Washington, DC – Below is a column by Maribel Hastings and David Torres from America’s Voice en Español translated to English from Spanish. It ran in several Spanish-language media outlets earlier this week.
A wise saying goes: “you snooze, you lose.” And that fits, like a glove, the politicians and parties who rest on their laurels and wait, mistakenly, for the unconditional and immovable support of the voters, no matter what happens or does not happen.
This is something the Democratic Party doesn’t seem to understand, despite the evident examples of the urgency with which they should act to achieve what they promised for so long, especially to minorities and immigrants. Taking the support of this segment of the population for granted is not recommended, much less strategic. At any rate, it would be negligent and irresponsible, politically-speaking. And those debts always come due, sooner or later.
For example, on June 14 there was a special election in Texas’ 34th congressional district, which was represented by Congressman Filemón Vela before he resigned for a job in the private sector. Well, the seat was won by Republican Mayra Flores, over Democrat Dan Sánchez. And although there will be a new election in November, and many hope it will be more favorable for the Democrats—given the new lines drawn for congressional districts—this occurrence is evidence of what happens when there is no investment in an 89% Hispanic district and in a state like Texas where, similar to Florida, Republicans continue to make inroads with Latino voters.
That is, the Democrats’ excess of confidence in their much-ballyhooed fight for the Latino community results in cases which, as in the Texas election mentioned, become a monument to political negligence, in other words, disinterest with regard to the priorities of Hispanics that in the end will hurt the Democratic ranks.
Flores, in fact, accepted donations from Republican leaders like Elise Stefanik, third-ranking Republican member in the House of Representatives, who has echoed the racist conspiracy theories promoted by white supremacists and Republican leaders. Despite the fact that we already know that all of this political trash is focused on hurting the Latino immigrant community, Flores won irrefutably. This alone should have sounded the alarm bell such that Democrats paid more attention to their political strategies; but it seems that apathy—and hollow, grandiose promises—form part of their partisan performance.
In an article in the Texas Tribune, Sánchez, the Democrat, explains it even better: “Too many factors were against us, including little to no support from the National Democratic Party and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).”
Although this is about a special election and a seat that will once again be in play in November, it’s also a taste of what could be coming, if the Democrats continue leaving everything to chance—or the false notion that if they have always been supported by a group of voters, like Hispanics, that support will be eternal.
But nothing is eternal in politics, and anyone who aspires to a political position in any part of the world knows this very well. Even beyond ideologies, in a democracy it is the voter who puts everything in its rightful place, even if that means sending a candidate—or a party—to the dustbin of history.
This is especially important at this juncture, when the midterm elections are coming to a head, at a time when voters’ pocketbooks still have not recovered from the aftermath of the pandemic, or the war in Ukraine: high gasoline prices, plus everything is more expensive, from food to housing. And for certain groups of voters, legislative changes have also not materialized, as in the case of immigration reform.
This issue, for millions of human beings in this country, is one of the inflection points in their perspective about their personal and family lives, especially the goal of achieving immigration stability they have fought and waited for, for so long.
Add to that picture the fact that the Democrats also have to deal with the disinformation campaigns that have become Republicans’ favorite electoral strategy, in honor of the Liar-In-Chief—ex-President Donald Trump—well, it doesn’t look so good.
That is partly because the Democrats seem to continue to fail to grasp that Republicans’ lies and disinformation have support from a part of the public that accepts them as reality. Just remember the coup attempt on January 6, 2021, based on the lie that the 2020 election was “robbed” from Trump; a lie which, to this day, Trump and his minions continue to repeat and exploit for electoral ends.
Indeed, the congressional hearings about the January 6 attack have exposed details that—although they should be condemned by all of society, since this was a direct attack on our democracy—are unfortunately accepted by this segment of society and the electorate that continues to support Trump.
How long will this support last? This will be decided by the level of Republican shame, on the one hand, and Democratic disinterest, on the other.
The Democrats cannot continue to think that the entire U.S. population is angry about what happened on January 6, since a wide sector of society justifies it. That is an unfortunate and sad reality that the history of the United States will have to deal with, from today onward—a country that is losing its international leadership role as a “model” society.
In other words, Democrats do not have the luxury of underestimating disinformation campaigns because these—on top of the fact that many campaign promises from Democrats have not been accomplished, and with the aggravating factor of the economic pressure the U.S. American people are suffering—could become an electoral recipe for disaster for the Democratic Party in November and for the general elections in 2024. And that can’t be fixed overnight, especially when Democrats are running out of time in their effort to remain in power.
To read the Spanish version of this article click here.