September 9th, 2007
11:58 AM ET
11 years ago

Battle for Latino Voters

McCain was the only GOP candidate to accept an invitation for a Republican debate on Univision.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Democratic presidential candidates face off tonight in Miami, and that could be bad news for the Republicans. The Democratic White House hopefuls are taking part in a Spanish language presidential forum at the University of Miami which is expected to focus on Hispanic and Latino issues. The forum is being sponsored and will air on Univision, the largest Spanish language television network in the U.S.

A similar forum with the GOP Presidential candidates was supposed to take place next Sunday night. But only one of the Republican candidates, Senator John McCain of Arizona, accepted the invitation. That forum has been cancelled, although Univision hopes it can reschedule with the Republican candidates.

Most of the GOP Presidential hopefuls also skipped two other major Hispanic and Latino conferences, The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials and the National Council of La Raza. Most of the Democratic White House hopefuls showed up at those two events.

Hispanics are one of the nation’s largest minority and the fastest growing minority as well. And they play a larger and larger role in American politics with each election.

President Bush made major gains with such voters from his first election in 2000 to his re-election in 2004. But those gains were erased in last year’s midterms. The reason appears to be the Republican Party’s image as anti-immigration.

“According to the exit polls, immigration was more important to Latino voters in 2006 than to voters of any other race, and 70% of the Latinos who cared about immigration voted Democratic. If both of those trends hold up in 2008, that could be very bad news for the Republicans,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

A bill that would have given some illegal immigrants here in the United States a pathway to citizenship went down in flames earlier this summer. All four Democratic senators running for President voted for the bill. Other Democratic White House candidates, such as New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who’s hoping to become the nation’s first Latino President, opposed the bill because it would have divided families trying to come to the U.S.

But other than McCain, just about all of the GOP Presidential contenders were dead set against the immigration reform plan. And while that’s music to conservatives, it could hurt Republican chances of keeping control of the White House.

- CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser

soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Mike, Milwaukee WI

    Lets see how many race the GOP can alienate when this is all over. They haven't had blacks in their corner for 50 the latino's are gone....they are on a roll. And in a key state like Florida....for each of them to decline that forum was suicide for the GOP

    September 9, 2007 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  2. pl. at the UN for a while.

    What is the difference between 'hispanic' and 'latino'? Can someone answer, please?

    September 9, 2007 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  3. Adam J. Segal, Hispanic Voter Project at JHU, Washington, DC

    This is good analysis. The GOP is at risk of the perception it is turning a cold sholder to the Hispanic vote. No doubt they know the '06 and '07 debate on immigration has wounded their chances. But no smart GOP stategist would want to return to the numbers presidential candidate and former Senator Bob Dole polled among Hispanics not so long ago (though of course he was running against a popular incumbent Dem. president). Also, don't forget the Univision forums are also intended to remind the candidates of the value of Spanish-language political TV advertising and to flex the muscles of the largest Spanish-language TV network in the nation.

    September 9, 2007 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  4. Nvearez/ Dorado, Puerto Rico

    There is nothing really I can say here since I reside in Puerto Rico, but I know for a fact that whom ever participates in this Debate will obviously state that they will find a resolution to the Immagration Dilema. There is no Resolution to the I.D... With all the problems that are going on in this world, one should think logically. I say this Debate is a waste of time due to the fact that the Latino population has lost all there trust in the Republicans who lied to them. Latino's want to SEE action, not HEAR ideas.

    September 9, 2007 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  5. Dan, Minneapolis, MN

    'Hispanics are the nation’s largest minority and the fastest growing minority...' Could the reason for this be that there is little or no border control? Duh!

    September 9, 2007 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  6. Rex in Toledo, Oregon

    Interesting how the corporate media is avoiding the truly popular candidate... Ron Paul.
    Because he consistently represents the people... and abides by and promotes the rule of law provided in our U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.
    What a shame that our media has been overtaken by those who want to subvert all that America stands for!

    September 9, 2007 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  7. Bill, Norfolk Virginia

    It's good to know the GOP doesn't pander and advocate breaking the laws of the united states and ignoring the sovereignity of our country just to win votes.

    O well, if the dems get by with ignoring the border and embarrassingly pandering to everyone under the sun, then good on them. Of course, that's what you get when your party stands for nothing.

    September 9, 2007 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  8. Bill W, Coatesville, PA

    Little to no border patrol. Yes. And McCain is partly responsible for that. As senator of Arizona, one of the states that is hardest hit by illegal immigration. Go figure.

