As Election Day nears, campaigns are heating up with advertisements urging you to vote one way or the other. However, in Nevada, a Republican group placed ads urging Hispanics not to vote. The spots, targeting the Hispanic community, have been pulled off the air amidst protests from Democrats saying it was a dirty tactic intended to benefit Nevada’s Republican candidate Senator Sharron Angle against Democratic rival Harry Reid.
The pro-Republican group creating the “no vote” ads, Latinos for Reform, claim that the purpose is to raise awareness that the Democrats have failed to live up to their promise of immigration reform. The group’s president is a conservative and supporter of the GOP. Prior to the ad ban, the group planned to air commercials in Nevada, California, Florida, Texas, and Colorado.
In addition to Reid denouncing the ads, Hispanic leaders and candidates from both parties have criticized Latinos for Reform. President Obama recently commented about the ads. “I think it is terrible,” he said. “It is a cynical political ploy to try to drive Latino votes to benefit a Republican candidate in Nevada who would never vote for immigration reform.”
The race for the senate seat in Nevada is at a dead heat. With a slight dip in Hispanic voting, it is likely that the Republican candidate, Angle, will win. Angle is a proponent of strict immigration policies. In speaking with Latino high school students, she made the mistake of saying, “Some of you look a little more Asian to me.”
According to a recent Huffington Post article, the overall projected turnout among Hispanics is not high.
There is disappointment with the Obama administration and disillusionment with the economy. Ads produced by Latinos for Reform take advantage of the negative feeling in fostering the group’s own goals.
Instead of promoting change through the voting process, Latinos for Reform support inaction.
Despite the intended purpose of the group, requesting Hispanics to make a statement by not voting contradicts the fundamental democratic process. It is a radical approach that could have chilling results and set a precedent for disturbing outcomes.
If we fail to vote, we have no control over the officials elected. If we fail to vote, we become pessimists about the possibility of creating change. If we fail to vote, we send a bad message to our children. If we fail to vote, we do a disservice to those who fought for our right to vote. In some parts of the world, people go to great lengths to vote and some are willing to die to cast a ballot. People believe in this right to affect change. If we fail to vote, we are ineffective.
We applaud networks like Telemundo and Univision that have decided not to run Latinos for Reform’s destructive advertisements.
This election is as important, if not more so, than the 2008 election when we chose our president. No matter what candidate you support, do not be deterred from voting. Remember to vote on Nov. 2nd. ♦