By Charlotte Thun-Hohenstein
The 2012 presidential election featured a record turnout for the Latino voters. The 11.2 million voters comprised 8.4 percent of the vote, already a formidable proportion. More impressive is the fact that the demographic actually represented less than half of eligible voters. It’s clear that the Hispanic community is set to become one of the most coveted voting blocs in elections, and one that is only growing: the demographic accounted for more than 50 percent of the country’s population growth between 2000 and 2010.
Less clear is exactly what constitutes the Latino community. The reality is extremely multi-faceted—from country of origin to number of generations in the states. In a Pew poll last year, only 20 percent of respondents primarily identified themselves as ‘Latino’ or ‘Hispanic;’ over 50 percent sooner referred to their specific country of origin. Galvanizing the community effectively will demand a subtle understanding of these internal differences. Regarding political topics, questions on immigration perhaps understandably take center stage for many first generation arrivals from Central or South America, but other uniting issues often get sidelined. Latinos consistently demonstrate more concern than Anglo Americans in surveys about the environment, for example.
There is a lot of political power up for grabs—Latinos in Congress would be doubled if it represented the 54 million Latinos living in the United States (there are currently 28 Hispanic congressmen). The midterm elections next week are a crucial opportunity to realize this potential. Latino Victory Project was launched by actress Eva Longoria and Henry Munoz III precisely to raise this Latino political profile and empower Hispanics, from voting to running for office. This week BreakThru News spoke with Cristobal Alex, the president of the organization, about the challenges that lie ahead.
Host, Writer – Charlotte Thun-Hohenstein
Video Editor – Andy Morell
Script Supervisor – Matthew DeMello
with guest – Cristobal Alex