I spent the weekend with the staff of my Reno Spanish language radio station, KNNR, LaMejor!, celebrating that uniquely American holiday, Cinco De Mayo.

Now I know that most people would immediately want to argue with that statement, but it is true. Keep reading and you’ll find out why.


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Cinco De Mayo is kind of a Hallmark holiday celebrating the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla in 1862, when the Mexican Army kicked Napoleon’s butt.

The story goes that Mexico was in the same shape the Ukraine is in today and stopped paying its debts. It was invaded by France, England, and Spain, with Napoleon doing a pretty good imitation of Vladimir Putin.

Except that Mexico surprised both the bookies and the New York Times and killed about 1,000 of Napoleon’s finest. It was a symbol of Mexico’s ability to throw off foreign dominance; and eventually, it won the war.

I give you that history because most people will tell you that it is Mexico’s Fourth of July, and that is simply not true. And, for some reason, it is celebrated much more intensely in the United States than in Mexico.


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But we love to celebrate anything in the United States, including holidays that people have no idea about; and that’s OK because I learned something last weekend on Victorian Square in Sparks, Nevada. (Actually, I already knew it; but it was reinforced in my mind.)

What I’ve learned is that a large number–if not a majority–of Hispanics are not Democrats. But it is also true that they don’t vote in the same numbers—percentage wise—that other groups do.

Overall, 48% of Hispanic eligible voters turned out to vote in 2012, down from 49.9% in 2008. By comparison, the 2012 voter turnout rate among blacks was 66.6%, and among whites was 64.1%.

Interestingly, the Washoe County Republican Party had a tent there.

The Democrats did not.

Aaron Sorkin wrote in the last episode of the first season of “The West Wing” one of the best lines Martin Sheen ever delivered as President Jed Bartlett:

“Decisions are made by those who show up.”

For a bunch of leftist liberals, that’s pretty good. And, it has the additional benefit of being absolutely correct.

It happens I am on the side of comprehensive immigration reform—not because I have a Spanish radio station in my portfolio, but because my grandparents came here through Ellis Island–and my late father and my very much alive mother are first generation Americans.

This is an enormous country, and we can take in a whole lot of people before we cannot handle any more.

Further, many of the people we now call illegal immigrants were practically invited to come by corporate interests who, being unable to outsource jobs, decided to get some cheap labor anyway. When it suited everyone’s purpose, we were only too happy to close our eyes to the inflow.

Now, it suits some people on both sides of the aisle to demagogue those very same people. And many of them have families here who are American citizens. So you might understand why Hispanics as a group have a more than passing interest in the subject.

On the right, we have people who somehow forget they didn’t come over on the Mayflower; and on the left, we have boobs like Harry Reid who only want immigration when they can use it to beat the other party over the head with it.

In the middle are a pretty savvy group of people—actual citizens—who are a lot more conservative than most people know, but they don’t vote in the same numbers that other groups do.

“Decisions are made by those who show up.”

It would appear that someone in the Washoe County Republican Party just figured that out. The Democrats are taking Hispanics for granted. There is a tremendous opportunity here for Conservatives (real Republicans) to go forth and convince Hispanics like New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, who famously told the 2012 Republican Convention why she became a Republican:

“Before I ran for district attorney, two Republicans invited my husband and me to lunch, and I knew a party switch was exactly what they wanted. So, I told Chuck, “We’ll be polite, enjoy a free lunch, and then say good-bye.’’ But we talked about issues — they never used the words Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal. We talked about many issues, like welfare, is it the way of life or hand up? Talked about size of government, how much should it tax families and small businesses? And when we left that lunch, we got in the car and I looked over at Chuck and said, “I’ll be damned. we’re Republicans.’’

“Decisions are made by those who show up.”

Registering and voting are the most important things any citizen can do. But if you want to, say, keep a family together by forcing comprehensive immigration reform, Hispanics as a group need to get in gear. They need to think about what they really believe. If they can become a serious force in the Republican Party, something will get done. Sooner rather than later.

“Decisions are made by those who show up.”

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.


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