‘Sleeping giant’ Latino vote yet to awaken

Newson June 3rd, 2012Comments Off
By Dave Schechter, CNN Senior National Editor
updated 10:09 AM EDT, Thu May 31, 2012
Washington (CNN) — The first Latino president of the United States already has been born.

Henry Cisneros, the former San Antonio mayor who was secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development in the Clinton administration, made the suggestion three years ago in an interview with the Spanish-language news service EFE.

“I don’t know if he or she’s in elementary school or in law school or is already elected … to public office, but I believe that that person is already alive, and we’re 20 years or less away from having a Latino or Latina president,” said Cisneros, whose own path to higher office may have been derailed by personal scandal and who today is executive chairman of CityView, an urban development investment firm.

When the day comes that Cisneros predicted, the man or woman behind the resolute desk in the Oval Office will represent an ever-increasing segment of the population. Latinos (or Hispanics, the official government term) made up 15.5% of the U.S. population in 2010, but by 2050 they’re projected to approach 25% of the population.

The American, the online magazine of the American Enterprise Institute, calls the Hispanic electorate a “sleeping giant” yet to wake.

Latino vote may decide 2012 election Fight for the Latino vote in 2012 Latinos divided on same-sex marriage issue Rubio on winning Florida’s Hispanic voters

Whether or not Latinos’ percentage in the electorate has kept pace with their growth in the population — and the data indicates that at present it has not — it may one day be enough to sway elections from the statehouse to the White House and stops in between.

Not one ‘Latino vote’
Conventional wisdom lumps together “the Latino vote.” But that community includes millions of people claiming dozens of countries of origin, speaking more than just Spanish. It is not now — nor in the future — likely to be anything so homogenous.

Juan Guillermo Tornoe, owner of Hispanic Trending Inc., a marketing and advertising firm in Austin, Texas, and author of the Hispanic Trending blog, is “counting the days” until he is eligible to become a U.S. citizen in a couple of years and vote in a presidential election.

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