The Democratic Party and Latinos

Thomas Reston, in Soul of a Democrat, addresses the national political agenda of Democrats regarding Latinos:

What we really have here is the current day test of the Democrats’ professed faith in the Jeffersonian political myth of the quality of man. The mission of the Democratic Party in America is to strengthen and stabilize the Republic in justice by recognizing and embedding new communities within the national mainstream…..You would think that the Democrats would take this job on as a political imperative of the first order. Already, the Latino community is well over 50 million strong and by the time today’s youth has retired it will amount to roughly 30% of the nation’s population

The true challenge Democrats need to grapple with is what kind of people Latinos are and what they believe in and what they have to contribute to the common culture of the United States.

Everyone is struggling now for a way to understand the relationship between Latinos and this country. Anglos who are alert are looking for useful explanation. Even Latinos are looking for the simple, clarifying narrative arc to explain their story to the country and need to explain it to themselves. Of course, the Latinos themselves must conceive this narrative in the first place. Even so this reality does not exempt political parties from the responsibilities to join in the effort to arrive a compelling explanation. This is exactly the kind of business political parties are supposed be in.

The political party that figures out how to explain this relationship by constructing a clear emotional and simple story links and Latinos to the United States is likely to have the inner track on achieving the loyalty of these communities far into the future.

(Pp. 211-213)

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