In 2012, Obama won 71 percent of the Hispanic vote. It was one of the main reasons he was able to stay four more years in the White House; and this is the main reason for which the potential candidates who want to win the 2016 elections are, from now on and for the first time in a presidential campaign, looking to attract the Latino vote.
It was already known that this vote was important, but normally, candidates would approach this segment of the population just before the elections.
Now, a year and a half before Barack Obama’s successor is defined, we see clear and decisive action from Republicans and Democrats to attract Hispanics, mainly in states like Nevada, Florida, New Mexico, Colorado and Virginia.
Why in these states? Because they are considered purple, i.e., they are not clearly Republican or clearly Democrat — even if Obama won them in 2012 — and, within them, the Hispanic vote may end up defining who wins the whole state in the Electoral College’s counting of votes.
Texas is a state with many Hispanics, but it is clearly Republican. New York and Illinois also have important Latino populations, but the state votes are clearly Democrat.
Thus, in the last few weeks, we have seen Hillary Clinton visiting Las Vegas to tell the Latino leaders that she will take decisive actions for their community … so much more than Obama has promised and left undone.
Meanwhile, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio have visited Nevada, each showing off their Hispanic skills: Bush, how well he speaks Spanish and Rubio, his mother’s Cuban nationality.
The most surprising thing is the billionaire Koch brothers’ initiative. They are ultraconservative Republicans and are determined to snatch the White House from the Democrats next year. To do this they have decided to invest a billion dollars, to begin with, in the Republican candidate remaining after a primary, which is looking quite intense and interesting for this party.
Even now, the Koch brothers have an initiative called Libre, dedicated to offer free services to Hispanics in those states, which demonstrates that even the most reluctant to attract and understand this segment of the electorate are having to negotiate with their very personal aversions and phobias.
The Washington Post just made known that, nationwide, every year around 800,000 Latinos turn 18 years old. This turns them into one of the most important segments of the new electorate in the country.
All this data is not surprising. The real news would be that in the 2016 election Hispanics manage to get together to turn their weight and size into an asset too important so that the Donald Trumps swarming the U.S. have to turn to look at them, not to attack and insult them, but to work toward public policies that are attractive to them and their families.