NYC primary breakdown and Latino angst

Just took a look at the NY State county-by-county primary breakdown (be warned, that page can take forever to load.) Clinton only lead by 2% in the city, according to the Gotham Gazette. Here’s the percentages that Obama and Clinton came away with in each borough:

Bronx: C 60%, O 38%
Brooklyn: C 50%, O 48%
Manhattan: C 54%, O 44%
Queens: C 60%, O 38%
Staten Island: C 61%, O 36%

Woohoo, Brooklyn! I’m happy to have been part of that number. That’s a really strong showing. I’m only surprised and a little disappointed that Obama didn’t win Brooklyn. Ah well.

When I saw the numbers for the Bronx, I immediately thought, “Ugh, Latinos!” with a groan. I’m allowed to do that because I’m Latina. I also recognize that’s probably a little simplistic. But over and over and over yesterday, I heard that Latinos were overwhelmingly in favor of Clinton. Her campaign also pointed out Latino support in New Jersey, my home state, as one of the factors in her win there. My dad was one of those Latinos who voted for her there.

The Latino-Clinton connection also came in to effect big time in the Southwest and especially in California. While I was watching CNN last night, the commentators (is that just a sports term?) said that, according to exit polls, Barack had a healthy lead amongst both Black voters AND white voters. “So why is Hillary winning?” they asked. Well, according to them, it was thanks to Latino and Asian voters. I can’t remember the exact numbers but I think 60-something% of Latinos and 70-something% of Asian voters supported Clinton. When I saw those numbers, I groaned even louder, because it made me think of this article that a friend of mine posted the other day. I have a whole lot of problems with the article, primarily that I think the article doesn’t really get at how white racism against Latinos and Asians is what causes the desire for assimilation. But when I saw those numbers, I couldn’t help worry that, at least in part, that article was getting at something true.

My question, though, is this: why, exactly, do Latinos like Clinton so much? The pundits keep talking about this supposedly long-standing connection between the Clintons and Latinos, but why is that there? What did they ever do for us? Is this kind of like my mom’s (and apparently, many Latinos’) inexplicable obsession with Kennedy? That, at least, has the Catholic connection to explain it. But the Clintons? I just don’t get it. Anyone?

15 Responses to “NYC primary breakdown and Latino angst”


  1. 1 brownfemipower

    I do NOT get it either. I won’t be voting for either of them–but of the two of them, hillary is second choice by far. Her immigration policies SUCK, and then she hides behind “the feminist vote”–UGH.

    i don’t get it, i don’t get. esp. the part about “historical” connection to the clintons. really???? who the hell knew????

  2. 2 Jack

    Glad to know that I’m not alone in my frustration or confusion! Clinton’s immigration policies specifically make me really upset about the Latino trend. My girlfriend (mexicana) always jokes sarcastically that Latinos excel at voting against their own interests. But why? WHY?

    Out of curiosity, and if you don’t mind sharing, who do you think you will be voting for?

  3. 3 Erica

    It seems like a lot of ethnic groups have a “long history” with the Clintons. I just think this is because Obama only had a national presence very recently and Bill Clinton was president for eight years in the nineties. A lot of voters are just not familiar with Obama the way they are with the Clintons.

    From what I hear, our congressional district went to Obama – go us! I was happy to see that the jews had a large impact in delivering CT to Obama and that jews supported him strongly in a lot of states, despite some peoples’ fears that he is “not good for the jews (read: “bad on israel”).”

  4. 4 Richard Rodriguez

    Univision.

    That is my guess. And the fact that Obama is new. Clinton carries so much more star power, and the media (ahem, Univision) drums up that support constantly.

    We have to do the same: http://www.everyonesinlovewithyou.com/obama

  5. 5 coquito

    As another latino in Brooklyn, I don’t get it either, but my hunch is that it’s simply many latinos voting for the person they feel they know best (which in this case, is Bill). Especially in NYC, where the Clintons are cozy with the latino pols here, though I admit I don’t know who has specifically endorsed, or campaigned for, Hillary.
    Anyway, I thought you’d be interested in this discussion:
    http://www.plastic.com/article.html;sid=08/02/06/07134176
    which includes some talk about the latino issue (see comment 62, for example). There’s also a piece in the NY Times about this topic:
    http://tinyurl.com/28hwe2

  6. 6 timothy

    I liked this article by Jeff Chang about Obama/Clinton and the Latino & Asian American vote:
    http://www.cantstopwontstop.com/blog/2008/02/2g2k-circus-why-latinos-and-asian.cfm

  7. 7 FreshEncounter

    I”m not angry but I do love to shout out the rant once and awhile. I’m a Butch Brown Bear in Oakland and I’m glad my girl pointed me to your site.

