The Latino vote has become increasingly important in American politics and a large focus of the democrats this election year. While both major parties have acknowledged the power of the Latino vote, the democrats have found that they are largely benefiting from this population. Obama realized the power of the Latino vote in New Mexico in 2008, and spent time campaigning in this competitive state. Although Obama won New Mexico’s five electoral votes four years ago, this state is again a battleground state this year.
Obama’s 2012 campaign believes that New Mexico’s increase of hispanic citizens make this a democrat-leaning state and therefore a state they can win this election year. Fernanda Santos’s article in the New York Times discusses how crucial the hispanic vote is for Obama in New Mexico. She states that Obama’s aim at increasing hispanic votes in this state had led to the belief that “with the Hispanic population growing in many states, the way New Mexico looks today is the way many states will look in elections down the road” (Santos). New Mexico’s electorate is almost 40% hispanic, meaning that their vote is crucial this campaign cycle. Further, while New Mexico currently has a large hispanic population, by 2030, it is predicted that America will almost double its hispanic population, from 13% this year to 23% in eighteen years (Santos). This means that New Mexico’s growing hispanic population may serve as an indicator for how states will look in future elections, making Obama’s outreach to this group extremely important; by focusing on New Mexico’s hispanic population, through voter registration and ensuring voter information is available in both Spanish and English, Obama has set the groundwork for how future elections will approach the country’s growing Latino population.
New Mexico is just one example of the power of the hispanic vote. It is no coincidence that the keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention was, for the first time, a hispanic. The democrats have been working towards increasing Latino voter turnout in hopes of securing more electoral votes and their efforts this election cycle will certainly continue for future elections. The power of the Latino vote is certainly going to increase in coming elections and it will be interesting to see how states are effected by this.
Fernanda Santos’s article can be found at: