The Washington Post’s The Fix takes a look at a new Pew Hispanic Center survey and growth and power of Latino voters. The number of Hispanic eligible voters has increased in the last decade from 13.2 million in 2000 to 21.3 million in 2010, and will continue to be an important swing voting block.

The report, and the WP article, highlight that while the Hispanic electorate has grown, they have yet to exercise their full political muscle. This is an opportunity for both political parties, but especially for Republicans. Democrats have worked hard to capture the Hispanic electorate. Yet, while the Democrats try it all to woo Latinos, the group refuses to fully commit to Democrats, or any political party. History, and the 2010 election, has shown that Republicans have an opportunity to gain support with Hispanic voters — when the party intelligently engages and communicates their message.

The question remains, will Republicans again squander the opportunity in 2012 by listening to people who don’t understand the Hispanic community? or will they implement a real Latino outreach and messaging strategy?

Read the piece:

The Fix: Latino turnout squanders chance at being key voting bloc

By Aaron Blake and Rachel Weiner

Latinos are growing faster than any other major population group in the United States, but they still aren’t a major factor in U.S. elections. At least, yet.

A new Pew Hispanic Center survey shows that in 2010, even though 16.3 percent of the country’s population was Latino, just 7 percent of voters were.This is largely, of course, because of the large amounts of Latinos who are under 18 (35 percent, according to the survey) and who aren’t citizens (22 percent). But even among those who are eligible to vote, Latinos lag far behind.

A full 44 percent of Latinos voted Republican in the 2004 election. That figure dropped to about 30 percent in both 2006 and 2008 — two big Democratic years — before rising back to 38 percent in 2010…

The Latino population is very young, even among eligible voters. Nearly one-third of Latino eligible voters are under 30 — typically the age group that votes the least.And another 600,000 Latinos turn 18 every year, adding rapidly to the 21.3 million eligible Latino voters…”

Some numbers from the Pew Hispanic Center, (after the jump) 

Today, I will be attending the 3rd Annual iConomy Expo. The event is presented by LatinTrends Magazine, a bilingual/bicultural Hispanic magazine. The conference includes a series of panel discussions on such topics like entrepreneurship, social media, technology, effective networking, education, and politics and policy impacting the Latino community.

Learn more here: http://www.iconomyny.com/

If you are in New York and attending the conference let me know…

It’s Spring 2011 but all eyes are focused on the Fall of 2012.

Today, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour officially announced he will not run for president in 2012. According to Politico, Barbour release a statement saying: “This has been a difficult, personal decision, and I am very grateful to my family for their total support of my going forward, had that been what I decided.”

Barbour’s exit from the field is huge for other Republican hopefuls wishing to snag his mega endorsement, access to his connections and fundraising powerhouse.

The current Republican field is still crowded, with no real front-runner.

  • Herman Cain
  • Mitch Daniels
  • Newt Gingrich
  • Mike Huckabee
  • Jon Huntsman
  • Ron Paul
  • Tim Pawlenty
  • Mitt Romney
  • Rick Santorum
  • Donald Trump

As the 2012 campaign moves forward, we will be examining the candidates efforts in truly having a modern campaign and connecting with the large Latino community. It will be interesting to see how they integrate Hispanics in to their campaign structure and in their messaging…

One of my most vivid childhood memories was the ever-present baseball batting tee strategically placed in the front yard of my Miami home. My father had purposefully placed it a few steps outside the front door, in what I can only assume was his way to inspire the future MLB Hall of Famers inside of my brother and I.While neither my brother or I ever became good at the game he so loves, we did learn to love baseball…

My father is a massive baseball fan. Growing up in Mexico, his brothers and he would listen to béisbol games on the radio. They each had their favorites, but he loved cheering on his Brooklyn Dodgers. Now a Miami resident for over 30 years, he loves the Marlins just as much a he loves the Dodgers, and all things baseball… well maybe not the Yankees… (NOTE: I currently live in NYC and naturally go to Yankee games as much as I can.)

As we usher in a new baseball season, I have decided to learn more about the history of America’s national pass time, especially living in NYC which has so much baseball history. Thanks to Netflix, and a boyfriend whose love of baseball is only rivaled by my own father’s love of the game, I have started watching Ken Burn’s “Baseball.”

