It is quite evident that Latinos played a decisive role in electing President Obama. Seventy-two percent of Latinos voted for the President, and in several key states Latinos were the wave that turned the tide in the President’s favor. Political pundits and commentators will continue to analyze this election. My commentary merely provides some post-election observations.
Changes in popular culture regarding Latinos as a political power have occurred since the election. The immediate effect is evident on major news and talk shows. In the past, a Latino guest expert was rarely ever seen. Now, Latinos are popping up everywhere across our TV screens. Even Bill Maher had a Republican Latina on his show. Who would have thought? However, as I watch I am sometimes embarrassed. It often seems as if any Latino will do and that sometimes the invited Latino speakers and experts do not seem all that savvy or well spoken. Perhaps, now is the time for us to mobilize our resources and inform news outlets and others of our cadre of knowledgeable spokespeople who understand and truly represent the Latino community.
My second observation is also just as simple. In addition to seeing more Latinos in the media, politicians need to realize that Latinos are not a one-issue community. We care about immigration reform, but we also care about the economy, the rich paying their fair share, the consequences of the fiscal cliff, universal health care, climate change, and so on. Latinos are a diverse people and our views and our positions are also diverse. However, there are some issues that are supported by most Latinos.
ILACHE strongly supports, the DREAM Act and immigration reform. We are counting on our President to deliver on these two important things. But we are also counting on him to address the problems of the economy and provide much needed relief for poor and middle class Americans. We are counting on all our leaders to end the deadlock in Washington and in Springfield and to govern with the people in mind, not their own selfish interests.
As this election demonstrated, Latinos will vote in record numbers when we feel our futures are on the line. Given current demographics, the Latino voting block can be expected to grow with each election. This election shows that when Latinos vote, we vote our beliefs and what we think is best for our community and country. It is high time for politicians, pundits, and leaders to take us seriously and that means more than just any brown face or any one issue will do.