Trump's America: A quinceañera becomes a voter registration event

Nothing says birthday celebration like setting up a voter registration table, am I right? One Texas teenager is receiving national attention for allowing the Houston chapter of a liberal Hispanic activist group to register voters. The girl is only 15, too young to register to vote herself, yet her quinceanera pushed politics as much as any other aspect of the party. A quinceañera is a Hispanic tradition of celebrating a young girl’s 15th birthday. It is a celebration of her coming of age.

Do you want a voter registration form with that piece of cake? Aleida Ramos is excited that news of her birthday party went viral, thanks to Teen Vogue magazine. Jolt Initiative, a Texas-based Latino organization focused on building the political power and influence of young Latinos, sees an opportunity to take advantage of these teen parties to include voter registration drives. Aleida was convinced it was something she wanted to do at her party after Jolt Initiative representatives showed her some photos of an organized protest at the Texas Capitol in Austin in 2018. Many teenaged girls gathered on the steps of the Capitol attired in their quinceanera dresses – ballgowns – to protest a ban on sanctuary cities in Texas. That protest was organized by the Jolt Initiative.

I remember that protest because I don’t like to see children used as political pawns. I mentioned at the time on Twitter that it looked exploitive to me and as you might imagine, liberal twits didn’t agree with my opinion. The girls looked pretty in their gowns and completely out of place on the Capitol building’s steps. That was the point, of course, to draw attention and catch the eyes of reporters.

To be clear, Jolt Initiative intends to make voter registration an organized project using quinceaneras to reach young people and those who haven’t registered to vote in the past. People of all ages are invited to the family-style celebrations.

Jolt estimates 50,000 quinceaneras to happen in Texas each year. And the groups ‘Poder Quince” initiative, which launched last month, is designed to merge the tradition of a quinceanera with the upward trend of registered Latino voters.

“It goes beyond voter registration. What we’re trying to do is a cultural shift,” said Antonio Arellano who oversees the Houston chapter of the Jolt Initiative. “You know, for so long Latinos have grown up thinking that they are the minority, being told that they are the minority. Well soon, within the next four years, Latinos will become the majority of the population in this state and with that comes a lot of political power.”

The initiative calls it “protecting our community” which is an acknowledgement of the large population of illegal aliens in Texas. It will be interesting to follow this project and see if Jolt registers only voters who are legitimately eligible to register to vote and how many teenage girls want such political activity at their parties, now that Aleida has gotten publiticy as the first to do so in the Houston area. Ironic, isn’t it, that the open borders crowd who protest in favor of sanctuary cities will have to ask for proper paperwork to allow their targeted demographic to register to vote? They will, in fact, have to show their papers.

Aleida’s quinceañera was the first in Harris County, which includes Houston, to incorporate the Poder Quince project. Harris County has the second-largest Latino population in the country, about 2.02 million, behind Los Angeles County’s Latino population of about 4.91 million.

The county set a turnout record in last year’s midterm elections and performed better than recent presidential elections, helped by increases in young voter and Latino turnout.

“That’s why we are so focused on energizing the Latino vote in Houston. The Latino vote lives here, and we have to mobilize them and there is so much riding on them,” said Antonio Arellano, Jolt’s spokesman.

Democrats are desperate to turn Texas blue, even if they have to use birthday parties in the mix. I wonder how receptive other cities will be.