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February 5, 2006


This Week (ABC) - Ken Mehlman, Republican National Committee chairman will be on the show for an exclusive interview on the GOP's ethics woes and its chances of holding its majority in 2006. Gen. Michael Hayden, deputy director of national intelligence, will be on the program to discuss the president's terrorism surveillance policy.

Face the Nation (CBS) - CBS Evening News anchor and Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer will discuss eavesdropping and the State of the Union address with these guests: Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) member, Judiciary Committee; Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) ranking member, Judiciary Committee; David Brooks, columnist, The New York Times; and Karen Tumulty, reporter, Time magazine.

Meet the Press (NBC) - This week on "Meet the Press," newly elected House Majority Leader, Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), joins Tim Russert in studio this Sunday to discuss his surprise victory to succeed Tom DeLay, and to lay out his vision for House Republicans. Then, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA) will tackle the unanswered questions surrounding the NSA domestic spying controversy.

Chris Matthews Show (NBC) - Chris will be discussing whether President Bush can make good on his State of the Union promises, as well as Rudi Giuliani's chances of capturing the hearts and minds of the voting South during his recent tour. Guests include; Kathleen Parker of the Tribune Newspapers, David Gregory of NBC News, Michele Norris of NPR and Andrew Sullivan of Time Magazine and New Republic Magazine.

Fox News Sunday (Fox News) - This week, Fox News Sunday will be talking to Gen. Michael Hayden, deputy director of National Intelligence, New House Majority Leader, Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) and U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona, M.D.

Late Edition (CNN) will tackle the question of the growing divide between the Muslim world and the West with guests Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) from the Foreign Relations Committee, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) who is chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Prince Turki Al-Faisal, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Iyad Allawi, former Iraqi interim prime minister and Iraqi Parliament member, Mayor Bob O'Connor from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Mayor Greg Nickels of Seattle, Washington.

60 Minutes (CBS) This week's 60 Minutes will be pre-empted by a network special, Superstars, featuring interviews with superstar celebrities including George Clooney, Sheryl Crow, Hilary Swank, Bono and Sting.

Categories: Blogs

February 4, 2006


Karen Felthauser is a longtime DFA member, Williamson County Democratic Party member, and community activist. Karen is a DFA-List candidate for the Texas State House in the 52nd District.

I am deeply honored to accept the endorsement of Democracy for America. My campaign is focused on supporting public education, public healthcare, and freeways not tollways.

Texas government has methodically stripped funding from our public school system. Texas has fallen to 40th in per pupil expenditures. We have a legislature which is intent on destroying public education through de-funding and privatization. Although our nation lags far behind other countries in science assessments, our Texas governor has announced in his bid for reelection that he supports teaching Intelligent Design as part of our science curriculum.

Did you know that, due to the sheer volume purchased, Texas, along with California, is the controlling market for textbooks in this country? That means that what Texas mandates in textbook subject matter affects what your students are exposed to. As the field director of the ultraconservative Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy puts it, "The bottom line is that Texas and California are the biggest buyers of textbooks in the country, and what we adopt is what the rest of the country gets." For that reason alone, I would ask you to please help me win this race.

Our legislators' support for health care is equally abysmal. Texas is last in the nation in the percentage of insured children. Our Child Protective Service has the highest workloads in the nation. More than 500 children in Texas died of abuse or neglect over a 2 ½-year period. Yet our representatives moved to privatize child protective services and further reduce the child protective workforce!

If they succeed in Texas to make most new roads into toll roads there are plans afoot to take this model nationwide.

I invite the DFA community to join me in this campaign to move Texas forward.

Categories: Blogs

Two days after the President's State of the Union speech, Senate Democrats on Intelligence Committee asked John Negroponte, director of national intelligence, pointed questions. The hearing was an annual meeting on national security threats. Democrats took advantage of the hearing to attack the NSA's domestic surveillance program.

