Originally Published on NevadaNewsmakers.com, 9/11/2007 10:40:44 AM
Courting Latino voters isn’t as easy as uttering a few badly pronounced Spanish sentences in a stump speech. Community activists can help overcome the language barrier, and can be useful in shedding light on cultural preferences. But figuring out what makes the segment tick? And what will get them out of their living rooms? The Reasonable Reporter can only say that in Reno, it’s not a viewing party for a presidential discussion forum broadcast in Spanish.
The Clinton campaign deserves credit, however, for seizing the opportunity. It was a creative move, inviting Latino voters to Cantina Los Tres Hombres on Virginia Street to see the candidate showcased in a Spanish-language forum. The expectation was a crowd of 30 or so, according to restaurant personnel who had cleared a wing of the bar with four large TV screens for the event.
But as Univision began its groundbreaking televised Spanish-language event, which featured almost a full complement of Democratic hopefuls, campaign workers outnumbered guests by 10-1. That one? She was a woman in her middle thirties, clad in pink cotton slacks and a knit shirt, with two little girls in tow. The older daughter translated for her. Yes, mom already intends to vote for Hillary. And she arrived believing that Hillary would actually be present at the Reno venue.
Campaign spokesperson Hilarie Grey says the Univision viewing party worked out well in Las Vegas, with about 80 attendees. The idea was to encourage Latino voters to volunteer for the campaign, or to speak informally with friends and neighbors about Mrs. Clinton. Grey says the “watch parties” are just a little piece of the Latino outreach puzzle. The Clinton campaign intends to be thorough, scouring the state’s rural areas for Latino support, as well as working Washoe and Clark counties.
We, We, We, All the Way Home
In a nation founded with a break from rule by kings and queens, politicians might be expected to shy away from the royal “we.” But time after time, they use this odd construction.
“We think we’re on the right track,” and other, similar, phrases beginning with “we” proceed sooner or later from their mouths. Latest example — Fred Thompson, explaining his late and casually-launched entry into the Republican field.
We this, we that, we, we, we. Who is this we? Does he have multiple personality disorder? Has the camera moved in too close, failing to reveal the candidate’s shrink sitting beside him? Is there a mouse in his pocket? Does he wear a crown and clutch a scepter in the privacy of his living room?
The reference, of course, is to “myself and my campaign.” It’s an apparent device to notify political reporters, lest they’re tempted to believe otherwise, that there is concerted expertise underlying the words and actions of the candidate. There can be no other earthly reason to answer in second person plural a question directed at an individual who is seeking a single slot in the government of the United States of America. Is it purposeful, or is it an early indication that public office severs the link to regular people?
We are not amused, and we can’t help but wonder whether less politically-engaged audience members find it as off-putting as we do. Perhaps more so?