Photo: Tequila Party
Through Rallies and concerts, The Tequila Party wants to organize a record Latino Vote in 2012. With events scheduled in nearly 20 states, the kickoff will be in Tucson on June 4.
“We want to motivate Latinos to vote,” says Belinda “DeeDee” Blase, spokeswoman for the fledgling National Tequila Party Movement, which has adopted a nonpartisan stance. “[Democrats and Republicans] don’t take us seriously because we don’t vote consistently.”
The number of Latinos eligible to vote went from 13 million in 2000 to 21 million in 2010. But just 31 percent of Latinos cast a ballot in the recent midterm elections, compared with nearly 49 percent of whites and 44 percent of blacks, according to a Pew Hispanic Center survey.
Given the rapid growth of the Latino population, which rose from 35.3 million in 2000 to 50.5 million in 2010, the Latino vote is significant, says Lonna Atkeson, a political science professor at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.
“It’s a voting group that’s up for grabs,” Atkeson says. “It’s really important for the Republicans to figure out what is it they need to do to attract, to take away these Democratic Latinos to their camp.”
“We can blame Obama and Republicans and Democrats all we want, but the only way that the Latino community is going to get respect is if we become consistent primary-election voters as well as general-election voters,” Blase says. “So our respect comes from our vote, and that’s what we have to do still.”