Robert Deposada has sold out his community. Deposada, a GOP operative from the failed Bush Presidency, crossed a critical line this week by developing and placing ads urging Latino voters to stay home and not vote during this important election cycle. The ads are not only despicable in purpose but they are abhorrent in execution. Not since La Malinche, the infamous traitor in Mexican history who used a combination of her language skills and let’s say “bedside manner” to help conquer the Aztecs, has there been such a blatant and cynical transaction as the one between consultant Deposada and the GOP. Like La Malinche, Deposada is using his language skills and his ability to bed down with those that despise his community to make some hard cash and improve his personal fortunes. Not to be taken lightly, Deposada is not unskilled and when you hear him sell cynicism and suppression to Latinos in the radio and TV ads he is pushing you understand why, like La Malinche, his oral skills are destined to become legendary.
After decades of Latino voter registration efforts by non-partisan organizations, Bush operative Robert Deposada and the GOP have found Latino voters to be an inconvenient truth that they actually understand. Latinos have emerged as a key voting group that is positioned to decide the balance of power in the US Senate. The GOP is frustrated that even after two years of a mixed record on their key issues by Democrats Hispanics are still leaning towards giving Senate Leader Reid more time to fulfill their agenda. The Republicans, aided by their translator Deposada, have decided that instead of correcting the failure of their candidates and their party to attract Latino voters it is easier and faster to beg folks to stay home. The tactic is beneath contempt, wholly un-American, and very anti-Latino.
Latino voter registration and outreach has always been a priority of progressive Latinos. The leading Hispanic voter education projects, while nonpartisan, have been consistently led by the Latino left. Latino conservatives have never engaged in wide scale Latino voter registration preferring that others roll up their sleeves while they sit comfortably in the beltway. It has always been speculated that the emergence of Latino voter activity would be to the determent of the conservative movement and this direct attempt to ask those voters to stay home is proof positive that the right believes the speculation to be accurate.
It is understandable why in the coming days Deposada and his team will be overwhelmed by the negative attention they are sure to receive. Deposada and his co-horts are not of the legacy that brought Latino voters to their current exploding political value. Deposada, while clearly benefiting from previous Latino empowerment efforts, has no real relationship to them. The work of Cesar Chavez, Willie Velazquez, Dolores Huerta, Edward Roybal, Polly Baca, Rueben Salazar, Antonio Gonzalez and others has developed a clear and distinctive family tree. But Deposada and his ilk are from a different plant altogether. The lineage of the aforementioned leaders can be seen if you go to the supermarkets where volunteers are registering voters, as you visit community centers where youth leaders are working on development projects, in socially conscious corporate board rooms, and at hundreds of other venues. In fact, you see the legacy of Chavez et al. everywhere that Latinos demonstrate their inherited character trait of service and exemplify the DNA of community leadership.
Deposada and his cohorts are from the family tree of George Bush and other politicians who are devoted to securing power not through action and empowerment but by trickery. The Bush political family finds it easy to spoil the hard labor of others having never engaged in it themselves. Like his political parents Deposada cannot truly appreciate the work he is attacking.
This is not to say that the Democratic Party does not need to step up their Latino game. Honest criticism of the relationship between the Democratic Party and Hispanics is valid and valuable and in fact the competition for voters is essential to democracy. However, asking key constituencies to stay home is not valuing competition at all.
Some say that Deposada is not a threat as much as he is a beltway political hit man with a small contract. But we all must remember that any GOP gains this tactic is tied to will lead to more of the same in future elections. La Malinche succeeded in helping Cortez destroy the Aztecs because they trusted her. La Malinche spoke more than the Aztec language she learned their dialects — she spoke to their frustrations and fears, and skillfully delivered them to their conquest. Hopefully, the Latino voters of Nevada will be more judicious about the messengers they listen to and the envoys that they trust.
Crossposted with the author’s permission from Huffington Post.