LatinaLista — An interesting exchange recently with a young twenty-something Latino reader shed light on why so many young Latinos and Latinas are finding themselves attracted to Obama and plan to vote for him.
It boils down to one word: inspirational.
In speaking with a couple of other young Latinos/as about their choices for President, they all agreed on Obama too, and surprisingly, for the same reason.
Heavy-duty experience made little difference to them. He inspires them like none of the other candidates.
He is their Martin Luther King, Jr., John F. Kennedy and Cesar Chavez all rolled into one â€” charismatic, the visual underdog, the outsider.
He preaches change to an age-group who are at that stage in their lives where they know nothing but constant change: puberty, high school to college, going from their own room to their own apartment, the single life to wedded togetherness, school to “real” jobs, the list goes on.
These young Latinos/as are living the campaign of change and they identify with Obama’s delivery of it.
In fact, in a study of young Latino professionals between the ages of 18-39 released today by the National Hispanic Institute, results showed that the young support Obama, Guillliani and McCain.
What happened to Bill Richardson? (A question we’re asking too much these days.)
Well, according to the study, the young people surveyed said there weren’t any “influential” (a.k.a. inspirational) Latino leaders in the 2008 campaign.
â€¦Latino candidate Bill Richardson only polled fourth among respondents identifying a preference for Democratic candidates, and a majority of respondents could not identify a national Latino leader who could influence their vote.
When it came to the issues most important to them:
27 percent identified the War in Iraq, 22 percent identified immigration, and education and the economy tied for third with 18 percent each.
According to groups that work with registering young voters, this election may be unprecedented in the turnout of young people ready to cast their votes for the first time.
We saw it in Iowa. It’s predicted to be happening now in New Hampshire and like a California wildfire, it’s spreading quickly across the country.
It’s safe to say that young Latino voters are very much a part of this new “surge.”
So, it was surprising that the founder of NHI would actually say the following:
The growth of the U.S. Latino population should make it a factor in the upcoming Presidential election, but this survey reinforces my concerns that this year’s candidates are not yet connecting with Latino voters,” Nieto said. “Richardson’s showing in particular, both in this survey and in the early state primaries and caucuses, indicates that the so-called ‘Latino Sleeping Giant’ in the electorate may remain in slumber well past this coming November.”
I disagree, and if my casual conversations with some Latino young voters are any indication, the Latino Sleeping Giant will be stirring come November.
But they’re only going to get out of bed for that candidate that gives them a reason to.