In Latina Magazine: What Super Tuesday Means for Latino Voters
“Yo Decido” got many in a tizzy because Time Magazine with this particular Election 2012 cover focused on the importance of the Latino vote. Except me.
This cover got it wrong. Firstly, the 2010 U.S Census clearly states that our community’s demographic boom is being led, not by Spanish-speaking immigrants. In fact, this sub-group’s growth has slowed because of the weak economy, anti-immigration laws like the one in Arizona, and increased deportations under the Obama Administration.
Instead, it’s being driven by U.S. born Hispanics. Among the most crucial attributes, we are English dominant and young. We speak and love Spanish. But we live in English, many times mixing it all up. Therefore, the cover would have been more accurate had the words been “I Decido” or “Yo Decide.”
Secondly, will Latinos really determine who goes to the White House? I want to say yes because of our Kony 2012 YouTube viral video-like growth. But let’s take our rosado sunglasses off and ask ourselves:
- Will Latinos who are eligible to vote become citizens and then register to vote?
- Once they register, will they actually go out on Election Day and cast ballots?
Hispanics, as political players on the national stage, are relatively young. We need to channel our inner-independents, seniors, or Jewish-American voters–groups that are politically engaged not just during a sexy presidential election, but as crucially, involved in their PTA. Jes, become the pretty girl in high school everyone wants to date.
Of course, there’s just being disenchanted–by the toxic tenor of the GOP Presidential debates towards immigration–an issue that does not rank in polls as high as jobs, the economy, and education, but hugely matters on an emotional level. Also, Latinos aren’t feelin’ it as much for the Prez who presided over an economía that crippled many Hispanic families with layoffs and foreclosures.
Many Latinos wonder why President Obama didn’t invest the same political capital toward comprehensive immigration reform that he used to pass an overhaul to the health care system or increase deportations.
K. Good points.
But the only way to change something is to get involved from the ground up.
So quit the excuses.
Very soon we’ll be the majority.
Start acting like it.
Continue reading or click on the link below to my latest Latina Magazine column:
Election 2012: What Super Tuesday Mean for Latino Voters?
By Viviana Hurtado
Mitt Romney won six nominating contests on “Super Tuesday,” called this because on this day, ten states hold their primaries or caucuses on the march toward a party naming a Presidential candidate. Romney’s frontrunner status is in question, although he won the states of Massachusetts, Alaska, Idaho, Vermont, Virginia, and Ohio. This last one he won by the most razor thin margin–a fraction of one percentage point or a few thousand votes–beating Rick Santorum who took North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. Newt Gingrich owned his home state of Georgia, tallying 47% of the vote–about 20 points more than Romney, who came in a distant second.
If Romney has the experience having faced off and lost the 2008 Republican Presidential nomination to John McCain, has the muscular, disciplined campaign, and crucially the money, why can’t he seal the deal with primary voters? The two most popular theories are that Republican primary voters who trend more socially conservative, doubt the former governor of Massachusetts is conservative enough. They are suspicious of his “evolving”–to not say flip-flopping views–once supporting women’s reproductive and gay rights and now opposing them, plus signing into law the health care reform legislation in the Bay State that became the template for President Obama’s federal version. Also, some Evangelical Christians are uncomfortable with Romney’s Mormon faith which they view as a cult and not Christian.
Without Romney delivering a knock-out punch on Super Tuesday, the GOP nominating contests slog on. That includes those where there are more Latino voters. Puerto Rico’s primary is on March 18, New York’s is April 24, Texas’ has been postponed to May 29, and California’s is on June 5.
The candidates are trying to secure delegates, or the local representatives each state sends to the National Republican Convention in Tampa this August. The popular vote in each state is important because with some exceptions that award delegates by divvying up the results, the candidate who wins the most ballots captures all these representatives in a state–a system that’s called “winner takes all.” The person to reach the magic number of 1,144 delegates clinches the Republican Presidential nomination.
While Latinos vote largely Democratic–President George W. Bush made significant inroads in 2004 which President Barack Obama in 2008 got back), a drawn-out Republican primary season means the candidates will be fighting to win every vote in the remaining thirty-two contests. Hispanic voters will have yet another–and a larger chance–to flex our political muscle in November when the Republican nominee challenges the President in the general election. Expect to see candidates savor enchiladas or lomo at campaign stops in the Fall, even hear them speak a little español. Just make sure they’re walking their talk on the issues that matter to you.
To read more of Viviana’s politics pieces in Latina, click here.Will we see record Latino voter participation on Election Day?