- Calbuzz reports on a new effort by a coalition of labor groups seeking to boost Democratic voter turnout among Latinos.
Although the group is operating independently of Jerry Brown’s campaign, their effort strongly attacks his GOP rival Meg Whitman. One mail piece places her photo alongside shots of Sarah Palin and Arizona Governor Jan Brewer above a headline that reads, “Meg Whitman ayudo a Sarah Palin y apoyo la ley de Arizona” – Whitman helped Palin, who supports Arizona’s law.
Another piece is a letter signed by labor leader Durazo that calls Brown “un verdadero amigo a nuestra communidad” – a true friend to our community – and says that Whitman has two faces – “tiene dos caras” and describes her as attacking immigrants in English while saying on Spanish television that she is a friend – “En la television Ingles ataca a los immigrantes. En la television espanol Whitman dice que ella es neustra amiga.”
The letter is to be folded around one of several holy cards – one of them features a photo of a young Brown walking with Cesar Chavez and another has an image of him speaking to Mother Teresa; each includes an inscription saying that “El democrata Jerry Brown ayudo” Chavez and Mother Teresa – the Democrat helped the two Latino community icons.
California elections, of course, are determined by a multitude of variables, the most important of which, for the Democrats, is probably Hispanic turnout. In 2008, the Hispanic share of the electorate topped 20 percent. In 2006, it was roughly 5 points lower. The Democrats' voter-education and mobilization machines -- the AFL-CIO and SEIU, which this year are working together -- are waging the biggest, most expensive campaigns they've ever run in California to ensure that Hispanics turn out on Election Day and vote for Brown and Boxer at rates of 70 percent or higher.
In all likelihood, they'll hit their target, but it's no easy task. Most of the state's Hispanic voters weren't around during Brown's earlier tenure (1975-1983) as governor and don't know that Brown, who signed the nation's first law extending collective-bargaining rights to farmworkers, was the most powerful friend the United Farm Workers ever had. A particularly ingenious ad running on Spanish-language TV that links Brown's past to the Hispanic present features Dr. Christina Chavez, an emergency-room physician and the great niece of Cesar Chavez. Talking against a background of footage showing both Jerry and Cesar together, Dr. Chavez says that Brown, working alongside Cesar, opened the doors of opportunity for Hispanics like her.