It’s a “Perfect Storm” for the return of the Latino Vote

LatinaLista — It’s not a myth that Latino voters have the power to influence the outcomes of political elections. It’s a fact that was proven in 2008 during the presidential election.

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Because of the outreach by the Democratic Party, and especially the Obama campaign, Latino voters across the country were energized to turn out at the polls in unprecedented numbers.

New Spanish ad to air in Nevada an Colorado to combat racist political advertisements.

Yet, while the numbers were good there was room for improvement. Texas and Arizona, two states with high percentages of Latinos, didn’t fulfill the expectations for Latino voter turnout as some other states. An analysis of the 2008 election attributes the differences to less of an aggressive outreach to Latino communities in these two states and a lack of “competitiveness.”

However, according to the political research group Latino Decisions, Texas and Arizona still rank among states where Latinos can influence elections. But for 2010, Latino Decisions projects Latinos to influence elections in: California, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Illinois, Florida, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Up until a few weeks ago, the notion that Latinos could resurrect any kind of electoral influence was highly debatable among pundits, the media and even Latinos ourselves.

But thanks to a string of events, the drive to get out the Latino vote has intensified. However, it’s not enthusiasm for change that’s driving the Latino vote this time, it’s a steel determination to keep an undesirable change from happening and to fight back against racists running for office.

In most every state where there are GOP and Tea Party contenders, there can be found at least one ad exploiting the issue of illegal immigration.

In Nevada, it has reached extreme proportions with the leading GOP candidate Sharron Angle “approving” the broadcast of political advertisements that don’t try to hide the blatant racism that is fueling her campaign.

There are several other candidates who aren’t far behind her.

In Texas, Gov. Rick Perry’s usage of a widow of a Houston police officer who was murdered by an undocumented immigrant, Louisiana’s Sen.David Vitter releasing ads stereotyping Latino immigrants and Colorado’s Senate Candidate Ken Buck also stereotyping the illegal immigration issue are but a few examples that underscore how the Latino community is acceptable collateral damage for GOP/Tea Party politicians who have eyes on public office.

This political campaign season has surpassed the exploitation of the illegal immigration issue and Latinos as was seen in previous campaign seasons.

If this wasn’t enough, the recent ad proposed by a Latino group telling Latinos not to vote have all come together in a “perfect storm” of reenergizing the Latino vote.

Because of these ads meant to influence voters, there has been a huge backlash among Latino groups to not only get the Latino vote out but fight back.

On the heels of the Latino ad telling Latino voters not to vote, online campaigns sprung up literally overnight to counter the message.

And now in response to the onslaught of racists ads by politicians like Sharron Angle, a coalition has been formed among America’s Voice, Mi Familia Vota and Campaign for Community Change.

These orgs have banded together to buy Spanish air time for ads with the message: “We are Voters, Not Criminals.” The ads will air in Nevada and Colorado.

Had these candidates not attacked Latinos in their political advertisements, Latino voters would probably have been lazy in their turnout next month. Yet, thankfully, these candidates did decide to insult without apology Latino constituents.

As a result, the influence of Latino voters will be felt again — and this time, it’s much more personal.

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