In his opening remarks Senator John Rockefeller said:

"I am deeply troubled by what I see as the administration's continued effort to selectively release intelligence information that supports its policy or political agenda while withholding equally pertinent information that does not do that,"

Senators Feinstein and Levin continued with tough questions and statements. Feinstein said the administration had engaged in "consistent stonewalling" to prevent Senate Committees from carrying out their oversight. Senator Levin accused the administration of giving contradictory accounts of the program.

Senator Feingold, in one of the hearing's tense moments, asked Mr. Negroponte if any other "intelligence collection" programs had not been revealed to the full Intelligence Committees.

Negroponte responded, "Senator, I don't know if I can comment on that in open session."

Much like the Alito hearings, Democrats asked tough questions and got few, if any, answers. Also like the Alito hearings, Republicans blasted Democrats for playing partisan politics.

Senator Roberts, the Chairman of the committee, accused Democrats of derailing the discussion:

"I am concerned that some of my Democrat colleagues used this unique public forum to make clear that they believe the gravest threat we face is not Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda, but rather the president of the United States."

Clearly Roberts is wrong. Democrats recognize the dangers posed by terrorists. However, we also recognize that giving up our civil liberties is essentially letting the terrorists defeat us. Democrats must remain strong and continue to question the Republican abuse of power.

—Chris Broadfoot

Categories: Blogs

February 3, 2006


Trial for Libby Set for January

The trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the former Chief of Staff for Vice President Cheney, will start next January, a federal judge said today. District Judge Reggie Walton said jury selection will begin January 8, 2007, two months after the Congressional elections. Libby's attorney said the date will "permit us the time we need to prepare Mr. Libby's defense."

Pentagon Unveils 21st Century Strategy

The Pentagon announced plans to beef up special operations forces and counter bio-terror today. The plan comes just before President Bush sends Congress a 2007 budget that will seek a nearly 5% increase in Defense Department spending. The new plan, called the Quadrennial Defense Review, will increase special operations by 15% and a one-third increase in troops assigned to psychological warfare and civil affairs units. There will also be a new $1.5 billion program to develop medical countermeasures for bioterrorism threats.

Senate Intel Chair Supports Domestic Spying

A day after Senate Democrats in his committee grilled an intelligence panel, Senator Pat Roberts, the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, came out in support of the domestic spying program. Roberts wrote a 19-page letter to Senators Specter and Leahy of the Judiciary Committee saying, "Despite legal analysis by some critics, I am confident that the president retains the constitutional authority to conduct" to conduct such spying.

—Chris Broadfoot

Categories: Blogs

Hello! My name is Joe Black (sorry, I have not seen the movie) and I will be the interning at Democracy for America for the next few months. I am from Westborough, Massachusetts but I go to school at the University of Vermont right down the street from DFA.

I am currently holding down two internships while taking my final semester of classes so I can get my degree in May! Besides working with DFA, I am interning with the local Progressive Party (the most active third party in the country) helping their progressive candidates with various elections throughout the city of Burlington.

I will be working with Arshad Hasan, DFA's Training Coordinator (go to a DFA Training Academy, you will love it, trust me). Arshad has me doing location specific research, trainer recruitment, trainer logistics, training host reporting and helping out in any other way that I can.

I am really thrilled to be here at DFA and I know this will be a great opportunity to learn even more about the political process!


Categories: Blogs

Jessica Falker is a longtime DFA supporter and Organizer of Rutland DFA, Democracy For Vermont Steering Committee, as well as Finance Director of My Vote is My Voice.

Rutland DFA kicked off its candidate forum series last night with three candidates for Vermont's only US House seat; Peter Welch (D), David Zuckerman (P), and suprise guest Mark Shepard (R).

Each candidate spoke for several minutes and then answered questions from the audience. The majority of the questions revolved around the health care issue that has dominated Vermont politics for the past year. While the candidates agreed that our health care system needs improvement, they disagreed on the best method to acheive this goal.

