Latino voters in key swing states like Colorado and Florida are being courted by myriad politicians and political action groups this election season. Many strategists see this demographic as key to winning the presidency, and are therefore giving Latino voters special attention in their hometowns and at the conventions.
This year marks the first time that Latino politicians were major speakers at both national conventions, with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro (D-TX) making keynote addresses at the RNC and DNC respectively. Many see this as an illustration of the growing power wielded by Latino politicians and voters.
The 2010 census counted around 50 million Latinos living in the U.S.; the largest minority population in the country. However, Latinos have not held as much political power as their numbers might indicate because of low voter participation. The Latino population overall is younger, poorer and has less education than other groups; three traits of traditional non-voters. However, politicians hope to galvanize these voters to turn out in big numbers in 2012 by specifically addressing issues in the Latino community. A record nine million Latinos voted in 2008, but the campaigns are hoping to drive that number up to 12 million this year.
President Obama made a strong bid for these key voters when he removed the threat of deportation for young undocumented workers who had been brought to the U.S. as children earlier this year. His opponent Mitt Romney is also attempting to reach out to those voters with his job record and promises for education.
"We're the real deal now. We've been the sleeping giant for a long time now, but we've woken up just because of our numbers." - Former Gov. Bill Richardson, (D-NM)
"We want to know which side of history the President wants to be; if he's still going to be helping the small communities, the migrant communities." -Gilberto Torres, demonstrator.
1. What is a swing state?
2. Name two swing states besides the ones mentioned in this blog post.
3. What is a convention?
4. Are conventions an important part of the election process? Why or why not?
1. Do you think it is a good campaign strategy to specifically target Latino voters? Why or why not?
2. With the diversity within the Latino community, do you think Latinos can be considered one voting bloc? Why or why not?
3. Why are many Latinos considered swing voters? What policies on both sides might appeal to them?
Recognition for Young Undocumented Immigrants:
Arizona Immigration Law Opens Up Old Wounds, New Battles:
Arizona Teens React to New Immigration Law: