September 9th, 2007
11:58 AM ET
15 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. Dan, Minneapolis, MN

    See below:
    Main Entry: His·pan·ic
    : of, relating to, or being a person of Latin American descent living in the United States; especially : one of Cuban, Mexican, or Puerto Rican origin
    So my question to you, Evan, is what is your point of debate?
    And, oh-by the way, did I mention that I am of mexican descent?

    September 10, 2007 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  2. J.E. Cape Coral, FL

    Thank you Gabriel fron Cleveland!!!

    Do these racist xenophobes think that ppl are going to stop migrating b/c it's 2007?? They are not terrorists, nor are they trying to "take back" the U.S. We took it from the Red people...maybe what goes around comes around??? The days of this country being run by racist old white farts are numbered. We need to go back to remembering what ideals this country was founded upon. As long as we do that, we will continue to prosper no matter the original nationalities of our citizens. The only constant is change...get over it. They should do so legally, but the govt. should make it a little easier for them to become citizens provided they don't have a criminal background. C'mon Bill, learn a little Spanish, it won't kill ya.

    October 17, 2007 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
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