In this election, Hispanics must support Democrats. It is not often in politics that people are given the choice between real, substantive contrasts. An attitude of "vote for the lesser of two evils" that permeates the American electorate has veiled many voters into believing that both the Democratic and Republican parties are two sides of the same coin. They are not. And Latinos know it.
While there are nuclei of both parties that will vote "D" or "R" because of emotional attachments, the fastest-growing group of voters in America are actually independents, fed up with the self-interested squabbling of mediocre politicians more interested in their own reelections than in leading the country.
Hispanic voters are primarily independents who have voted Democratic in several elections. The reasons for this preference are complex, and not just based in immigration reform. Rather, a preference for policies of social development, education investment, health access and social stability make it clear that a majority of Hispanics prefers the current version of the Democrats over the far-right wing, often extremist Republican Party.
Voters call my show every day to ask, "Who should I vote for?" I am consistent in my response: Vote for the Democrats. To be clear, I, too, am an independent. I have no party affinity, but rather a policy obsession. And the anti-Latino, hostile and aggressive Republican Party of the last decade does not merit Latino support.
Here are three reasons why I think Latinos should support Democrats in the upcoming elections:
1. The economy
President Reagan was very effective in convincing a generation of Americans that Democrats could not be trusted with the economy. "Tax and spend" and "liberal" became powerful markers in the GOP's successful framing of the Democrats as irresponsible stewards of the economy.
But we now know that since World War II, Democratic administrations have outperformed, both in terms of job creation and overall gross domestic product (GDP) growth, Republicans in every term. With the Democrats' pro-growth policies, there is a general lifting of all boats when a Democratic administration occupies the White House.
In contrast, the GOP must still cope with the President George W. Bush's legacy of economic disaster. His was the administration that took the Clinton budget surplus and converted it to a doubling of the national debt. The trickle-down economics fantasy was once again proven completely wrong -- leading to a hyper concentration of wealth at the top, slow job growth for middle class Americans and anemic GDP expansion. Add to it the Republican fetish for under-regulating industry, and Bush left America with the worst economy since President Herbert Hoover was chased out of Washington during the Great Depression.
Latinos should be aware that the various Republican blueprints for a GOP-controlled Congress are Bush polices warmed over -- and the result would be, predictably, another national economic and social horror show.
2. Immigration reform
Once you break through the clutter of emotions about President Obama's recent delay in taking executive action to ameliorate the collapsing immigration "system" in America, you are faced with a stark truth: Republicans have been sabotaging immigration reform since at least 2007, when Republicans in the Senate killed Bush's immigration reform bill.
More recently, in 2009, some 99 percent of all congressional Democrats supported Obama's immigration push, while 0 percent of Republicans stepped up to provide enough votes for a majority.
And in the last year, after the Democratic-controlled Senate passed a bipartisan immigration bill, Republican House Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) blocked every possible route to a vote. The bill languished, but still Republicans in the House were not content; they voted three times to deport the Dreamers.
Even the supposed Hispanic hope of the GOP, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), faced with Tea Party blowback that threatened his White House ambition, lobbied the House to reject the immigration bill that he had cosponsored and for which he voted.
This moment crystalized his betrayal of American Latinos and the immigration-reform cause that is one of their primary policy objectives.
3. Social stability
Even to American Latinos who were born in the U.S., the specter of the social instability that drove their parents and grandparents to migrate to the United States haunts the collective unconscious of the community. Whether it's Cubans with Fidel Castro nightmares, Colombians fleeing a savage civil war, or Mexicans who immigrated to escape brutal violence and squalor, the vision of the U.S. as a haven of stability is a shared ideal.
When Republicans engage in destructive maneuvers that hurt the whole country, Latinos are justifiably horrified. The very idea of Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-Texas) "government shutdown" is antithetical to Hispanics' desire for institutional stability. When Republicans on two occasions played chicken with the full faith and credit of the U.S. by threatening to block a vote on raising the debt ceiling, it seemed like the GOP was advocating for national suicide -- threatening the American and global economies in the name of one politician's personal glory.
There are many other reasons why Latinos should vote for Democrats in this cycle. The Big Lie rhetoric coming out of the mouth of Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), for example, accusing immigrants of being both Ebola virus carriers and part of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) sleeper cells, should be enough to motivate Latinos to vote against a party that permits such naked hostility -- and racism.
In the end, however, economic growth and shared prosperity; a rational, fair immigration system; and the promise of patriotic social stability are three central motivators for Latinos to vote for Democrats in November.
Latinos should send a message to Republicans: We won't support your failed policies, we won't abide by anti-Hispanic rhetoric, and we will always side with political forces that seek to build on the common good, not tear it down.