    And we should vote for this man for president? Bush 2.0

    September 9, 2007 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  9. Benjamin, Miami FL

    I don't believe the Republican Party should have a chance to a debate in Univision. We can obviously see how they feel about us Hispanics, just leave them alone eventually they will realize we are important asset to their election when it's to late.

    September 9, 2007 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  10. Louis Gray, Bartlesville, OK

    The Republicans are representing fewer and fewer people. They will suffer losses similar to post Watergate elections. The Democrats would do well to not forget the past mistakes and become prudent caretakers of power and influence.
    The debate may well become a spike for Gov. Bill Richardson. Too bad Clinton, Obama and Edwards didn't go to meet with Native Americans at Prez on the Rez. Shame on them.

    September 9, 2007 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  11. timbuck, houston, tx

    As the party of hate and bigotry, bush's party owes people with brown skin a whole lot, and not just talk and donuts, and thank you for sending your sons and daughters to die in bush's alleged war.

    September 9, 2007 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  12. dilmont

    Horrible mistake for Republicans to refuse to answer the questions of latino voters. Of course, they are going to take a lot of heat and be extremely uncomfortable at the forum after all their gleeful bigotry. But now they are also cowards. A candidate who will face the music when they know it will be uncomforatble as all hell but is the right thing to do, is a candidate worth considering. And there is always a small chance they could make a few people see their side. But all we can see now is cowardice. Would you vote for someone who is afraid to face US's own citizens? How can we then have confidence in them when they have to face some of the most evil dictators and rulers in the world with courage and conviction? It's simple. You can't.

    September 9, 2007 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  13. William Courtland, Waterford, Ontario

    The divides of bigotry found between language and governed nationality.

    These divides are similar to the hues of the skin, superficial but existing as a label to allow a difference for setting and perceiving values and beliefs.

    I live in Canada, Some Live in the United States: we often speak English as a first language while the Dictionary title states we speak ‘Webster’s’; those who would speak Russian, who hold a Russian Language dictionary first, and come from Russian Descent would acceptably choose to be a Russian first before they admit to the basic underlying routes of the common principles of humanity. This is a stigma true of many European nations.

    The terms governing science are to be used in political campaigning. Sapient beings capable of a humane existence; these labels we grant these sub-collections these grouping found and set outside of medical science only create a division preventing equality and humanity.

    September 9, 2007 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  14. Steve, Corinth, Texas

    No wonder everyone is so angry at the GOP. The media and the democrats, conviently forget to add the word "ILLEGAL" to anti-immigration, every time this subject comes up. Makes it all sound like the GOP, doesn't want one more hispanic person to come into this country.
    The fact that hispanics are the highest percentage of the illegal immigrants at this time, is just a current fact, not hatred. It really doesn't matter where a person comes from, they need to follow our laws when they come to this country. These laws have been obeyed by almost every other ethnic group and some hispanics, by the way, for over 200 years. Most people I know, love the cultural diversity our brothers bring from south of the border. We just want them to bring it legally. Our social service systems are also overloaded as a result of the surge of a poor population. How much higher should our children's taxes go up to pay for everything? Just like every other subject debated in the current political climate, it's just partisan BS to win the vote.

    September 9, 2007 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  15. Pambo

    Wow, the Republican's prescription drug plan doesn't seem to be working out to well for Mr Courtland.

    September 9, 2007 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  16. Evan Esteves, Boca Raton, FL

    Dan you may want to brush up on your understanding of the word Hispanic...I myself am Hispanic (Puerto Rican, I doubt that you can even point to Puerto Rico on a map however) and did not come here illegally buddy...Get a clue.

    September 9, 2007 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  17. Brad, CA

    Republicans haven't had blacks in their corner, they have pretty well lost Latinos. Now maybe they can lose whites. What's left? Hmmm, maybe the republicans could court the growing Islamic voting block?

    September 9, 2007 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  18. Tom Dedham, Mass

    President Bush made major gains with such voters from his first election in 2000 to his re-election in 2004. But those gains were erased in last year’s midterms. The reason appears to be the Republican Party’s image as ANTI-IMMIGRANT.

    Good job CNN, more distortions by the liberal media, the Republicans and many others of both partiest of this country are not anti-immigration as you spew as truth, we are anti-ILLEGAL immigration or even better, pro-legal immigration.

