November 8, 2004


Hispanic Voters Declare Their Independence (KIRK JOHNSON, 11/09/04, NY Times)

Few experts say they believe Mr. Bush has achieved a seismic shift of the sort that Ronald Reagan brought about in the early 1980's in winning over blue-collar white voters. A clear majority of Hispanics, after all, still voted for Mr. Kerry.

What is unquestionably clear, those experts say, is that like the great Latino wave in pop culture, which is more and more influencing the American mainstream in areas like music, food and fashion, this election has taken Hispanic voters a giant leap away from being thought of as separate and different. A reliable Democrat no longer, taken for granted no longer - and more electable than ever in their own right, with the first two Hispanic United States senators in 30 years poised to take office, from Colorado and Florida - a new swing voter may have emerged.

"The bottom line to me is that with this result, it's no longer sensible to think of Hispanic voters on a national basis as a core constituency of the Democratic Party," said Roberto Suro, the director of the Pew Hispanic Center, a nonpartisan research organization based in Washington.

"We are up for grabs," said F. Chris Garcia, a professor of political science at the University of New Mexico. "That is a good thing for Hispanics - we're going to be more influential in the future and a bigger target for both campaigns."

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 8, 2004 8:47 PM

Despite the efforts of Democratic Party and La Raza activists, Hispanics are integrating rapidly into the American mainstream. All the important indicators like intermarriage rates and conversion to evangelical Protestantism are showing this. It is only natural that these people are starting to spread their vote between the parties.

Sure, they vote more Democrat than the nation, but if the Democrats continue to ignore the concerns of working-class Americans on economic matters every bit as much as they claim Republicans do, while opposing and even scoffing at their moral traditions, this can change. After all, some of the poorest people in America, the farmers of Appalachia, vote overwhelmingly Republican.

Posted by: Bart at November 9, 2004 6:35 AM

The Hispanic support for Bush in both his elections as governor and president mirror each other, in that when he was a relative unknown in 1994 and 2000, his vote totals among that group were fairly low, because they were listening to what some of their advocacy groups, which trend Democratic, were saying about him. When Bush ran for re-election and had a record they knew about, his totals were much higher.

The key for Repubclians in 2008 will be to retain those voters without having to have their candidate in office for four years before Hispanics are willing to trust them.

Posted by: John at November 9, 2004 8:47 AM

Neither of the two new Hispanic senators are Raza Boys.

The Floridian is Cubano and the Coloradan is Old Hispano (Spanish colonial descendant).

Posted by: Ken at November 9, 2004 1:35 PM
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