professors agreed there is no such thing as “the Catholic vote” because Catholics, including non-practicing Catholics and Latino Catholics, tend to split evenly between party affiliation.

“I’m not sure Catholics bring their ideology to the voting booth,” White said.

Schneck, who has stated in the past that he believes Obama is the more pro-life candidate, said Romney does poorly with women voters – especially Catholic women – because women are highly pragmatic in their voting decisions.

“I don’t think women are voting for Obama because of a war on women,” he said. “Women are more pragmatic in how they cast their votes, men think more about ideology.”

Overall, the panelists voiced optimism about an Obama victory in November, citing statistics that showed the Republican Party fails to provide policies favorable to Catholics, such as the Latino voting bloc.

“The Republican Party is making a historic mistake with its policy on immigration,” White said. “It is beyond me why the Republican Party would go for short term victories like the Arizona law.”

He also said the country’s demographics favor Obama, citing the growing number of Latinos and single people. Both groups tend to vote Democrat, he said.

The Republican Party must change their tune if they hope to attract voters, because they campaign as if the “1950s nuclear family” was still the norm, White added.

Some in the audience walked away feeling as if they panel was incredibly one-sided.

“The upcoming election is so crucial for our church, especially given that the incumbent president is the most anti-Catholic president we have ever had,” John Archer, a Catholic University graduate student, told The College Fix. “I wish the panelists had had the courage to discuss the issues.”

During the event, Archer had asked Schneck to elaborate upon an argument he put forward at his speech at the Democratic National Convention that Romney/Ryan cuts to Medicaid would increase the abortion rate in the United States.

But the moderator, Sheilah Kast of NPR’s Baltimore affiliate, quickly cut him off, saying his question was too policy based for the discussion.

Fix contributor Regina Conley is a student at Catholic University of America.

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