At the close of the forum, Tom Hughes, Executive Director of Democracy For America, encouraged attendees to choose a candidate and get to work for them right away. He emphasized that we are lucky in Vermont because a small, active group of people can be influential enough to make a huge difference in a state-wide race such as this one.

David Zuckerman points to the DFA sign
as he praises the organization for getting
ordinary citizens actively involved in politics.

Next month, Rutland DFA welcomes Gubernatorial candidate Scudder Parker (D) as our next guest to have the opportunity to speak with local activists. Sign up today at DFA Link!

—Jessica Falker

Categories: Blogs

February 2, 2006


Yesterday, House Republicans narrowly passed a budget plan that would reduce spending by nearly $40 billion over the next five years. The cuts will affect student loans, crop subsides, and Medicaid, the government's insurance program for the poor.

In other words, Republicans cut government support for those who need it the most. Where is the compassion in that? Apparently Republicans want to see more of America's poor go uninsured and uneducated.

The bill passed by just two votes, 216 to 214, which is further evidence that Democrats need to win back seats in House. With just a few more Democrats in the House, we would have been able to defeat this bill and insure that America's poor get the best care the government can give them.

Incidentally, this bill passed as the Senate is considering tax-cutting measures that would benefit the rich. Now we see the compassion, it's reserved for the rich. Republicans are cutting taxes for the rich at the expense of spending for the poor. It should be the other way around, and electing a Democratic majority would make sure of that.

—Chris Broadfoot

Categories: Blogs

Boehner Elected House Majority Leader

House Republicans elected U.S. Rep. John Boehner from Ohio as majority leader today. Boehner defeated Tom DeLay's temporary replacement Rep. Roy Blunt by just 13 votes, 122-109. Blunt was the front-runner going into today's meeting. Boehner is an eight-term congressman from the Cincinnati area who offered himself as a reform candidate.

Bush to Request $70 Billion More for War

A day after Congress cut nearly $40 billion in spending on student loans and Medicaid, the White House told Congress to expect requests for about $70 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The funding for Iraq is in addition to $50 billion approved in December and should be enough to conduct the war through September 30, when the fiscal year ends.

Iran Vows to End Cooperation if Reported to U.N.

Iran informed the International Atomic Energy Agency today that it will stop all "voluntary" nuclear cooperation with the agency if the agency reports Iran to the United Nations Security Council. In various public statements, Iranian officials have threatened to end voluntary cooperation, however this is the first time that the threat has been delivered in writing.

—Chris Broadfoot

Categories: Blogs

Blog for America features highlights from DFA-Link groups around the country each week. Jeff Gardner from NJ for Democracy writes about the Northern half of the U.S. on Thursdays. You can see more local DFA actions going on at

It may have been a tough week for DFA members who mourned the loss of Coretta Scott King, opposed the confirmation of Justice Samuel Alito, and watched a State of the Union address short on truthiness, but Local DFA groups are nonetheless forging ahead, still leading the way toward taking back our country!

State of the Dis-Union: Call them parties, call them vigils, Local DFA groups gathered across the country to watch, listen, boo, hiss and commiserate during the SOTU address. But for NJforDemocracy, when Congress left the building, the action just began—group members from every corner of the state were joined live from Washington, D.C., by not one, but two members of Congress, Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ-6) and Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ-12) for an online discussion and live blog in response to the president's speech. Pallone's message: " Together, America can do better." So true!

Candidate Forums: Doing better means changing the leadership in Congress, and with that in mind, the dates are approaching for the candidate forums planned for New Hampshire and Michigan and Illinois ( ) and Vermont, to name just a few of the dozens DFA groups have in the works across the country.

Taking our Seats: 2006 is the year for DFA members to stand up and take a seat! (And not just in Congress.) That's the message Philly for Change has for its members as it seeks to fill th e hundreds of empty committee seats in Philly. Are there seats at the table just waiting to be filled in your area?

Until next week, keep fighting for better tomorrows!


