Last Monday I attended an Advertising Week panel hosted by Univision titled “Will Latinos Elect Our Next President?” The panel included Mark Mellman – President and CEO of Mellman Group, Lionel Sosa – Political Consultant, Founder, and CEO of Garcia LKS, Chiqui Cartagena – author of ¡Latino Boom! and Univision’s V.P. of Corporate Marketing, and Ben Smith – Journalist and Blogger for Politico. The moderator for this panel was Jordan Fabian, political editor for Univision. The discussion focused on the question, “What must presidential candidates do to win the Latino vote?” Here is my take on what was discussed.
In 2011, the U.S. Hispanic population reached 50 million. This means 1 out of every 6 Americans is Hispanic. With the U.S. Hispanic population reaching a new milestone we ask ourselves, “Can Latinos have the deciding vote in the presidential election?” Although Latinos heavily voted for the Democratic party in 2008, they have shown to be swing voters. This gives all parties an opportunity to win the Latino audience. But how can they do so? For starters, U.S. Hispanics do not solely care about immigration. In fact, it’s not even one of the top 5 issues identified by Latinos as being important to them in a presidential election. The topics of interest for Latinos correlate with the rest of the United States. They want to hear about general affairs. They are concerned about education, cost of living, jobs and unemployment, healthcare, crime, the economy, taxes, and so on. If America’s candidates use the right mediums and focus on issues which truly interest their Latino audience, it is possible that Latinos will be the deciding factor for the next President of the United States.
So Latinos, make sure to vote in the next presidential election. Your vote does count.