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Latino redistricting efforts through the lens of a (Latino-less) mayoral field

Monday, October 17, 2011 - 02:00 PM

We've been talking a lot about the redistricting process, and, specifically, how community activists are pushing for more racial and ethnic "majority minority" state legislative seats (and maybe even Federal).

Looking through that lens at City Hall's Laura Nahmias's piece on the dearth of Latino contenders in 2013, and you can see another reason advocates will cite in their case for giving Latinos communities more weight in more districts. As Laura's source says:

“The ‘wait your turn’ game of Democratic politics hurts the community’s possibility of growth in Latino leadership,” said political commentator Gerson Borrero, who said the city hadn’t had a reputable candidate since Fernando Ferrer won the Democratic primary for mayor in 2005.

But, of course, an increase of downstate Latino members of the Senate and Assembly doesn't necessarily mean more Latino mayoral candidates--or even a Latino mayor. But, as the proponents for more Latino majority districts point out, providing Latino communities with more outlets could be a shot in the arm to the city's undersized Latino political community.

That being said, this might be the most telling paragraph of the piece and a strategy that continues to cut against the race-based policies of yore:

Some Latino politicians said that while representation was crucial, the city would benefit from any minority or strong progressive Democrat winning in citywide office. Candidates such as Comptroller John Liu and Councilwoman Letitia James, who are seen as potential candidates for mayor and public advocate, respectively, share political positions with some Latino politicians on issues like immigration or poverty.

That being said, as specifically Asian and Latino groups push for more political representation, it's worth examining the politics behind this sort of rainbow coalition strategy.

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