It is no secret that the current Latino population numbers approximately 50 million, and will play an important role on November 6 of this year. Bottom line, both sides will be trying to sway Latino voters to their camps, so they can win. The Democrats and Republicans have solid cards to play and each draws upon a different set of strengths, and key people located in three of the four most populous states. As a result, things will heat-up regarding efforts to attract the Latino vote from now to Election Day.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid proved in the 2010 Nevada Senatorial Election that Democrats are very capable of harnessing the power of the Latino vote. In a nutshell, it was a close election, but Latino voters gave the win to Mr. Reid. Hence, it comes to no surprise that President Obama is tapping Mr. Reid to help formulate a game plan to garner the Latino vote for November 6, 2012. While the President did well with the Latino voters in 2008, the country and his recent poll numbers depict deep dissatisfaction on a broad scale. As a result, it is not a given that he will get between 60%-70% of this important groups vote in the upcoming Presidential Election. Much work needs to be done to mollify recent anger regarding deportations and the poor economic landscape.
Not only must President Obama solidify the traditional Democratic voter base, but he should also try to formulate a defined campaign strategy to attract the ever expanding Latino vote. While Mr. Reid is an asset, President Obama must look to younger confidants to really make things happen regarding the fastest growing group in the country. However, the President has his work cut out for him because many in the Latino community are not pleased about deportation matters since he took office and his recent move to the center during the debt ceiling discussions. As a result, new blood must be brought into his re-election effort.
Enter two articulate and well respected mayors, Antonio Villaraigosa and Julian Castro. Mr. Villaraigosa is the current mayor of Los Angeles, the second largest city in America with over 4 million people. It is a vibrant city with a rich culture and solid economic base. There are factors such as poverty, pollution, and other contributors that must be viewed as negatives. These factors are not unique to Los Angeles, but the sad fact is that they are common place in most major metropolises around the globe. After all is said and done, Los Angeles is one of the world’s great cities and Mr. Villaraigosa deserves a great deal of credit regarding his leadership since becoming mayor in 2005. Mr. Castro is very well educated (Stanford & Harvard) and the current mayor of San Antonio. He was elected mayor in 2009 and has done an excellent job navigating the city through the financial crisis and helping to create a healthy economic environment.
Both Mr. Villaraigosa and Mr. Castro must be viewed as rising political stars, not only among the Latino community, but the national stage as well. They are two very smart and capable people who should do quite well in the Democratic ranks leading up to this year’s Presidential Election and beyond.
After the Florida win, it looks like Mitt Romney will be the GOP candidate coming Election Day 2012. The “Bain Thing” has been latched onto by Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, John Huntsman, Ron Paul, and Rick Santorum. In retrospect, Mitt Romney did work in the private sector, so have most people in Washington. With the compression of time, each and everyone one of these GOP candidates will say some really nasty things. This is normal for this stage of the election process, and each and every comment cannot be taken to heart. However, Mr. Romney may think twice about a challenger who makes him look bad during this critical time. Mr. Romney may look outside the GOP candidate field and choose a popular person like Senator Marco Rubio of Florida or Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey. As a result, a Romney/Christie ticket in November would seem like a solid duo, but a Romeny/Rubio ticket could have a wider appeal especially to the national Latino community.
Like it or not Mr. Rubio of Florida, Mr. Castro of Texas, and Mr. Villaraigosa of California will most likely play ever increasing and important roles leading up to Election Day. Stay tuned.