The Stranger’s Eli Sanders has been on top of the Danielson-Gonzalez Supreme Court race for a long time now. In fact, I think he deserves some of the credit for raising awareness that led to an election result in which a highly qualified candidate with the Hispanic surname defeated the highly unqualified candidate with the lilly-White surname.
But even in victory, Eli has an important point to make about failure:
The results are now clear: rural voters, for the most part, pick the white guy over the Latino guy.
If Gonzalez hadn’t spent over $260,000 to combat this dynamic—and if urban Washingtonians hadn’t sounded the alarm—then we’d now have a Justice Bruce Danielson.
This is a disgracefully ignorant and dangerous way to pick our supreme court justices.
There is another point to make here as well.
The deal is this. Every single county East of the Cascades went for the white guy. Most of them did so by 60% or more, including Adams and Douglas counties that went for Danielson by over 70%.
The counties with the highest proportion of Hispanic population (from 2010 census data) are Franklin (63.8%), Adams (57.9%), Yakima (45.6%), Grant (39.5%), Chelan (27.5%), Douglas (26.7%), Walla Walla (21.4%), Okanogan (19.2%), and Benton (18.0%).
All of these counties but Benton voted for Danielson in excess of 60%. That’s right…Franklin county, with a 63.8% Hispanic population went for Danielson by 64.3%. And Adams county, with a 57.9% Hispanic population went for Danielson by 70.6%.
Now, there may be several reasons why counties with a high proportion of Hispanic individuals have voters that overwhelmingly vote Republican and vote against a highly qualified individual with a Hispanic surname running for Supreme Court.
The Hispanic population may be younger, so that many are not old enough to vote. A certain proportion may be non-citizens. A lower rate of English literacy among Hispanic voters may suppress voter turn-out. Hey, there may even be some fraction of Hispanic voters who really believe it’s in their best interest to vote Republican (yeah…right!).
What we can say is that the interests of the considerable Hispanic population in Washington state for whatever reasons are not being served by our electoral system.
I find that disgraceful!
I don’t know what the story is behind this failure. Frankly, this looks like a failure on the part of Democrats to conduct effective registration drives, voter education efforts, and put GOTV operations into the field in these counties.
Whatever the reason, it needs to change!