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A facebook friend of mine, who happens to also be a Latino activist, posted the following great analysis of recent political attempts to win him over:

It's fascinating how white Republicans seem to think Latinos are monolithic. Marco Rubio is Cuban and most Latinos simply don't identify with him. He isn't some sort of magical key to the Latino vote. Cubans are a slim minority of all Latinos in the United States. Most of us are Mexican. Many of us are also Salvadoran, Colombian, Peruvian, Chilean, Panamanian, Argentinian, etc. Not only is it geography, it is culture, food, language (the Spanish language is a far more diverse than English). We are straight, gay, European, Native American, African, Asian. Latinos make for a fascinating tapestry. It might do Republicans some good to recognize this reality.
I was struck by the honesty and power of his post; as a woman I had been feeling exactly the same way. We are no longer just slightly more than half the country. We’ve become a commodity.

Already this summer, I’m observing cheesy, schmaltzy, one-size-fits-all attempts to court women voters.  Many campaigns seem to reach from the same old tired bag of tricks every time they want to reach out to women:

•    Make the website page look soft and feminine.
•    Have a “Women For… (Insert candidate’s name here)” group.
•    Talk about abortion to the exclusion of almost anything else.
•    Show the candidate’s wife as often as possible.
•    Hire perky, pretty college girls to sign up supporters using clipboards.
•    Shoot photos around the dinner table (as if that’s the only place women hang out).

Snore.  Flinch. Recoil. Why are they doing this?

Women make up 51% of the population of the United States. Women and Latino voters are the key demographics in the November general election, from the County Coroner to the President of the United States. As the lead organizer in Denver for Colorado’s grassroots “We Are Women” March and Rally on April 28th of this year (there were lead organizers in other cities and towns around the state, too), I’ve received a number of phone calls from candidates asking for my help in “getting women on board with our campaign”. Our two-thousand person Rally and March in CO was unique in that it was not sponsored by a non-profit or corporation, but entirely grassroots, was replicated at the same time on the same day in all fifty states around the nation, and entirely funded by the activists who participated. Campaigns have been chomping at the bit to get a piece of it, wanting to know if they can have my activist list, Google docs, and “secret words” (secret handshake?).

Here’s the secret. Start respecting women.  And while you’re at it, start respecting everyone else, too.

At the federal level, any incumbent who voted against the Violence Against Women Act, the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, or pissed off the Children’s Defense Fund, should hang up their campaign right now. Don’t even bother reading to the end of this page.

At the State level, any incumbent who voted in favor of limiting a woman’s right to make decisions about her own health care, or who voted to decrease school funding, or to limit resources to the poor, the elderly, children, and anyone else who is vulnerable, take a hike.  Take it now.

What about targeted state level and higher candidates who are running for election for the first time?  Here’s how voters should decide. (Listen up, women activist friends – I’m about to tell you.)

Go to the candidate’s website. If equality for all persons regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, age, marital status, religion, citizenship, health, original language, and country of birth (otherwise known as civil rights) are not clearly one of the top three marquis issues, close the website and walk away.  Send your money and spend your volunteer time working for another candidate. If it’s up there, go to the next step.

Call your candidate. Ask to meet his/her paid staff. Tell him/her you will offer your support only if you can see the paid staff.  On a state level campaign, it may be one or two other people, and at the federal level, it may be a dozen or more. Why? These are the men and women who, if the candidate wins the election, will probably transition from stressful political jobs with long hours to policy jobs with good benefits. (Candidates always take care of their own when they become legislators.)

Take a look at the staff and size them up. Where are they from?  Is there a mix of “experts” brought in from other places along with people from your own community? Does the staff represent the American people as a whole, or are they predominantly white men in their late twenties to early forties? Is there the same diversity as a random line of people at a movie theatre in your community, or do they look like they just stepped out of a law school class photograph? Are there as many people of color or people with physical limitations, proportionately, at the highest levels of their staff, and are 51% of their senior staff women? Do they represent adults of all ages who vote, from ages eighteen to eighty-nine? Is the only woman over forty the one who answers the phones?

Sure, most savvy candidates will hire canvassers and field organizers who look like the community where votes are being chased. But how many of them have the same diversity in their inner circle? How could a campaign possibly know the experiences and desires of mothers and grandmothers if they don’t have one or more as their advisors? Elderly people? Jews? Asians? Immigrants? People of color? Gays and lesbians? People retired from blue collar jobs? Teachers? Union members?

Ask yourself, “If my future legislator is surrounded by this team, how much compassion will they feel for people who do not look, or speak, or ambulate as I do? How much does this team identify with me personally, or with each of my family members?”

The same kind of ignorance that makes a legislator oblivious to the concerns of the majority of Americans makes a candidate justify not hiring a diverse paid campaign staff. There is more to winning elections than crunching numbers, endless fundraising calls, and bullying one’s opponent. There is also integrity.

Integrity in knowing that every American has something important to offer the legislative process at every level of government, and that includes on the campaign trail. Integrity in knowing that when one talks about bringing jobs to their community, it starts with their own campaign. Integrity in knowing that win or lose, the candidate puts their money where their mouth is – in their own community.

