Pressing Issues or Distinct Values

Pressing Issues or Distinct Values - Pressing Issues or...

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Pressing Issues or Distinct Values: How the Latino Vote was Won in the 2004 Presidential Election United States Naval Academy Pressing Issues or Distinct Values 1
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Pressing Issues or Distinct Values: How the Latino Vote was Won in the 2004 Presidential Election California has become increasingly dominated by the Latino population and their way of life; this phenomenon—known as “Mexifornia”—is more real than it even has been. With those of Latino descent reproducing at an alarming rate and increasing immigration comes tremendous population growth. Out of the children born in California in 2003, the majority of them were Latino for the first time since 1850. Also, the state is projected to have a population that consists of 48% Latinos and only 31% White people by 2040. (Economist, 2004) This means that the ever-increasing Latino voting bloc will continue to play a substantial role in elections for years to come. For decades, the democratic party held a vice grip on the Hispanic population, but something changed dramatically in the election of 2004. Many contribute President Bush’s victory in a large way to his success in winning over 44% of the Latino vote; as recently as July, the President’s campaign managers dreamed of winning 40% of the vote. (Economist, 2004) This change in voting preferences is uncanny. Some argue that the reason the President made gains in the Hispanic vote was due to the fact that Latinos supported President Bush’s education and economic platforms. After all, Latinos ranked education and the economy as the two issues that they cared the most about in the 2004 election. (Economist, 2004) But this was not why the largest percentage of Latinos voted republican in over forty years; the Hispanic vote was won on moral issues, such as abortion, gay rights, and the way the President was able to connect to his constituency. The Latin American vote was more important than ever in the 2004 election. In April of 2004, 40% of Latin Americans still remained undecided. Combined with the fact that the number of voting Latinos increased 14% in the last election, politicians valued the Latino vote Pressing Issues or Distinct Values 2
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http://www.cis.org/articles/2004/back1004.html highly, especially in battleground states. (Tilove, 2004) In a close election, it was clear that the Latino vote could determine the outcome. The problem would be trying to figure out what issues the Latinos could relate to and would care about. F. Chris Garcia, a political science professor at the University of New Mexico, told the New York Times, "We are up for grabs. That is a good thing for Hispanics; we're going to be more influential in the future and a bigger target for both campaigns." (Limbacher, 2004) Hispanic issues are similar to the rest of America’s interests; polls taken in July confirmed that the top Hispanic issues were education, economy/jobs, and healthcare.
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