Categories: Blogs

Elesha Gayman, a member of Democracy for America-Quad Cites, is a DFA-List candidate for the Iowa House of Representatives in the 84th District.

In 2004, I was proud and honored to represent Iowa and Howard Dean at the Democratic National Convention in Boston. The convention administered a shot of activism through my core. I came home more charged up than ever before, quit my job, and hit the campaign trail.

I managed four NE Iowa Counties for Kerry/Edwards and went on to work for the Iowa State Senate after the election. Having been born and raised in Iowa, I was shocked to learn that over 70% of college graduates leave our state. This phenomenon often referred too as "brain drain" wasn't the reason I was shocked. I was shocked to learn that my fellow elder Iowans also cared about this issue.

I have made a commitment to stay in Iowa and run for the Iowa House of Representatives to be a part of the solution rather than the problem. I want to keep more young people in Iowa, but I also want to bring quality jobs, accessible health care and more affordable higher education to all Iowans. I will be working hard in the coming months to turn Iowa's brain drain into brain gain.

As I sat on the floor of the Fleet Center in Boston, I heard the rafters shake that, "Hope is on the way!" My fellow DFA activists, hope is on the way because we are on the way!

We are on the way, and we need to stand up and do whatever it is that each and everyone of us can do to take back our country. No more will we sight the leaders of the Democratic Party as showing a lack of leadership, because we are the Democratic Party Leaders. No more will we wish we could have done more because we will do everything we can. No more will we be accused of not having a plan because we will put our progressive values in action.

I am honored to have the support of Democracy for America! I can run for the Iowa legislature. I challenge each and every one of you to do whatever it is that you can do and together, we are on the way!

—Elesha Gayman

Categories: Blogs

February 1, 2006


A few weeks ago, when Democratic Congressman Henry Cuellar was endorsed by the right-wing Club for Growth, people started asking if he was planning on switching parties. After all, for two years Congressman Cuellar has been steadily advocating a conservative agenda; voting with Tom DeLay and the Republican administration more often than all but a few other Democrats in the House.

Congressman Cuellar and President Bush
(Source: Washington Post)

As Congressman Cuellar continues to embrace the agenda of the Republican party, he has been embraced right back—to the extent that the President singled him out for attention at last night's State of the Union address. His 2006 opponent, Ciro Rodriguez is running a strong campaign to get his seat back not only for the working men and women of South Texas, but for the Democratic Party. You can read more about Ciro Rodriguez at

Categories: Blogs

Bush Argues that U.S. is Strong Despite Worries

President Bush said today that even though the state of the union is strong, he understands why some Americans are worried. "I understand there's anxiety about the time of war . . . That's natural," Bush told an audience at the Grande Ole Opry. Bush went on to say that the U.S. economy is the "envy of the world" yet competition with India and China has created uncertainty among Americans. "In uncertain times it's easy for people to lose confidence in the capacity of this country to lead and shape our future."

Congress Extends Patriot Act for Another Month

A day after President Bush called for the renewal of the Patriot Act, the House was set to extend the act until March 10. This would be the second time the act has been extended, it was due to expire December, 31 2005, but Congress extended it until February 3, just before its Christmas break.

Hussein Refuses to Attend Trial

Saddam Hussein and four other defendants, and their attorneys, refused to attend their trial today. The defendants are calling for the removal of the chief judge Rauof Abdel Rahman, who they claim is biased against Hussein. The judge pressed on without them and appointed defense lawyers for the three defendants present.

—Chris Broadfoot

Categories: Blogs

This year, we have an opportunity to turn back the radical Republican agenda and set our country on a new course. But we need to find candidates who share our values and then build a grassroots network to put them over the top.

Over 40 DFA groups have organized forums to meet local candidates in their communities this week. These forums are the first step to victory in November.