If you are an activist and a member of one of the highly targeted demographics in the upcoming election, and most Americans are, please stand with me. It’s time to demand more of our legislators, and the best time to do that is when they are candidates. Your time and your money are precious to you and to your family – don’t waste it on candidates who do not value diversity on a very deep level.

The next time a candidate calls me and asks for my help, or my email lists, or my money, I intend to say, “Sure, when can I meet your senior staff?”  I hope it will be yours, as well.

Originally posted to njcronk on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 08:48 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Republican Education (7+ / 0-)

    Njcronk,

    It sounds to me as though you would love to educate the Republicans of what good policy is, especially since they've lost their way.

    The GOP seems to be concentrating all their efforts in two different ways; one is to woo extreme conservatives and the bigots with abortion legislation and attacks on women, gays and any other minority that doesn't make up the base of the Republican Party.

    The second effort is to appease and bow down to the super wealthy who're filling their campaign coffers.

    Republicans are hoping they can use the overwhelming supply of money at their disposal to overwhelm their Democratic opponents across the nation this November.

    What they're failing to realize is that you still can't piss off women and Hispanics and expect to win elections, the numbers just don't add up for you.

    Good article and very passionate.

  •  Two things you wrote about is something (7+ / 0-)

    I have been trying to get across to people for some time now...

    "Women make up 51% of the population of the United States."
    and
    "If equality for all persons regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, age, marital status, religion, citizenship, health, original language, and country of birth (otherwise known as civil rights) are not clearly one of the top three marquis issues, close the website and walk away."
    Civil Rights yes....HUMAN Rights yes, yes, yes!

    "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." ~ Edward Abby

    by SaraBeth on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 03:09:04 AM PDT

  •  America is a diverse nation with diverse interests (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wasatch, ozsea1, Lujane

    ...and I'm quite proud of it.

    "We don't have government anymore, we have an auction." -Lori Compas

    by DownstateDemocrat on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 05:26:41 AM PDT

  •  Thank you for "Snore Flinch Recoil" (4+ / 0-)

    I am immediately drawn into a surreal recreation of the pivotal battle scene in Zulu leading the troops to victory overcoming insurmountable odds firing our political ads, organizing the focus group into three rows prone, crouching, and standing.
         "Front rank - Snore! Mid rank - Flinch! Rear rank - Recoil! Shift! Front rank - Snore! Mid rank - Flinch! Rear rank - Recoil!
    Shift! Front rank - Snore! Mid rank - Flinch! Rear rank - Recoil!"

    Slow thinkers - keep right

    by Dave the Wave on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 08:35:07 AM PDT

  •  THIS, RIght here: (6+ / 0-)
    Here’s the secret. Start respecting women.  And while you’re at it, start respecting everyone else, too.

    At the federal level, any incumbent who voted against the Violence Against Women Act, the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, or pissed off the Children’s Defense Fund, should hang up their campaign right now. Don’t even bother reading to the end of this page.

    At the State level, any incumbent who voted in favor of limiting a woman’s right to make decisions about her own health care, or who voted to decrease school funding, or to limit resources to the poor, the elderly, children, and anyone else who is vulnerable, take a hike.  Take it now.

    What about targeted state level and higher candidates who are running for election for the first time?  Here’s how voters should decide. (Listen up, women activist friends – I’m about to tell you.)

    Go to the candidate’s website. If equality for all persons regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, age, marital status, religion, citizenship, health, original language, and country of birth (otherwise known as civil rights) are not clearly one of the top three marquis issues, close the website and walk away.  Send your money and spend your volunteer time working for another candidate. If it’s up there, go to the next step.

    That oughta be a MISSION STATEMENT.

    LBJ & Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees: Texas is No Bush League! -7.50,-5.59

    by BlackSheep1 on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 09:29:24 AM PDT

  •  One big fallacy about Hispanics... (11+ / 0-)

    Is that they're newcomers to the USA. How many GOPers know that Santa Fe, N.M. was founded ten years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth rock?

    All across the south west of America Hispanic families have very old and deep roots within American society. But racist and ignorant fools, led by nuts like Pat Buchanan, make dumb claims that Hispanics refuse to assimilate or are changing the nature of American society. All they need to do is look at the names of the cities and towns in the SW to learn who were the real pioneers. Hint; it wasn't John Wayne leading a wagon train.

    America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

    by cacamp on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 10:19:57 AM PDT

  •  You're a Commodity (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raster44, Utahrd, ybruti, Lujane

    ONLY if you show up and vote in large enough numbers.

    Seniors do this; minorities don't.

    I understand right now 2 Million eilgible Hispanic voters in TX are not registered to vote.

    WTF?

    "A civilization which does not provide young people with a way to earn a living is pretty poor". Eleanor Roosevelt

    by Superpole on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 12:21:00 PM PDT

  •  a question. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane

    Does the fact that Obama appointed two female supreme court justices carry much weight with female voters that aren't political observers?

    nice diary btw.

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