One of the biggest crocks of shit from the Clinton campaign, and a dirty one at that, has been the claim that Latinos won't vote for blacks. It's quickly become CW. Too bad it's not true.
University of Washington political scientist Matt Barreto has compiled a list of black big-city mayors who have received broad Latino support over the last several decades. In 1983, Harold Washington pulled 80% of the Latino vote in Chicago. David Dinkins won 73% in New York in 1989. And Denver's Wellington Webb garnered more than 70% in 1991, as did Ron Kirk in Dallas in 1995 and then again in 1997 and 1999.
He could have also added that longtime Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley won a healthy chunk of the Latino vote in 1973 and then the clear majority in his mayoral reelection campaigns of 1977, 1981, 1985 and 1989.
Here in L.A., all three black members of Congress represent heavily Latino districts and ultimately couldn't survive without significant Latino support. Five other black House members represent districts that are more than 25% Latino -- including New York's Charles Rangel and Texan Al Green -- and are also heavily dependent on Latino voters.
Not only is the spin wrong, but it's racially divisive.
But the social costs of the Clintons' strategy might end up being higher than the country is willing to pay. According to Stanford Law professor Richard Thompson Ford, who just published "The Race Card: How Bluffing About Bias Makes Race Relations Worse," such political stunts can be "self-fulfilling prophecies."
"It could make black voters more hostile to Latinos," he said. "And Latinos who hear it might think that they somehow ought to be at odds with blacks. These kinds of statements generate interracial tensions."
In a cycle where too many unmerited claims of racial insensitivity and sexism have been thrown around carelessly, this is one that is genuinely disturbing and potentially damaging to our nation. It needs to stop.