What do ‘Latino voters’ want? The GOP thinks it knows. (Washington Post)

By Marie Arana

Is there such a thing as “the Latino voter”?

My father, a Peruvian, was something of a Republican, even when he wasn’t yet a citizen of the United States. For the first 15 years of my parents’ marriage, in Peru, he was mostly concerned with the careening allegiances of his own countrymen: the gaping divide between the elites and the poor; the wild, destabilizing vacillation between right wing and left wing in Latin America; the perpetual pendulum swing between oppression and revolution.

When my parents immigrated to the United States in the 1960s, looking for better opportunities for their children, they arrived as a sea change was afoot. The country had drifted from the rose-colored complacency of the 1950s; it was no longer the sparkling Arcadia my American mother had promised. The United States we encountered had embarked on a Cold War, committed civil rights atrocities that made a mockery of the American Dream, endured a slew of grisly assassinations, and experienced a radical change in the color of its immigrants.

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Marie Arana, a former editor of Book World and inaugural literary director of the Library of Congress, is the author of numerous books, most recently “Latinoland: America’s Largest and Least Understood Minority,” from which this essay is adapted.