A recent USA Today/Gallup study showed that a majority of Latinos – 56 percent – favor government intervention in solving the nations socioeconomic and political issues. This is well above the 37 percent of overall Americans who favor government involvement in reaching solutions.
Latinos, despite what many conservatives may think, are not born into the Democratic Party. Latinos overwhelmingly support the Democrats, because Democrats are the party of big(ger) government (the GOP is for big government, too. Just look at the Bush years).
So, the question looms: why do Latinos love big government?
First, Latinos don’t love big government (I don’t think any American does). But, as members of a minority group, Latinos view big government as a necessary evil.
In that sense, Latinos love big government the way blacks, women and LGBTs love big government.
When blacks were demanding equal rights under the law during the 1950s and 1960s, they directed their pleas toward the federal government, demanding that Washington intervene and check the inflamed racist system on display in the Southern (and many of the Northern) states. Part of the Civil Rights Movement was a push to make the federal government the supreme bulwark against Jim Crow; to do that, it was given license to expand its reach.
During the Women’s Lib Movement, oppressed women throughout the United States petitioned the federal government to defend the civil rights of women against violations of such at the state and local levels.
In the Gay Rights Movement – which coincided with the Feminist Movement of the 1970s and ‘80s, but has continued on ever since – again, we find an oppressed minority group asking the federal government to step in and protect them from civil-rights-violatin’ state governments (Although, the movement to expand LGBT* rights in the United States has also adopted a piecemeal strategy, looking to pass LGBT* rights legislation state-by-state while the federal government is held hostage).
Oppressed minority groups favor a strong federal government, because as the supreme law of the land, Washington policy generally overrides conflicting state policies. And since most of the U.S. map is solidly red (GOP-controlled), you can bet there’s going to be plenty of Latinos, blacks, women and LGBTs looking to the federal government to protect them from oppressive state governments.
For the same reason, white Americans generally prefer a smaller, less interventionist federal government. If you’re privileged enough to be born into a system that makes you and people like you top dog, while others scramble for scraps from your table, why would you want some faraway government disturbing that? You wouldn’t, because you love the status quo; in fact, you can’t get enough status quo.
The GOP (now, almost exclusively male and white) works to preserve the status quo. That’s why it rails against government intervention, claiming to favor a system in which no one is assisted more or less than anyone else.
What the party fails to realize – or what conservatives purposely ignore – is that Americans are not born equal. Or, as Orwell would say, Americans are born equal, but some Americans are more equal than others.
Race, class and opportunity are conjoined triplets in America.
Most Latinos understand this, which is why they favor a federal government that intervenes on their behalf.