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  1. #1
    Senior Member ShockedinCalifornia's Avatar
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    Nov 2006

    Should There Be a Hispanic Caucus? ... columnists

    Gregory Rodriguez:
    Should there be a Hispanic Caucus?
    As Latinos become a large minority, political alliances may turn out to be liabilities.
    February 18, 2007

    YOU GO, Loretta Sanchez. Just keep walking away from that Congressional Hispanic Caucus. No, not just because of the nasty name caucus chief Rep. Joe Baca allegedly called you. But because you'll be undermining a political practice that will increasingly hurt Mexican American statewide candidates in the most politically powerful states in the nation.

    From all accounts, Rep. Sanchez's public feud with Baca is highly personal. (She says he called her a "whore.") Nonetheless, the moment provides an opportunity to ponder whether Latino legislative caucuses haven't outlived their usefulness. I say it's time to abolish them.

    It's not because I stand in principled opposition to the idea of ethnic solidarity. It's just that both the demographic calculus and the political rationale that gave rise to Latino caucuses have disappeared. And as Latinos move toward becoming the largest ethnic group in the two most populous states, such caucuses become a political liability to statewide candidates vying to represent all constituencies.

    Latino caucuses emerged in the 1970s when Hispanics made up a small percentage of the U.S. population. Founded in 1976 on the model of the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus sought to unify regional political movements — primarily Mexican Americans in the Southwest and Puerto Ricans in the Northeast — into a single, cohesive national voice.

    However, since 1970, the Latino population has grown by a whopping 267%, and today Latinos make up more than one-third of all Texans and Californians. Given the ethnic political lag, it will take Latinos at least a dozen years to constitute a third of California voters. But once they become a majority of the state's population, within 25 years, won't it be a bit unseemly to have a California Latino Legislative Caucus?

    Political scientists tend to stress the symbolic rather than the substantive importance of these state and federal caucuses. "It stands for Hispanic presence and unity," says Harry Pachon of USC's Tomás Rivera Policy Institute. But symbolism can cut both ways, and the idea of a soon-to-be-majority group maintaining an ethnic-specific caucus is likely to rub future minority voters the wrong way.

    Tidy multiculturalist theories notwithstanding, most diverse, modern nations rely on unspoken compromises that ease tensions between a country's parts and its whole. We can all understand how troubling the formation of a white caucus in the Senate would be.

    While not entirely analogous, the Scottish experience in contemporary British politics may hold a lesson for Latino politicians. Recent polls indicate that the Scottish ancestry of Tony Blair's heir apparent, Gordon Brown, is becoming a liability among English voters. It seems that the formation of a Scottish parliament in 1999 is raising questions among English voters about their tradition of accepting Scottish politicians as their own. British voters now regard Brown as Scottish (the part) and not British (the whole). And that bodes ill for the Labor Party candidate.

    Of course, a caucus is not a parliament but a group in which co-ethnics or like-minded politicians can hash out ideas and formulate a unified stance. Yet other than a few targeted issues, Latino politicians have had a hard time finding common ground. Once bipartisan, in the 1990s the Congressional Hispanic Caucus lost its Cuban-American Republican contingent after then-caucus head Rep. Xavier Becerra took an ill-advised trip to Cuba. Likewise, scholars are finding that the Latino electorate is not a cohesive ethnic vote.

    "The idea of the caucus was to present ethnic unity back when people thought that was the only way they could be important," says Columbia University's Rodolfo de la Garza. "Those days are over." Indeed, as the number of Latino elected officials has multiplied, so has the number of voices, and unity has become something of a chimera.

    But don't mistake the absence of unity and the abolishing of Latino caucuses as a form of retreat. Most observers would agree that American Jews have considerable political influence. Today there are 30 Jewish House members and 13 Jewish senators. But historically, Jewish members have resisted the idea of establishing a formal caucus, in part because they have not wanted to invite a backlash.

    It might also help to know that New Mexico, the only state that has a Mexican American governor, does not have a Latino legislative caucus. "With Hispanics making up 43% of the population and represented in all walks of life, there is no perceived need to organize as a political interest group," says Jose Zebedeo Garcia, who teaches politics at New Mexico State University.

    We're not there yet in California and Texas, but we had best be prepared for the day.


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    There should be a Hispanic Caucus only in Hispanic countries. America is not one of them.

  3. #3
    Senior Member nittygritty's Avatar
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    Apr 2006
    Sure I think they should have one, I also think we are needing a
    "White Caucus" reckon how far we would get with that one?
    Build the dam fence post haste!

  4. #4
    johnny1966's Avatar
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    Jan 1970
    Tom Tancredo was right, Do away with all caucuses. Aren;t all Americans equal anyway ?

    <div class="entry-content">
    <div class="snap_preview">&ldquo;To the German Commander, Nuts! A.C. McAuliffe, Commanding.&rdquo;
    General A.C. McAuliffe

  5. #5
    Senior Member Beckyal's Avatar
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    May 2010
    Caucuses are needed in a country where everyone is suppose to be equal. Each of the members in a causus represent people other than those in the caususes. It appears that they have forgot that and that they only represent individuals of the same ethnic that they are. Caucuses are paid for with taxpayer dollars so you are paying for hispanics, etc. to be treated special. Isn't this discrimination? Where is my ACLU representative.

  6. #6
    Senior Member swatchick's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
    Miami, Florida
    All racial and/or ethnic caucasses need to be removed. It is against our founding father's beliefs.
    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

  7. #7
    Senior Member sippy's Avatar
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    May 2006
    Salt Lake City, UT
    I think we should form the American Citizen Caucaus and anyone not a legal resident or citizen should leave ASAP!
    "Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the same results is the definition of insanity. " Albert Einstein.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    TEXAS - The Lone Star State
    get rid of both the black and hispanic caucus

    if that dont work, start the white caucus.
    oh wait cant do that cuz then you will be called racist.

  9. #9
    Senior Member SOSADFORUS's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
    Should there be a Hispanic Caucus?
    Only in Mexico! in other words NO,NO, NO, and H____L NO!!
    Please support ALIPAC's fight to save American Jobs & Lives from illegal immigration by joining our free Activists E-Mail Alerts (CLICK HERE)

  10. #10
    Senior Member AngryTX's Avatar
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    Nov 2006
    Each one of the (insert ethnic name here.....) groups are nothing more than a special interest group.

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