    We need to make it easier and faster for the legal immigrants of all races to become citizens, that is hateful or bigoted thought??????

    September 9, 2007 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  19. Andrew, Jakarta, Indonesia

    What happened to the "pledge" not to campaign in Florida?

    September 9, 2007 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  20. Bill W, Coatesville, PA

    Tom Dedham: The problem is and has been that most of the illegals here DO NOT WANT to be citizens, and DO NOT WANT to be integrated into our society. They want us to cater to them, and that's why you have to press 1 on your phone or ATM to speak in English, 2 in Spanish, etc.

    That is what I resent. If I were in your country, I'd have to learn your language. If you are in my country, I expect you to speak mine. Go ahead and try to move to China and refuse to speak Chinese – see what happens. They will put you in prison as a vagrant, and you'll never be heard from again. Only the US caters to people who come here illegally, steal our jobs under the table, use our public services, and pay no taxes. NO OTHER COUNTRY IN THE WORLD WOULD PUT UP WITH THIS. But we are expected to.

    September 9, 2007 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  21. Bill W, Coatesville, PA

    ...And we;re not talking about a few hundred or even a few thousand people. An estimated 2,500 people cross the border ILLEGALLY from Mexico EVERY DAY. You do the math...

    September 9, 2007 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  22. Bill W, Coatesville, PA

    ...Also, do a google search for ATZLAN and read about it. There are a huge number of people, mostly Hispanic, and from Mexico, who BELIEVE they OWN the US, and are trying to take it back with sheer numbers. And 2,500 a day for over decade is one hell of a start.

    Its scary stuff. And we're LETTING it happen.

    September 9, 2007 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  23. Gabriel Cleveland, Ohio

    Bill W in Coatesville, PA,

    Let me respond to your posts in English, a language that I am able to write and speak fluently despite being handicapped by my Latino heritage. I wonder how many illegal Mexican immigrants you run into on a daily basis, especially considering that Pennsylvania is so close to the Mexican border. Do you know for a fact that they do not want to "integrate" into our society? That word integrate is a funny one. How do you integrate into the American Society, a society that is supposedly made up of a mixture of many different cultures... I am sure you have heard of the Melting Pot. Please tell me there's more to American Society than speaking English.

    As for pressing "1" on phones and ATMs,you're not the first I have heard to complain about that. Who knew that button pressing was so bothersome. Does it really irk you that much? I really want to understand why it is so upsetting. Especially given the fact that English is not the official language of the United States. If you would kindly brush up on your recent U.S. history, you would know that that bill is still in reform. You would also know that the Spanish language is the second-most common language in the country, spoken by almost 30 million people, and that is straight from the U.S. Census.

    What are you suggesting with your comment about China? Do you wish us to be more like China? It's not a country big on human rights so I'm glad we don't throw people in prison for simply not speaking English. I don't wish to live in such a country. If people who do not speak English anger you so much, maybe you should not hold a conversation with them. I very much doubt that they would want to speak to someone like you.

    As far as America being taken away from us, I couldn't help but chuckle at that comment. It is funny how xenophobic this country is. The belief our land will be stolen from us is amusing considering this country is founded on stolen land. It may sound un-American, but fact is fact, this land was snatched from others with no apologies, based solely on the belief that those with pale skin were more fit to own it. Hey, Bill, what Native American tribe do you descend from, by the way?

    September 10, 2007 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  24. Sandeep M

    Democratic party is a party of popularism and not principal. In targeting the Hispanics they are losing sight of the other majority Whites and non hispanic legal immigrants which resent the need for learning Spanish in schools and catering to hispanics in Spanish and not English. What a waste of time and resources! Instead this time can be better spent in encouraging this low class hispanics to learn English so they can better integrate with main stream America.

    Been a legal immigrant and having visited many countries, I fully agree with Bill W, NO OTHER COUNTRY IN THE WORLD WOULD PUT UP WITH THIS. But we are expected to in America because of shameful liberal media and politicians.

    September 10, 2007 02:07 am at 2:07 am |
  25. Mary, Beaver, PA

    The people in the this country do not have to be Republicans to resent the illegal immigrants in this country. Try getting into the US legally and you'll see what a hassle our government makes it. Our country, like every other country in this world, has a RIGHT to defend its borders and a RIGHT to make policies governing the entrance of people into its borders. If you are illegal, get out. If you are a legislator using your office to smooth the path for this law-breakers, you need to be THROWN OUT!

    September 10, 2007 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
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