What is the 'Tequila Party'?
Hispanic leaders in Nevada and elsewhere are reportedly considering severing their ties to the Democratic Party and forming an independent, grassroots group called the "Tequila Party." The idea, according to proponents, is to tap into the rising voting power of Hispanics in order to push for immigration reform and other legislation that Democrats have failed to deliver. Here's a quick guide:
Why the Tequila Party?
The name is a direct nod to the Tea Party, which provided the inspiration, but with a Mexican twist. The idea is not to follow the politics of the Tea Party, which was born out of frustration over increased government spending. But would-be Tequila Party supporters want to mimic the Tea Party's success in spotlighting issues they believe to be neglected, like immigration and education reform, in the way Tea Partiers persuaded Republicans to make budget cuts a priority.
Is this a smart move?
That depends on whom you ask. With Hispanics becoming a major force in politics, some activists think the aftermath of the midterms is a perfect time to demand a louder voice in Washington. Robert de Posada, a former GOP operative, calls it a "great concept" for Latinos who think Democrats are taking their "blind support" for granted. "If you are perceived as someone who will never vote for a Republican," he says, "then you're screwed." Other commentators think the only people it will help are Republicans. Pressuring Democrats to grant illegal immigrants amnesty, says Allahpundit at Hot Air, "would help the GOP a bunch."
Would liberal Hispanics really abandon Democrats?
Probably not, say some activists. But the Tea Party's relationship with the GOP could serve as an example. The Tea Party started out as a loose protest movement, but in the midterm campaigns it turned into a source of energy and money for fiscally conservative Republicans. Proponents of the Tequila Party say Latino voters demonstrated their power in Nevada by putting Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid over the top in a close race against Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle. As one Democratic operative said, "This is the time to move forward and get something committed other than talk."
Will the Tequila Party ever really exist?
That is not clear. The idea has received international attention, with some calling the effort "racist," while others "cringed at the name." But activists in Nevada and other states with large Hispanic populations praised the idea. "I don't know if it's going to happen, but there's talk," Fernando Romero, president of Nevada's nonpartisan Hispanics in Politics, told the Las Vegas Sun. Frank Sharry of the pro-immigration reform group America's Voice, says the Tequila Party will probably never get off the ground, but "I do think Democrats should worry because the arguments for the Tequila party are persuasive to me," he says. The frustration the group speaks to "is understandable."