Latinos Vote: the Leader of the Pack


Coalition.

Networks.

Alliance.

These are all terms that in a political context mean the relationships forged among groups, forming a pact to further an agenda. It’s a power play meant to force an outcome. Representation, respect, access, money can be on the line.

As the election results’ raw data continues to be dissected, the wisdom of the political proverbio that coalitions win elections has been resoundingly confirmed.

Golden Retrievers for Obama!

50 Shades of Grey book clubbers for Barack!

I swear, I saw it all the last two years that I covered Election 2012. But the most significant player in this group is the Latino voting bloc because of its size, it’s concentration in key battleground states like Florida, Nevada, Colorado, and Virginia, and its growth.

The Wise Latina Club's Viviana Hurtado on the Latino Vote on NPR's Tell Me More

Pols Take Note: Both English and Spanish. Courtesy: AFP/Getty Images

It’s a political tectonic shift that began years ago because of immigration, our young demographic, and high birth rates. It is the first election since the 2010 U.S. Census confirmed our community’s population explosion. What we witnessed on Tuesday is only the sprouts, the beginning of a culture in the Latino community of civic participation that has been planted, will need to be watered, weeded, and nurtured to flourish.

On Tuesday, we showed up in record numbers and will continue to do so as we lay claim to our country, as we become informed and exercise our constitutionally protected right to have a say on the issues that affect us, the people we love, and the place we call home.

It is not enough to say that the path to the White House goes through the barrio and the bodega. It goes through schools because 25% of our public school children nationwide are Latino. It will go through our nursing homes as this segment of the population ages, keeping the solvency of Medicare and Social Security a top concern.

Any candidate, any party will need to articulate not just a rhetoric but policies that resonate with the New Americanos.

Click below to listen to my participation and analysis in “The Salon” on NPR’s Tell Me More with Michel Martin where I joined Michel, “Beauty Shop” regular Bridget Johnson from the conservative, libertarian PJ Media, and Barbershop staples writer and culture critic Jimi Izrael and civil rights lawyer and author Arsalan Iftikhar. This aired the day after the election on Wednesday, November 7, 2012.

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