You can find an event in your area at:

After candidate forums, the next step toward victory is to build a grassroots network to get out the vote and elect our candidates. Thanks to you, we're on pace for the biggest recruitment week in the history of DFA-Link. Over 350 people have joined DFA-Link since our membership drive kicked off Monday morning. The only way to keep growing the DFA-Link community is to invite your friends to get involved. You can get started at:

And you can check your progress at:

The membership drive statistics will continue to be updated throughout the week. The top 3 individual recruiters will all receive a personal call from DFA Chair Jim Dean as well as a DFA T-shirt. Additionally, the ten largest groups and the two groups with the largest growth will receive a DFA banner for use at public events.

Categories: Blogs

Democracy for America features highlights from DFA-Link groups around the country each week. Dave Reiter is a member of DFA Miami-Dade. You can see more local DFA actions going on at

Candidate Forums continue as we stage anti-Alito rallies, get active in our communities, and see the State of the Union address.

Groups all over the country staged anti-Alito rallies and phone campaigns to urge their Senators to debate Alito's nomination further. Unfortunately, the Senate Democrats could not muster enough courage or solidarity to unite in opposition to such a Constitutionally objectionable judge.

DFA Pasadena called their membership to action when a local developer decided to ignore community-approved design plans for a local shopping center. One year after the community fought for a small, intimate shopping center in their neighborhood, they discovered that the development was missing key design features that were crucial elements within the community-approved plans. Leaders of the group are urging members to attend the Committee meeting and speak in their opposition to the developer changing the originally agreed upon plans. The land was purchased with 85% tax payer dollars.

DFA Orange County held a State of the Union House Party! After the speech and the Democratic response, members were treated to a conference call with speakers that included Democratic Party Leader, Howard Dean. DFA Nashville had a State of the Union party at their local hangout where all had fun poking holes in Bush's empty promises.

The DFA Film Club recommends a new documentary on Howard Zinn, "You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train." The film highlights the impact Zinn's activism had on the progressive movement and the struggles he endured along the way. The Group joined with Global Justice Ecology Project to hold a pot-luck viewing of the movie last week.

Candidate endorsement time is around the corner, and groups will be reaching out to work on their candidate's campaigns. DFA members from all over the country are running for every level of government. We continue to grow, and this campaign season is shaping up to be a big victory for DFA candidates. The more we work to rebuild the system, the more our voice will be heard.

—Dave Reiter

Categories: Blogs

January 31, 2006

"[She was] truly the first lady of the human rights movement. The only thing worse than losing her is if we never had her." —Rev. Al Sharpton

When Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, his wife, Coretta Scott King, kept fighting for equality. Soon after the assassination she said, "I'm more determined than ever that my husband's dream will become a reality."

In 1969 King founded the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, which has become deeply involved in issues like hunger, unemployment, voting rights and racism.

King suffered a stroke earlier this year that prevented her from attending the King Holiday celebration in Atlanta earlier this month. Coretta Scott King died last night in her sleep.

As poet Maya Angelou noted, today is a bleak day because:

"[M]any of us can't hear her sweet voice but it's great because she did live, and she was ours. I mean African-Americans and white Americans and Asians, Spanish-speaking—she belonged to us and that's a great thing."

We extend our thoughts and prayers to the family and loved ones of Mrs. Coretta Scott King.

—Chris Broadfoot

Categories: Blogs

What is stunning about the President's speech is what he didn't say tonight.

I did not hear a concrete plan to bring our troops home from Iraq or to allow the Iraqi people to take charge of their own future. The President did not mention the cost of this war or what programs he will continue to cut to pay for it.

Peter Welch, Vermont candidate for U.S. Congress,
live blogging after the President's State of the Union
address in Montpelier, Vt.

We did not hear a plan for simplifying and effectively implementing the Medicare prescription drug program or a plan to get health care for every American.

The President may have recently discovered that we have an energy problem, but I didn't hear him explain why he has continued to give tax cuts to the oil companies that are reaping record profits while he cannot find sufficient funds to help those who cannot afford home heating oil.

