Saturday, May 25, 2024

Are Latinos Changing the Face of the "Real America"?

It is the question that undoubtedly came to mind to many Latinos last week as Republican Vice Presidential Nominee, Sarah Palin explained how excited she was to visit the “real America.” At a fundraiser in North Carolina she declared that she loved to visit the “pro-America” areas of the country. She added, “We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America.”

These statements lead to the question of what is the “real America” ? Are Latinos who are in no way a heterogenous group, a part of the GOP’s “Real America.”? Upon further consideration it seems that for Latinos that question has alredy been answered…

The real america has arrived and it consists of changing electorate that includes a growing Latino population that is substantially younger than the rest of country so our influence will only continue to grow. However some may resist this change and claim that Latinos indeed have no influence elections such as Rodolfo de la Garza, a political science professor at Columbia University and vice president-research with the Los Angeles-based Tomas Rivera Policy Institute who recently said that in article titled the Myth of the Latino Vote ,that “(The Latino vote) is completely irrelevant. According to him”The myth was created by Latino leaders who wanted to convince politicians nationally about how important Latinos were.”

The reality is that the growing influence of Latinos has never been more apparent than during this election cycle. Proof is that both presidential campaings have spend an impressive amount of money in advertising on Latino networks, such as Univision. The changing electorate also tells a compelling story. According to a recent report by the Immigration Policy Center,

New Americans, the fastest-growing voting bloc, are naturalized immigrants, mostly Hispanic, and the U.S.-born children of immigrants since 1965. While the national voter registration rate rose 11.3 percent from 1996 to 2004, the new American sign-up rate jumped almost 60 percent, according to Paral. And they vote, too. In 2006, more than 7.3 million new Americans — two-thirds of those registered — cast ballots.

This includes many Latinos who have become engaged in the political process and with the help of organizations such as NALEO (National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials) have registered to vote and are ready to exercise their right to vote next Tuesday.

“America, the nation of immigrants, “is alive and well,” said Angela Kelley, director of the Immigration Policy Center. “They are naturalizing in record numbers, they swear allegiance to the United States, are registering to vote and are expected to turn out in an unprecedented force.”

The changing face of the “Real America” is undeniable and so is the growing influence of the Latino vote. The “Real America” is also a land of constant change. Latinos have gained more power in determining the outcome of elections. Now it is up to us to use that power to demonstrate once and for all that Latinos are here to stay.