By: Herman Baca /Committee on Chicano Rights / November 3, 2010
Another election has come and the 2010 elections are finally over. After a landslide victory in 2008 President Barack Obama, and the Democratic Party lost the House of Representatives, numerous congressional, governorships and almost the U.S. Senate. Principal reason for the defeat was the economic downturn, caused by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. For the burgeoning Chicano community and especially His-Her Panics who believe the current political system is fair, and the playing field is level the academic political question again is; how did we fare politically with the elections? Did we go backwards, or make political progress?
In my political opinion, the answer is yes to the first 2, and no to the 3rd question. We certainly have not made any political progress. If one analysis the national elections, they were a bona fide political disaster for our people. The nativist right wing Tea Party waged a political campaign and won on legitimate economic issues (taxes, unemployment, housing foreclosures, etc.) that affect millions of people. However, our political reality is after everything is said and done the Tea Party’s political agenda is protecting white privileges, based on race. In the months ahead we will witness increased scapegoating, and racist attacks of our people via the immigration issue by elected Tea Party politicians. Another factor was that many persons of Mexican and Latin ancestry felt betrayed, stayed home, and didn’t vote after helping to elect President Obama and the Democrats. As has always been the historical case, “we always put the Democratic Party first, and they put us last.” Even in races where we supposedly won, we lost! Elected Hispanic such as Marco Rubio, R- U.S. Senate Florida, and Herpanic, Susan Martinez R- Governor, New Mexico were endorsed and are even “leaders” in the anti-Mexican white supremacist leaning Tea Party!
In California where the Democratic Party won the governorship and U.S. Senate the election results in proportion to our population were also a disaster for our people. Lt. Governor Abel Maldonado the only person of Mexican ancestry serving in an elected statewide capacity was defeated. His defeat leaves California’s Chicanos (40% of the state population) without even symbolic statewide elected representation that Republican appointed Maldonado represented, since 1998 when Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante was elected. Bustamente in fact was the first Latino to have been elected to statewide office in California in more than125 years. In other words, it’s back to the 50’s for us, the 1850! Another reason was that few if any issues affecting Mexican and Latin interests were raised or discussed by candidates. Issues such as why we have more of youth in prisons than colleges, violations of rights, unemployment, education, housing foreclosures, etc? The only issue raised and discussed it seemed was the lighting rod immigration issue.
In San Diego County the results of the 2010 election were just as dismal. In San Diego County where we reside, work, pay taxes, and comprise almost 40% of the population we were not found anywhere at the top level of the political food chain, i.e. Supervisors, Congress, etc. The SD County Board of Supervisor, 5 seats totally white where no Chicano has ever served, 2 seats were up for re-election and both remain in control of politically right-wingers who do not represent our community’s interest! San Diego’s County five Congressional Districts seats the 49th, 50th, 51st, 52nd and 53rd all remain white! In the CA Senate and Assembly race two unaccountable rethreads (Juan Vargas and Ben Hueso) were elected. San Diego’s seven incorporated cities elected 9 white mayors, and 1 His-Panic, La Mesa’s Art Madrid.
At the lower end of the political food chain, i.e. school trustees and city councils members, etc, where political campaigns (basically in the South Bay) were popularity contest since no serious issues were discussed, the following transpired. 16 city councils, 5 His-Her Panics elected, 2 in National City, 1 San Diego, 1 San Marcos, 1 Vista. Seven Community Colleges, 1 person of Mexican ancestry elected. Ten Unified School Districts – 0. Four High School Districts- 1. Eighteen Union/Elementary School Districts – 6.
As disastrous as the above were the elections in National City (NC) and Escondido proved more disastrous. Both cities have majority Chicano populations, NC (70%), Escondido (over 50%), but are controlled socially, economically and politically by a shrinking Anglo minority. Escondido is an apartheid-segregated city for Mexicans, with a Sheriff Joe Apario, Texas Ranger police force, and a city council that would have made Hitler proud in Nazi Germany. However the political question being asked is how did 3 known dye in the wool white supremacists, Sam Abed, Marie Waldron, and (undecided) Ed Gallo get elected? And more important why did city council candidate Carmen Miranda valiant effort receive but 8% of the vote? Escondido if the above questions are not addressed and answered will see an increase of rights violations by the above political trio that in the past has approved anti-immigration ordinances in housing, police checkpoints, and ICE agents riding in Escondido Police cars, etc.
In National City the poorest city in SD County the political question is how did an individual representing but 10% of the city’s Anglo population get elected mayor (again) with only 20% of the registered voters? The other question is how did he wipe the political floor clean with an upstart Her-Panic candidate with NC having a 70% Mexican population? The political question is now that 2 additional persons of Mexican ancestry were elected (4 His-Her Panics council members and 1 Anglo Mayor) is how to make them accountable to represent the interest of the majority residents in the poorest city in SD County, and prevent them from becoming willing tools of the existing power structure?
In closing, hopefully the political questions raised will be addressed to start creating the social, economic and political power, comparable to our population numbers that will be necessary to begin solving the myriad of problems/issues affecting our people.
Herman Baca is the president of the Committee on Chicano Rights. This was re-posted from the Chicano Radio Network USA Blog.