One thing I do know, and reinforced by the documentary, baseball equals America. As the historian Jacques Barzun once said, “Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball.”

Many Republican operatives and candidates say the Latino vote is important, but few do anything substantial to win the respect of Latinos. The standard operating procedure for the many in the GOP has been to start paying attention to Hispanics three months out from election day with occasional appearances and badly translated messages from their staffs, usually lacking anyone of Hispanic heritage.

But this is not the case for Newt Gingrich. Over the last few years the former House Speaker has made it a priority to understand, and gain respect, from the Latino community. Gingrich has hosted conference, speaks Spanish, regularly contributes Spanish OpEds on policy issues and launched a multi-media bilingual site for Hispanic called TheAmericano.com.

Politico writes about Newt Gingrich’s efforts in “Newt Gingrich’s 2012 immigration dance.” Politico writes, “Of the top Republican prospects for 2012, Gingrich leads in Latino outreach.” The piece states:

He recently attended a Texas conference on strengthening Latino and Jewish dialogue, and regularly publishes op-eds in Spanish. On a Tax Day conference call with tea party activists earlier this month, Gingrich called on Republicans to fight the “anti-Hispanic” label.

“We need to reach out to everybody who wants to work hard, everybody who wants to earn a living, everybody who believes in the classic traditional values,” he said. “And certainly that’s much of the Hispanic American community.”

Gingrich launched “The Americano,” a bilingual news website for Latino conservatives, and in December hosted a two-day forum featuring prominent Latino politicians, religious figures and business leaders. There he declared, “We are not going to deport 11 million people. There has to be some zone between deportation and amnesty.”…

…“He’s doing something very smart — he’s doing it early,” said Ana Navarro, who served as national co-chair of McCain’s Hispanic Advisory Council. “All of these guys need to understand you can’t show up and ask for the Hispanic vote three months before [the general] election. It’s got to start now.”

Lionel Sosa, who has consulted seven Republican presidential campaigns on Hispanic issues, praised Gingrich for being “upfront” on immigration.

“He is far and away the most attractive Republican candidate for Latinos,” Sosa said. “He is thoughtful. He has looked into the issue. He understands it, and he feels there is a way to solve the problem.”

Gingrich has an interesting road ahead of him, balancing his courtship of Latinos, with his courtship of extreme immigration hard-liners.

Read More: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0411/53579.html

In recent weeks, Donald Trump has rekindled the birther issue, questioning the natural-born American citizenship of President Barack Obama, as he tries to gain attention for his presidential bid.  The mainstream media has been quick to question Republicans and their position on the birther issue.

In an editorial interview with the Sun Sentinel (video) Miami Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart called the birther issue a distraction from substantive critiques of the president. He said:

“I have no reason to believe that he was not born here…It’s just not an issue. What is an issue is that he’s been a dismal president. That’s the issue. I actually think that that kind of detracts from the real issues, but you know thank God we live in a free country.”

Many Republicans and Conservatives agree with Rep. Diaz-Balart, the birther issue is a distraction from the real issues. There are a million reasons why President Obama is a lousy President, none of which have to do with his place of birth…. Let’s take for instance Obamacare, the national debt, the economy, lack of jobs, gas prices, government spending, education, high taxes, immigration, to name a few….

Donald Trump’s birther talk is his opportunity to promote himself and dominate a Republican political field that has no front runner for likely Presidential nominee. Trump has garnered millions of dollars in free media, reporters are talking about him as a real presidential contender, and some Republican voters are taking notice, unexcited by their current options.

If Trump does move forward, and the media attention turns to scrutiny, it will be interesting to see how the campaign unfolds. Congressman Diaz-Balart’s analysis:

Pictures from my Boston, MA trip… It was the weekend of the Boston Marathon and the city and its surroundings were busy, more busy than usual. On Sunday we ventured out to see the New England coast. It was sunny but windy, making the ocean waters look like something from a Stephen King novel…

Photo below taken in a small park in Marblehead, MA

Walking over the bridge to see the Boston Marathon

The diversity of one of the world’s hardest marathons…