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Each week, the editor’s of LA Progressive pick what they regard as a particularly insightful comment from one of our readers, both to draw attention to one particular reader’s thoughts and to encourage more readers to weigh in with their opinions. This week’s pithy "Feedback Friday" response comes from Tom Hall, who commented on the article by Randy Shaw's, “Gavin Newsom's Big Lead Foreshadows Low June Turnout”.

gavin newsom leads

“In the absence of a competitive Governor’s race, what can get young people and other infrequent voters to the polls?”

I’m neither a young person nor an infrequent voter, so maybe my opinion is irrelevant. But the quote above seems directly in contrast to:

“I’ve been surprised to see how many progressives feel no obligation to elect progressive Latinos to state offices despite the state’s entire move to the left coming from rising Latino voter turnout.”

Perhaps young and infrequent voters could be motivated by candidates focusing on ISSUES rather than group labels?

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If there is a rising tide of progressive Latino voters, perhaps it is because they feel unrepresented by the entrenched pols, who assume that they will get certain votes, regardless of how they govern.

If there is a rising tide of progressive Latino voters, perhaps it is because they feel unrepresented by the entrenched pols, who assume that they will get certain votes, regardless of how they govern.

How about suggesting that candidates pay serious attention, rather than mere lip service to issues that affect the daily lives of people who don’t regularly vote?

Don’t care about “local” issues? How about a national issue with local, poor neighborhood impact? Betsy DeVos has undertaken to destroy a program that provides grants to teacher who teach in disadvantaged neighborhoods. She is actually converting grants into “loans” on which teachers have to pay interest! This means that instead of getting an incentive to teach in needy schools, teachers who try to help those most in need will be CHARGED interest for doing so!

This affects every family with children in such schools. Might a candidate who promised to work to undo DeVos’ plan, or who promised to work at the state or local level to mitigate the DeVos damage, excite the interests of new or infrequent voters?

How about a candidate who promised to address the discolored, smelly water that comes out of the taps in places like the “Athens neighborhood, and many agricultural areas, which are serviced by private, for-profit water companies, rather than agencies like the (flawed) DWP? Again, instant impact on people in need. Those people are potential voters. Why not go after them? Why not promise to address the health impacts on their children and themselves?

It’s really much easier to plaster a label on a group: Latinos, Latinas, Women, LGBTQ, Black, Asian, Native American, than it is to LOOK AT the individuals in a group and study what their actual NEEDS and concerns might be.

But how many people, seeing characterizations like “rising Latino voters,” with NO focus on significant issues, will feel that they are still being ignored, while swooped up in the lastest ‘trendy’ grouping?