Orange County, Calif., Democrat Rep. Loretta Sanchez, who took to Univision last month to warn Latino voters that "the Vietnamese and Republicans" were coming after a Latino seat, has stirred up lots of emotions. Sanchez has called Van Tran, her Vietnamese Republican opponent, anti-immigrant and anti-Hispanic in an attempt to galvanize Hispanic voters to help protect the seat that has been Latino and Democratic since 1996. Tran has accused Sanchez of starting a "race war." Well, the real problem for Sanchez is that more Asians turn out to vote than Latinos, so Sanchez's firebrand approach to politics may backfire on her. The Sanchez-Tran race is notable because it features two candidates of color from a rapidly changing California suburb with large immigrant populations. Sanchez currently holds the only Democratic seat in Republican territory. Democrats make up 47 percent of the district's registered voters, and Republicans are 31 percent. The district voted overwhelmingly for President Obama in 2008, but also for Proposition 8, and it was a reliable bloc of voters for President Bush in 2000 and 2004. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that Latino and Vietnamese voters don't always vote along racial or party lines. The other problem is that Tran's claim of a race war may not matter to folks who aren't guaranteed to vote along racial lines. How about this? Stop with the shenanigans and promote platforms, not race-based rhetoric. Yeah, we know — a novel concept.
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