New Latino Movement: engaging progressive Latinos in politics ahead of 2012 elections
There are about 50.4 million Latinos in the U.S. according to the 2010 Census and Latinos will represent approximately 10-13% of the votes in the 2012 elections.
However, there is a need for a bigger engagement of Latinos in politics in the United States, both as voters and as candidates. Only 60% of Latinos register to vote and only 31.6% of Latinos actually voted in the 2008 elections.
Photo by New Latino Movement
Latinos can include people of several races, mostly Native Americans, Whites, Blacks and mixed people of Latin American origins and their descendants. Also, the nationality of origin can be a factor of differentiation.
The New Latino Movement is a “civic engagement” movement oriented for progressives in the Latino communities in the United States. This non-profit organization was created by a group of Latino activists and organizers who want to promote a bigger participation of young and progressive Brown leaders in politics.
The New Latino Movement (NLM) is a network dedicated to helping engage, train, empower and connect young, progressive Latino community organizers.
I spoke to Sara Valenzuela an organizer and founding member of NLM, who says “as Latinos we have been absent from the minds of politicians, therefore our communities are often left out,” she added that “we need a bigger voice from the Latino perspective,” and that young Latinos need more strong role models in politics.
Sara Valenzuela is the Associate Director of Government Affairs for Earth Day Network, a Teach For America alum, former staff for Rep. Joe Baca (D-CA), and Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ).
The Latino vote in numbers
According to the U.S. Census the voting age population in 2008 was 225.5 million people and 131.2 million people voted, which represents 58.2% of the total. (See PDF file)
The voter turnout in 2008 was 31.6% for Latinos, 32.1% for Asians, 59.6% for Whites and 60.8% for Blacks. (See PDF file)
According to Latino Vote, about 9.7 million Latinos voted in the 2008 elections. In the 2010 midterm elections, 6.6 million Latinos voted making a difference in states like California, Nevada, Colorado, Arizona and Texas.
About 60% of Latinos register to vote, compared to 70% of African-Americans and 74% of Whites.
Latinos do not vote in block as most African Americans. In the 2008 elections, 67% of Latinos supported the election of president Barack Obama. In 2004, about 44% of Latinos voted for George W. Bush.
Latinos are mostly progressives who support the Democratic Party. But with many feeling disappointed with the current Obama administration, conservatives are trying to cater more Latino votes.
The Republican Party is currently trying to attract more conservative Latinos, especially after the 2010 remarkable election of “Hispanic” officials, including Marco Rubio as Florida senator, Susana Martinez as New Mexico governor and Brian Sandoval as Nevada governor
Latinos don’t vote necessarily for other Latinos, but for those who are more popular in their communities. Well, there are not enough Latino candidates out there, yet.
About 21.5 million Latino citizen adults will be eligible to vote in November 2012, according to a report of Latino Decisions, which estimates that the Latino vote will be very influential in at least 10 states “for either Senate, President, or both”. This is a list of the top 12 states with more Latinos eligible to vote, comparing with the total electoral population in 2012:
New Mexico 42.5%
New Jersey 15.5%
New York 11.2%