The Maturity of Hispanic Voters
November 8, 2001
Now that the whole election mess is behind us, it is time to analyze what we learned from the electoral campaign. Perhaps the most important lesson we can draw is that the political maturity of Hispanic voters debunked the stereotype that we would always vote Democrat without really considering the candidates or their platforms. The fact that the media reacted unanimously against what was perceived as a lack of respect and consideration for the Hispanic community reinforces the idea that the times when one party could secure the votes of Hispanics by seducing their leaders are gone. From now on, politicians, who must count on the power of the community to validate their new electoral responsibilities will be careful not to ignore or treat too lightly emerging leaders. The reassertion that we do matter in this city and that in the future we will constitute an essential factor in politics is a historic landmark in the trajectory of the Hispanic community in New York. Not only because we punished Mark Green for his negative comments, but more importantly because we have determined that Bloomberg1s platform was better and that although Bloomberg was less flattering, he may prove more pragmatic.
Community leaders who supported the loser only as a formal gesture are left in an uncomfortable position. They lost the chance to reaffirm their dignity and came out as opportunists who followed party lines obediently but unwillingly and lost along with the man who embarrassed them by his arrogant behavior. They used outdated strategies in times that were radically different. They were unable to reflect the mood of the people and played into the hands of those who feel a new generation is needed. New leaders are needed to represent the new face of the Hispanic community. The end of traditional voting habits shows that the designated leader be replaced by a reasonable and conscious vote for the best candidate.
We expect that the new mayor of New York, Mike Bloomberg, will fulfill the promises he made to the Hispanic community during his campaign -- that he will solve the numerous problems people face in poor areas, tackle the issues of overcrowded schools, excessively high rents, unemployed workers, improve the relationship between police and communities, and maintain public order without falling into paternalism or neglect.
All of this without forgetting the priorities of the city as a whole, like roads and education, for the maturity we showed in the election allows us to see beyond community politics. Together with our needs, we1d like to see the needs of the city as a whole fulfilled. Mike Bloomberg must be able to bring together this large and beautiful city, with all its different parts, by governing with everyone for everyone º that is what we expect, and we will see that it happens.
Translated by Marie Martin