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Castro, Latinos Make DNC History

17 Sep, 2012

That Democrats are courting the Hispanic vote was evident at the 2012 DNC this month
Julian Castro

Keynote Speaker Julian Castro, Mayor of San Antonio, speaks at the Democratic National Convention, photo UPI

Editor’s note: We recently highlighted an article entitled Both Parties Claim the Diversity Mantle by Israel Ortega outlining the Republican position on key issues. To provide another perspective this article highlights the Democrats’ views.

Democrats and Republicans alike are courting the Hispanic vote increasingly with each passing election. Both parties brought out their Latino stars to take center stage at their conventions because they understand the issues that are central to Hispanic voters.

When Julian Castro strode onto the stage at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) earlier this month, he made history as the first Latino to deliver a keynote address at a U.S. political convention.

The young mayor of San Antonio told the story of his immigrant grandmother who had a fourth-grade education. She never owned a home but cleaned other people’s houses for a living. She saved enough to send her only daughter to college. The value of education in job creation was a central theme to his speech.

“We know that you can’t be pro-business unless you’re pro-education. We know that pre-K and student loans aren’t charity,” he said to a fired up group of delegates. “They’re a smart investment in a workforce that can fill and create the jobs of tomorrow. We’re investing in our young minds today to be competitive in the global economy tomorrow.”

His historic keynote wasn’t the only facet of the DNC that was unique. An estimated 800 Latino delegates were among the estimated 6,000 delegates who traveled to Charlotte, N.C., to endorse the Obama-Biden ticket for 2012.

Latino Issues

The Democrats are vigorously courting Latino voters this election. The Latinos for Obama and Hispanic Small Business Owners for Obama are just two of the groups formed to bring and keep Latino voters into the fold.

The Obama administration argues that the American Jobs Act will benefit more than 2 million Hispanic owned businesses. Obama relies on the Minority Business Development Agency within the Commerce Department to increase trade with growing economies of Central and South America.

Immigration issues are also top of mind among Latino voters. Here the two candidates hold differing views:

  • The Obama administration has halted deportations of young Hispanics brought to the country as children and counts on this effort to help energize Hispanic supporters.
  • Although Mitt Romney courts Hispanics, his party has endorsed Arizona’s tough immigration policies.
Hispanic Influence

Some analysts believe voter enthusiasm will play an important role. Although Hispanics registered as Democrats outnumber those registered as Republicans, voter turnout could hold the key to the election. If Latinos stay home on election day, it could heavily influence the outcome of the election.

About the author

Evelyn Hoover
Evelyn Hoover

Evelyn Hoover is an editor at Latin Business Today.

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