Yup, heard me right. There is no Latino vote.
Think about it. More than 50 million Hispanics call America home and although we’re concentrated in Florida, California, Texas, and New York, we’re actually everywhere.
Even in the “unlikeliest” places.
Consider @rydelacruz, a Dominican-American living and riding horses in MONTANA who tweeted me, “OMG -I think there are maybe a dozen latinos in Montana. ;-)” This is in response to my Twitter message on the latest study by the Pew Hispanic Center breaking down the demographic growth of Latinos, state by state, county by county.
Although voting patterns exist, our geographic, cultural, ethnic, generational (the list goes on) differences don’t just mean that a Cuban-American in South Florida and a Mexican-American in Bell, California will vote differently. Even within cubano families, in 2008 while many hardline Republican anti-Castrista abuelos cast ballots for John McCain, their college age grandkids voted for President Obama.
Add to this political flux the sheer numbers of new and young voters, with an estimated 12 million voters eligible to register to vote. These citizens are curious about the political process and are super-wired and connected, digesting Election 2012 through the blogosphere, social media, Univision, and Telemundo. They’re listening, talking equally on Calle Ocho and 8th Street.
Which is why Puerto Rico‘s primary results are as insignificant as significant:
IMPORTANTE: Rick Santorum‘s English-language-first-foot-in-his-mouth was interpreted as just one more example that this rookie isn’t ready for primetime and more disturbing for the GOP, that Republicans don’t like Latinos as I wrote in Latina Magazine: Election 2012: Mitt Romney’s Latino Problem?
NOT SO MUCH: Only 150,000 out of 4 million registered boricuas voters cast ballots in the GOP primary. Then there’s La isla del encanto that doesn’t vote in November which kind of rains on Mitt Romney‘s we-can-get-Latinos-in-November-based-on-PR-results parade.
Will eligible Hispanics register and then vote in November (and hopefully every local race thereafter)? Don’t know. But I do know that this growing voting bloc is watching.
Click below to hear more–15 minutes and 35 seconds because we’re talkers!–on Sirius XM Radio’s P.O.T.U.S Politics with hosts Karen Finney and Robert Trayhnam who invited me to chit chat on Puerto Rico’s primary, the Latino vote, and Election 2012.“There is no–or one Latino–vote and we acted like independent voters” OR “Latinos sat out this election.” Which is it going to be in November?