Politically, Latinos are living between two worlds, one more benevolent than the other, but both unacceptable. On the one side, Republicans are using them as a piñata whenever it is convenient to them. On the other, Democrats send them a mariachi serenade only when they want them to vote. In sum, as it has been previously said in this election, for some, they are “bad hombres,” and for others they are “needy Latinos.”
These stereotypes, one originated by GOP candidate Donald Trump and the other by John Podesta, campaign manager for the Democratic candidate, summarize the way in which the two political parties see immigrants and Latinos. They both represent an insult to a significant number of voters.
The idea to identify men as “bad” is not Trump’s invention. Most Republicans speak of immigration as a security issue, alleging that immigrants are a threat to public safety. The Party’s indignation towards their presidential nominee emerged because of the way he talks about and treats women, but few in the GOP criticized Trump when he said that men coming from Mexico were “rapists.”
For their part, the Democrats’ reference to “needy Latinos” is ironic because of the context in which it was used. Podesta wrote the phrase as the subject of an email he sent Hillary Clinton in which he recommended her to contact former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson and ex-Secretary of Transportation Federico Peña, both Latino, to ask for their support in her campaign. The message, unveiled by WikiLeaks, shows that if anyone was “needy” at the moment it was the presidential campaign, not Latinos.
It is not strange for the Democratic establishment in Washington to see Latinos as a whiny, attention-seeking group. However, Hispanics are not to blame but Democratic candidates who stop by the neighborhood every four years with promises that they later fail to fulfill. They keep saying that they have certain priorities, such as immigration reform, that end up taking a back seat when they get to the White House.
We are neither “bad hombres” nor “needy Latinos.” The Republicans’ disdain and the Democrats’ arrogance make Latinos refrain from marrying any of the two parties. It is true that it is better to be ignored than beat up, but those should not be our only options.