Tucson Progressive

Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona

Will the Tequila Party succeed in building Latino political power?

The Tequila Party— the Latino answer song to the now-infamous Tea Party and the lesser-known Coffee Party— held its national kick-off last Saturday in Tucson, Arizona.

Locally, the group is spearheaded by TucsonCitizen.com blogger Dee Dee Garcia (AKA Dee Dee Blase and Dee Dee Blase Garcia) from Somos Republicanos (AKA Arizona Hispanic Republicans).

Officially, one of the stated goals of the Tequila Party is to get out the Latino vote. The Latino population is growing in numbers nationwide– and particularly in the Southwest– but their voting record is dismal.

In 2010, the Pima County Democrats invested thousands of dollars and hundreds of man-hours in registering people–particularly Latinos in Congressman Raul Grijalva’s CD7– to vote. This effort may have helped Grijalva barely squeak by right-wing extremist Ruth McClung, and it may have helped Sally Ann Gonzales and Marcario Saldate get elected to the Arizona Legislature, but it certainly didn’t help Terry Goddard, Felecia Rotellini, or Penny Kotterman. (Just think how different the Mexican American Studies debate would be if Arizona had elected Goddard governor, Rottellini attorney general, and Kotterman superintendent of public instruction.)

Personally, I think the Tequila Party is a great idea– if it focuses on getting out the Latino vote– but I am a concerned about the mixed messages from Arizona Hispanic Republicans’ blog posts. There is huge emphasis on LIVE STREAMING (her caps)– which to me spells PROPAGANDA (my caps)– and not many specifics about how the Tequila Party will actually get out the Latino vote.

Going door-to-door and canvasing at every public event– as the Democrats do– takes organization, walk lists, time, money, and hundreds of volunteers. (I know. I was one of those Democrats walking the Tucson neighborhoods in the heat with campaign literature and Permanent Early Voting List [PEVL] registration forms. You can easily spend entire Saturday morning slogging through a neighborhood and get fewer than five new, completed voter registration cards.)

Of course, why am I surprised that Arizona Hispanic Republicans would emphasize propaganda? Propaganda is Karl Rove’s signature tactic. What is surprising (sort of) is that the Three Sonorans has jumped on board with the Republican-backed Tequila Party. (Check out the audio link on the Unapologetic Liberal’s blog.)

Back to voter registration…

A stark example of the voter registration challenge facing the Tequila Party (or anyone else trying to encourage Latinos to vote) appeared in Monday’s Arizona Daily Star:  Redistricting likely to shift supervisor areas slightly.

Take voter behavior in Districts 1 and 2, for example. The northwest-area[which includes Marana and Oro Valley] district has nearly 117,000 registered voters. The south-side district, even though it has a bigger population, has only about 73,000 registered voters.

As the Arizona Lottery used to tell us: You can’t win if you don’t play. Latinos will continue to be frustrated politically, as long as they don’t register and don’t vote proportionally to their numbers. Propaganda may get people pissed off, but will it encourage them to vote? Republicans have used hate speech, wedge issues [can you say Ethnic Studies?], and fact-free smear campaigns to their advantage for years. Time will only tell if the Tequila Party follows this course.

7 comments on “Will the Tequila Party succeed in building Latino political power?

  1. cruz
    June 8, 2011

    David doesn’t care what it stands for as long as it run, supported, or represented by a hispanic, he’s in, other wise he’d be considered a sell out.  And to answer your questions about the Tequila Party succeed – No it won’t, most hispanics aren’t passionate enough about politics, I’ve lived on the southside my entire which allows be make that statement.


    • Joe
      June 8, 2011

      Exactly, why not just call yourselves democrats? Thats who you latinos vote for anyway, since you think they are on “your side”, but in reality, they are just using you for the vote. Educate yourselves.


      • cruz
        June 8, 2011

        I agree most hispanic’s vote for hispanic’s just because they’re hispanic, which is just wrong – educate yourself on the candidate.


        • Fraser007
          June 8, 2011

          Racial politics? Naw… not here in the USA!


  2. Joe
    June 8, 2011

    Maybe for illegals, but for people that matter, no, this party is just a joke.


  3. Pingback: Supervisor Richard Elias + TUSD’s Augie Romero = BFF - Tucson Progressive

  4. F ANAYA
    June 27, 2011



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The Tucson Progressive: Pamela Powers Hannley

I stand on the side of Love. I believe in kindness to all creatures on Earth and the inherent self-worth of all individuals--not just people who agree with me or look like me.

Widespread economic and social injustice prompted me to become a candidate for the Arizona House, representing Legislative District 9 in the 2016 election. My platform focuses on economic reforms to grow Arizona's economy, establish a state-based public bank, fix our infrastructure, fully fund public education, growlocal small businesses and community banks, and put people back to work at good-paying jobs. I also stand for equal rights, choice, and paycheck fairness for women. I am running as a progressive and running clean.

My day job is managing editor for the American Journal of Medicine, an academic medicine journal with a worldwide circulation. In addition, my husband and I co-direct Arizonans for a New Economy, Arizona's public banking initiative. I am a member of the national board of the Public Banking Institute, and I am co-chair of the Arizona Democratic Progressive Caucus, the largest caucus of the Arizona Democratic Party.

I am a published author, photographer, videographer, clay artist, mother, nana, and wife. I have a bachelor's degree in journalism from Ohio State University and a masters in public health from the University of Arizona. I grew up in Amherst, Ohio, but I have lived in Tucson, Arizona since 1981. I am a proud member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson and the Public Relations Society of America.

My Tucson Progressive blog and Facebook page feature large doses of liberal ideas, local, state, and national politics, and random bits of humor. I also blog at Blog for Arizona and the Huffington Post.

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