As a first-generation Mexican American who lives in Canyon Country, I strongly oppose any attempt to segregate voters based on race and political affiliation. The demand for segregated voting districts not only undermines the principles of fair representation and equal protection under the law, but also perpetuates the myth that voters who belong to a particular “protected” class vote in lockstep with one another.
The idea that voters of a “protected” class are a monolithic group that vote in unison with others in the same class is a myth. This is especially relevant to the legal battle in Santa Clarita, where plaintiffs Michael Cruz, Sebastian Cazares, and their lawyer are demanding creation of racially and politically biased segregated voting districts for Latinos, citing protection of Latino voters as their main concern.
While it is true that Latinos are the largest racial or ethnic minority in the United States, comprising nearly 20% of the population (approximately 62 million, according to the 2020 U.S. Census), of which 67% are U.S.-born, they are far from monolithic in their political beliefs and voting patterns. According to the Pew Research Center, in the 2020 election, 59% of Latino voters supported Joe Biden, while 38% supported Donald Trump. This represents a significant increase in support for Trump from the 2016 election, when he won just 28% of the Latino vote.
The same can be said for other “protected” class voters. Women, for example, are often presumed to vote overwhelmingly for Democratic candidates. While it’s true that women have supported Democratic candidates in recent elections, women of color — who are part of both the “women” and “racial and ethnic minority” categories — have shown more diversity in voting patterns. In the 2020 election, 91% of African American women voted for Biden, compared to 70% of Latina women and 61% of white women.
This diversity within “protected” class voters extends beyond partisan politics. For example, assumptions are often made about LGBTQ voters being a monolithic bloc that exclusively supports progressive candidates and causes. However, research shows LGBTQ voters have a range of political beliefs and are influenced by varied factors, including gender identity, race, socioeconomic status and geography.
In Santa Clarita, there are not only significant Latino communities but also sizable Asian and African American communities, among others. These communities are not homogeneous and have diverse political views and voting patterns. An overwhelming number of Latinos, Democrat and Republican, voted for current City Council members, U.S. Rep. Mike Garcia, and former candidate Suzette Valladares in the 2022 election. Despite losing the election, Valladares had an advantage of 7,911 votes in the Santa Clarita Valley over the opposing socialist progressive candidate. This is a testament to the effectiveness of at-large voting in promoting fair representation for all voters, regardless of race or ethnicity.
Despite what has been claimed, the plaintiffs’ demand for segregated voting districts is primarily rooted in their dissatisfaction that voters in Santa Clarita repeatedly and overwhelmingly reject socialist progressive Democrat candidates. It is not about protecting the rights of Latino voters, as they claim, but rather a blatant attempt to manipulate the political process in their favor.
The demand for racially and politically biased segregated voting districts by the plaintiffs in the Santa Clarita case not only undermines the effectiveness of at-large voting, but also ignores the reality that “protected” class voters are not a monolithic group. By creating gerrymandered districts based on race and political affiliation, it could actually disenfranchise other “protected” class voters who do not fit into the mold the plaintiffs and their lawyer have constructed.
It is time to reject these divisive and harmful efforts and embrace a system that promotes fair representation for all. The notion that Latinos, or any other group, vote as a monolithic bloc is a myth that has been perpetuated for far too long. It is important to recognize the diversity of opinions and perspectives in any group, and ensure all voters have equal opportunity to participate in the political process and have their voices heard. Creating racially and politically biased segregated voting districts is not the answer, and would only serve to further divide our communities and undermine the principles of democracy.