    Happy 2008.

    YES WE CAN!!!

  8. 8 Jack

    @Richard: Univision – that’s a good point. I do remember reading about the channel’s pro-Clinton bias.

    Nice Obama graphics and t-shirts, by the way. I’ll definitely print some out or pick some out if New Yorkers get to vote for him again come November (let’s cross our fingers!)

  9. 9 Jack

    @Erica and coquito: I do think familiarity has a whole lot to do with the way the Latino vote swayed. Not that he represents the entire weird amalgam that is “Latino,” but when I spoke to my dad, it struck me that his primary reason for voting for Clinton was indeed familiarity. He said that he knows what Clinton has done but not what Obama has done.

    Thing is, though, why would the familiarity factor affect Latino voting more than the voting of other ethnic groups?

    @Erica: Yay for our congressional district, and for Jews bucking the trend of Obama suspicion. I read a really interesting article the other day from Mother Jones entitled Obama’s Israel Shuffle” that talks about just that suspicion (of him being anti-Israel and thus “bad for Jews.”) I was looking around to find out more about his stance on Palestine and Israel and was disappointed to see him taking such a pro-Israel stance, so it’s funny to then read that he takes flack for not being pro-Israel enough! But after reading that article it does seem like if he wasn’t so pro-Israel, he’d be screwed. Stuff like that makes me wonder whether he (and other candidates) are really pushing viewpoints that they believe in, or if they’re simply playing the game that’ll get them elected. I’m inclined to believe that it’s more the latter than the former.

  10. 10 Jack

    @coquito: Love the handle, by the way. My mom makes a mean coquito. :)

  11. 11 Jack

    @timothy: Thanks for the link! I’m planning on writing a follow-up to this post tomorrow and will include a response to it.

    @FreshEncounter: Glad you found the blog! (Give my thanks to your girl.) Happy 2008 to you to, and SI SE PUEDE!

  12. 12 coquito

    Hey Jack,

    Pleasure to find your site (I think I found it through the NYTimes blogs, or maybe it was Brian Lehrer’s WNYC page…). As for “coquito,” it’s been an online handle for awhile now. It’s meant as kind of a double reference: to the coqui, which I’m sure I don’t have to explain my irrational love for, and to the drink. I’m the one that makes the coquito in my family. Put up a recipe post around Christmas time and we can swap. ;)
    Thanks again for the blogging.

    -c.

  13. 13 k

    Look, lets be real. We all know that as “Latinos” we have always put whites and whiteness on a pedestal – its in our history. Most of us do anything not to be associated with “blacks” – and this includes generally speaking not voting for black candidates – even candidates who dont even walk around with their race on their sleeves…i.e. Obama.

    We are sellouts. On my college campus – the average asian chick would fall over themzselves trying to get with the wackest white boy you can imagine- Asians are sellouts – they want to be white and want white acceptance.

    Most Latin people – especialy those with African bl0od – Dominicans, Puerto Ricans still have the “pello malo” nonsense going on in our culture. We are sellouts. When are we going to learn that our best hope for advancement in this society lies with hitching our wagon to blacks. They are the least racist towards us and the most likely to really accept us. With whites we can only expect crumbs…i getting tired of this junk.

  14. 14 Jack

    @k – I hear your frustration with internalized racism amongst Latinos. I hear the truth in what you’re saying. I know that my own Puerto Rican family has that bias going on, that “pelo malo y pelo bueno” shit still in effect. And I most definitely agree that Latinos and Asians and all people of color in this country need to unite in solidarity rather than allow ourselves to be divided and pitted against each other, since the only people who truly benefit from that are ultimately the white folks at top of the pyramid of racial privilege.

    But I also don’t think it’s good to generalize, because a) Latinos aren’t a monolith, b) many Latinos are Black and acknowledge their Blackness, and c) its some really complicated shit that isn’t well served by sweeping generalizations disconnected from some deeper analysis of what’s at play. Like, my family – there’s bias there, but there’s also way more kinship and commonality with Black people and Black culture than with white folks. People in my family who have married people who aren’t Latinos have married more Black folks than white folks by far. It’s never cut and dry, and we do ourselves a major disservice by following the media in making it seem like it is.

    I also don’t think you can generalize Asian American attitudes around race and definitely not label all Asians as sellouts, for the same reasons. Me, I’d be really hesitant of making that sort of blanket judgment about any group of people of color that I’m not myself a part of, since we’ve all got our own biases and internalized racism against people of other ethnicities.

  1. 1 Follow-up: Latino voting angst at AngryBrownButch
Comments are currently closed.