Antonio Villaraigosa and the West
This is bordering on old news, but Antonio Villaraigosa was elected Mayor of LA, the first Hispanic elected there in modern political history. And, this means something for Democrats in the West, I'm just not totally sure what.
Suffice to say, when I break the West down into its three politcal regions (based on the MassInc maps), we spend a lot of time talking about Sagebrush, not so much on Upper Coasts because we might consider it safe territory, but we nearly never mention El Norte.
Villaraigosa's election (ironically soon after I finished reading "The Latino Wave") got me thinking about El Norte again, and this is something we really need to start talking about. I know why I haven't talked about it so much, knowing that I might come off sounding like a well meaning, white liberal, who just wants to say the right thing. But, that is not a good enough reason not to at least inquire.
So, what does Villaraigosa mean?
Will Arnold have a harder time winning reelection, especially given his rather interesting comments on the Minutemen recently? From Bob's Blog:
Last week in a phone call to a radio station, Schwarzenegger told the radio audience: "I think they’ve [Arizona Minuteman Project] done a terrific job."
Bush Jr. has called the Minutemen vigilantes. But Schwarzenegger disagrees and has denounced the job that Bush Jr. has done at the border. Geez Arnold, you went to Ohio last October for Bush Jr. and just half a year later you’re "dissing" him?
Law enforcement has denounced the Minuteman Project because these vigilantes are roaming the desert with "six guns" on their hips and six-packs in their R.V.’s
Bring together a bunch of "angry" men, mix in guns and alcohol and you know at some point there will be a tragic accident.
Schwarzenegger’s comments will only encourage more people, including some crackpots, to head to the Mexican border with guns.
What does this mean for Bill Richardson, who actually lent some troops (through the New Mexico Dems) to Villaraigosa during the campaign. Will Richardson (who is now joined by Villaraigosa as the two most prominent Hispanic politicians in the country) have an easier time with a possible California primary now that Villaraigosa has shown his stuff?
Anyway, this is where I'm at. We just can't forget the West doesn't just mean Brian Schweitzer, though Brian is super cool.
Your Personal Note:
West Wing fans will remember the fictional Matt Santos, played by Jimmy Smits, a charismatic three-term Hispanic Congressman who wins the Democratic presidential nomination in the season finale. Who is our real-life Matt Santos?
Posted by: Leo Brown | May 23, 2005 5:54:09 AM
Clearly, Santos is modeled after Henry Cisneros - but I believe the 'real-life Santos' will be Bill Richardson.
Posted by: Kari Chisholm | May 23, 2005 11:07:21 AM
I like Richardson a lot. Is he, however, charismatic? What about Salazar?
Posted by: Leo Brown | May 23, 2005 1:01:09 PM
Villaraigosa the second most prominent Hispanic leader in the country? C'mon, you might not like Ken Salazar, but a senator is a senator. And you keep dissing John Kerry for his patrician East Coast roots, but guess what -- Richardson has those too. I don't think this win means much for Richardson's presidential bid.
Posted by: Colorado Luis | May 23, 2005 4:18:37 PM
I think there is a big difference between a first term Senator and a big-city mayor.
So, if no impact on Richardson, what effect on politics in general? None?
Just a win that was bound to happen anyway?
Posted by: Emmett O'Connell | May 23, 2005 9:20:44 PM
Race to watch in San Antonio. Julian Castro vs. Phil Hardberger for mayor June 7. Very close right now. Non-partisan election with two Democrats. Sounds like LA. Castro is young, Hispanic, and Harvard/Stanford educated. DFA has endorsed Castro. Win or lose this time, Castro looks like a man to watch for the future. Castro is 30. Hardberger is 70.
Posted by: Leo Brown | May 26, 2005 8:18:28 AM
More recommended reading
"...where Democrats did not compete for the Hispanic vote Democrats lost ground. Where we did compete, with full, well-executed multi-media campaigns we gained ground."
Posted by: Leo Brown | May 30, 2005 4:08:58 AM
Antonio Villaraigosa is the brightest star
in the Democratic constellation and a leader
Every city in America should be so lucky
to have someone of his intellect, charm,
and caliber leading it.
For a great article on his impact, check
out the May 23rd issue of Newsweek featuring
Antonio on its cover.
Posted by: Elizabeth | Jun 3, 2005 10:46:09 PM
'We Need to Start Thinking Big Again'
'Dream With Me'
"What a beautiful country," he said in Spanish to an audience of about 3,000. "I am proof that the United States is a country of opportunity and liberty. In what other country of the world could I be in front of you as mayor of a great city?"
Posted by: Leo Brown | Jul 2, 2005 8:39:19 PM
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(and yes, we know that sometimes they're very, very wrong. Other times, they're right on.)