Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Is Latino GOP split evidence of how flawed the Republican redistrict attack is?

It is ironic that Republican officials in Illinois who want to undo the new political boundaries recently drawn by the state Legislature plan to take up the concept of Latino political empowerment as the basis for their legal argument.
Defunct. For now, that is

In part because the overwhelming bulk of the Latino population across Illinois (just over 2 million of the state’s 12 million-plus people, to be exact) leans Democrat. But also because it seems that the Latinos who live here and lean toward the “Party of Lincoln” can’t even agree amongst themselves.

NOW I’M TAKING my details of what is happening from the Chicago edition of Examiner.com, which on Monday published an account of how the Republican National Hispanic Assembly officially gave their Illinois chapter the equivalent of a smack to the back of the head.

That Illinois chapter officially is no longer recognized as legitimate. It means that one of the major groups that tries to boost Latino membership in the Republican Party in this country no longer exists in Illinois.

The specifics relate to the Illinois chapter’s elections for officers earlier this year. The person who won the title of state chairman had previously run into conflicts with the DuPage County chapter. Those far west suburban people say their conflicts made him ineligible to run for a state post with the group.

So we had dueling factions, each claiming it was the “legitimate” Illinois chapter and the other was a fraud.

IF YOU REALLY want the specifics, go read them elsewhere. The outcome is that the national organization, which had hoped the two sides could resolve their differences and create one chapter, released a letter earlier this month saying that both factions have behaved in ways “disruptive and counter to the best interests” of the assembly.

Hence, they did the political equivalent of sending both factions to their rooms without supper. There is no more Illinois chapter, for now.

Personally, I do believe the day will come when the assembly will once again have an Illinois chapter. It may well be a flushing out of both sides, and letting new people take the lead in establishing themselves as a not-quite-dysfunctional chapter. But for now, we’re talking about Latino Republicans in Illinois who can’t even agree on their local leadership.

The idea that these are going to become the disenfranchised people whom the Illinois Republicans as a whole are going to look out for in trying to overturn the efforts of those dastardly Democrats who concocted legislative and congressional boundaries that wrongly restrict Latino political influence is just so laughable.

THE FACT THAT this political split came at the exact time that the state party officials as a whole are trying to put together their legal challenges on redistricting has to be giving Republican officials a massive headache.

At the very least, it must have the Democratic Party officials laughing hysterically about those who complain about the fact that da Dems used their control over both chambers of the state Legislature and the governor’s mansion to ram through politically-friendly boundaries for the General Assembly and Congress.

Besides, the fact remains that many of the Latino activist groups in Illinois are split on what they think of the new political boundaries that will be in effect for the next decade.

For every group that complains the Dems didn’t do enough to empower the growing Latino population that is spread across the state, there are others who are content.

IT IS GOING to be hard to make an argument that Republicans would do by Latinos any better – unless one finds a judge or appeals panel somewhere that is willing to play blatantly partisan politics to benefit the GOP.

In short, any court ruling that strikes down the legislative or congressional boundaries could wind up being even more blatantly partisan than the activities of the legislative redistricting commissions.

Before one goes accusing me of being overly partisan, keep in mind that I have my own objections to the boundaries. I think there should have been more of an effort to put together a second congressional district (out of the 18 that will exist in Illinois come the 2012 election cycle) that has a significant Latino population, and I’d have like to have seen more efforts to draw legislative districts that lean Latino in parts of the suburbs where significant ethnic enclaves are developing.

Whereas some of the Latino activist groups are more concerned with the idea of emphasizing the political influence of specific ethnic enclaves in Chicago (ie, the Little Village neighborhood), even though Latino population growth in Illinois really extends beyond the city limits.

PERHAPS IT MEANS that Latino activists are a little confused on what would most benefit Latinos who live here politically. Maybe the Republicans giggle and think they have an opening upon which they can tear down the new political boundaries and draw replacements that would put them in charge for the next decade.

But then we look at the Latinos who would want Republican backing and see their confusion level, and we see once and for all how much of a farce the whole argument is.


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