The President's priorities are not Vermont priorities, and I don't think they reflect the priorities of the majority of Americans.

If the President won't address these issues, then we must do everything in our power to elect leaders who will.

We will not agree on everything that needs to be done or how we will get it done. But if we come together and put our political force behind electing new leadership in Washington, we can begin to work on the problems left unsolved by the Republican leadership with its surplus of rhetoric and its deficit of substance.

I look forward to discussing these issues with you tonight. If you would like to see what I have been up to, please visit:

— Peter Welch

Categories: Blogs

As President Bush's fifth State of the Union address begins, there are two roads he can choose to go down: he can give an extremely divisive speech, speaking to the causes of the extreme right; or he can give a uniting speech and promote bipartisanship.

As much as we hope for the latter, our confidence is closer to his current polling numbers. (ba-da-bump!)

What's more likely to happen is that President Bush will prove himself to be a creature of habit, and promote a polarizing agenda. He'll call for the continuation of tax cuts which will contribute to even more staggering deficits. He'll show off the newest—and one of the most controversial—Justices, Samuel Alito. And in the end, prove himself to be a divider, not a uniter.

This State of the Union should be a call to arms for progressives around the country. We need to take back seats in the House and Senate and put an end to the President's one-sided grip on Congress and the Supreme Court. But results won't come from complaining about tonight's speech—yet taking action against it will. It's time to hit the ground running.

—Chris Broadfoot

Categories: Blogs

By Senator Peter Welch. Join Senator Welch tonight at 10:00pm EST for a live online discussion of tonight's State of the Union address.

When George Bush ran for President in 2000 he told us he would be a uniter, not a divider. When he won the 2004 presidential election, we were then told his victory was about values.

As you listen to President Bush give his State of the Union address, ask yourself:

  • Do his priorities unite America and reflect the priorities of the majority of the people he serves?
  • What are the values reflected in his policy priorities?

    The record of President Bush and his accomplices in Congress shows a consistent pattern of putting special interest ahead of the public interest, of saying one thing and doing another, of corruption and incompetence and of a leadership that is out of touch and out of ideas. I am afraid, from a President who never admits a mistake, we can only expect more of the same.

    On health care, Republican leaders in Washington championed a Medicare prescription drug bill written by and for the drug industry that has failed our seniors and all American taxpayers. They valued ensuring profits for the pharmaceutical industry above providing affordable prescription drugs for seniors and for taxpayers.

    On energy, Dick Cheney and oil executives devised our national energy policy behind closed doors and Congress gave tax breaks to an industry already reaping record profits, while they cut low income heating assistance as payback for losing a vote on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Again, they valued their friends in the oil industry more above providing help to our citizens in need, investing in alternatives to fossil fuels, or protecting the environment.

    On tax policy, they passed the largest cut in federal student aid in history, cut Medicaid and cut food stamps while turning a record surplus into a record national deficit, now pushing $400 billion. As they prepare to make more cuts to pave the way for more tax breaks for the wealthy, they've shown how little they value the programs that help those most in need.

    And, within our government, they dismantled FEMA to the point that it could no longer respond in times of crisis by appointing inexperienced cronies to positions of leadership and ignored mine safety infractions until a terrible disaster struck. They don't see the value in the safety net our government can provide in our times of greatest need.

    That is the State of our Union under George W. Bush and the Tom DeLay Congress—one divided by the haves and have-nots. One divided by those government serves and those government ignores. Those are their values, pure and simple.

    The question in my race for Congress and in 434 other races around the country is whether or not the American people are going to elect a new Congress that will put a check and balance on this radical, extreme and incompetent Administration.

    With new leadership in Congress, we can begin the business left undone by those currently controlling Washington: returning fiscal responsibility to government, enacting a plan to bring our troops home while defending America, ensuring every American has health care, developing an energy policy that reduces our reliance on foreign oil, and restoring honesty and competence to the leadership of Congress.

