Sunday, May 19, 2024

Barack Obama’s Newly Formed Latino Leadership Council and his Latino Outreach is Receiving Mixed Reviews

As reported on La Plaza few days ago, the Barack Obama campaign recently announced the formation of a Latino Leadership Council that was to further assist Barack Obama in obtaining the Latino vote this November. Since then, many have speculated as to why certain individuals were selected over others. Many of those listed on the council were former supporters of Hillary Clinton such as Congresswoman Hilda Solis and former HUD Secretary, Henry Cisneros. However, other prominent Latinos are notably absent, including Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and United Farm Workers co-founder Dolores Huerta. Also not listed is New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who after much courting by both sides endorsed Obama over Clinton.

An Obama spokesman emphasized that Richardson and Villaraigosa are both actively stumping for the Democratic candidate and have top level access within the campaign. “The group of 15 advisers was chosen for its geographic diversity and will serve as a sounding board inside the campaign on how best to address Latino voters,” said spokesman Vince Casillas.

However the San Francisco Chronicle reports that a sense of discontent still appears to linger for some established Latino leaders who were active Clinton backers and who met with Obama in Washington’s Mayflower Hotel, shortly after she conceded in May. David Ayón, a senior research associate at the Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University and a close observer of Latino political affairs claims that he spoke with up to 10 major people who attended this meeting and that even up until mid-July they were still unhappy with Latino access and status within the Obama campaign and his outreach.” He concludes that, “the relationship has been riddled with problems.”

In all fairness the polls reveal that this discontent may only exist in the leadership of the Latino community. As reported earlier most polls suggest that Barack Obama has gained the favor of the Latino community and that they are more likely to support him than John McCain. A nationwide survey conducted in July by the Pew Hispanic Center showed Obama leading McCain 66 percent to 23 percent among Hispanic registered voters. The Democratic National Convention which will begin this Sunday may be the perfect place for all Latino Democrats to unite behind their nominee, even if they did not support him from the start.

San Francisco Chronicle