An ad urging Latino voters in Nevada to abstain from voting will not be aired on Univision, a Spanish-language network, The Wall Street Journal reports. The ad, created by Latinos for Reform, says that the Democratic leadership has for years been making empty promises to Latinos and taking their vote for granted.
"It’s an election year," the ad begins. "So here come more promises about immigration reform. Last time, President Obama and the Democratic leadership made a commitment that immigration reform would be passed within a year. But two years have gone by, and nothing. Not even a vote in Congress."
According to the ad, Latinos’ best move now is to stay away from the voting booth.
"This November, we need to send a message to all politicians," the narrator says. "Don’t vote this November. This is the only way to send them a clear message. You can no longer take us for granted. Don’t vote."
Ostensibly, the ad calls for Latinos to make a statement against everyone in Washington, not just Democrats, but, if successful, this campaign would clearly be more detrimental to Democrat Harry Reid than to Republican Sharron Angle in the state's contest for the Senate. Hispanic loyalty to the Democratic Party remains strong, but Democrats such as Reid are worried that Latinos are less likely to vote in the midterms than other groups are. A recent survey from the Pew Hispanic Center found that although two-thirds of Latinos support Democrats, only 50 percent were likely to vote in the coming election (compared with 70 percent of all voters).
Democrats have tried rallying the Latino community. For example, with just two weeks before Election Day, President Obama signed an executive order to improve the educational opportunities for Hispanic children.
If Latinos don't show up at the polls in large numbers, it's unlikely that this ad campaign will be the reason, because Univision won’t allow the spot to run on its network. According to a Univision spokesperson who talked with The Wall Street Journal, no ads from Latinos for Reform on voting will run because the network outwardly encourages Hispanics to vote.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine of Virginia described the ad as a dirty trick from Republicans.
"This latest Republican ad campaign goes well beyond political trickery—it runs directly counter to the democratic spirit that fuels our elections," he said in a news release. "Both Republicans and Democrats should be encouraging political participation—not trying to dampen electoral turnout."
This is not the first ad in Nevada to offend Hispanic voters. Earlier this month, Angle got in hot water with the Latino community after claiming that menacing-looking “illegal aliens” in one of her ads, may not even be Hispanic, but could be terrorists sneaking in from Canada.
This article appears in the October 20, 2010 edition of National Journal Daily PM Update.