    Those are my values, those are democratic values, and I believe that in November 2006 we will see that these are America's values.

    —Senator Peter Welch

Categories: Blogs

Narges Niedzwiecki is an LFA supporter. Democracy for America welcomes LFA columnists on Tuesdays.

In 1897 W.E.B.Du Bois stated,"We are Americans, not only by birth and by citizenship, but by our political ideals and our religion."

In the early 1900s, newly naturalized Irish-Americans were categorized as a separate race by American Anglo-Saxons who viewed these new Americans as detached and disconnected, thereby creating an environment that fostered inequality and discrimination. American Anglo-Saxons characterized the race of the Irish-Americans in terms of big hands and feet, dark skin, pug noses and a genetic propensity for violence and alcoholism. By 1960, these stereotypes transitioned into a "voting block" whereby the Irish identity transversed with developed socialization to create a monopolistic group. The shared identity of Irish-Americans united voters by way of the Catholic Church.

Ethnic identity is not the only explanation for the powerful Irish-American "voting block" that dominated politics in the 1960s. The Irish-American electorate also correlated with a candidate whose shared values, cultural heritage and religion affirmed a distinct identity. John Kennedy became President of the United States in 1960 principally as a result of the intersubjective identity of Irish-American constituents.

Formulating on the theories of minority empowerment, recent political speculation has branded Latinos as the "New-Irish," implying that Latino voters—like Irish-American voters—are predictable. The conception of individual identity is derived from who we are as defined by race, ethnicity, culture, tradition, conditioning and history. Identity then becomes a theoretical commitment encapsulated in self-definition.

Candidate and ethnic identification are the profound key elements in predicting voting behavior. There are four common characteristics that all Latinos share: the Spanish language, Spanish imperial/colonial influence, and experiences in immigration and ethnic discrimination. Important predictors of Latino voting patterns are ethnic voter outreach programs, issue-based voting over party affiliation and candidate identification.

According to the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO), nearly 1000 more Latinos held public office in 2004 than in 1994. Ethnic candidates focus resources on mobilizing ethnic voters, thereby creating a "voting block."

There is a natural cleavage to the identification of "Latino" which creates a variance from within. Latino voters are heterogeneous and fluid, arising from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. The key to uniting the Latino electorate is to focus on shared identity. The unifying factors in 1960 were Catholicism coupled with historical inequities. Anti-immigration legislation, racial stereotypes, attacks on bilingual education and the halt of Affirmative Action programs have alienated Latino voters. These recent trends have created a shared experience of isolation and discrimination among Latinos.

These are the unifying factors of the Latino experience in America. As the fastest growing minority group in the US, the Latino voter can no longer be ignored, stereotyped or isolated. According to Louis DeSipio,"...With each presidential election, the media and the punditocracy discover Latinos anew."

The time for enfranchisement and inclusion is now, lest we lose an extraordinary opportunity in bringing about unity and real political transformation.


Categories: Blogs

January 30, 2006


Meredith Adams is a Communications Department intern at Democracy for America headquarters in Burlington, Vermont.

The spring semester only began a few weeks ago, and GenerationDFA groups across the country are already showing a lot of progress. Brandeis University's group held their first meeting of the semester last night, which was attended by fifty people! It was plugged as the biggest meeting of the year, and the campus certainly responded well.

Franco Caliz-Aguilar, organizer of the Coral Park Young Democrats in Miami, was interviewed by the Miami Herald about a petition he drafted asking school officials to distribute military recruitment opt-out forms to parents and students of Coral Park Senior High. The petition was signed by 200 of Franco's classmates! The petition was part of a united effort among grassroots groups in South Florida to deter aggressive military recruiting efforts.

Soon, GenerationDFA's agenda for the rest of 2006 will be available on and groups will begin planning their candidate forums, and making endorsements. Search for a GenerationDFA group in your area by going to If there's no group in your area, sign up to start one yourself.

—Meredith Adams

Categories: Blogs