Presidential Candidates Ignore The Hispanic Vote

Ruben Diaz

April 20, 2007

During this Presidential campaign cycle, candidates from the Minority and Majority Parties seem to be ignoring the Hispanic community and the Hispanic vote.  With some very exciting primaries in place, why does it appear that the Hispanics are being ignored?  Since Barack Obama entered the democratic primary, a lot of energy from both parties has gone to reaching out to the Black vote – which is good because it shows that the Black vote can no longer be taken for granted.  What about us?

It’s time for the Hispanic leadership to follow the example set by Reverend Al Sharpton which demands for any candidate to attend Rev. Al Sharpton’s events if they expect any support from the Black community.  No serious candidate excuses him or herself from speaking before his audiences, and no Hispanic leader should allow candidates to refuse to attend events in the Hispanic community and expect to be taken seriously.

Has there been any event organized by any Hispanic leader in New York during the past few months which any presidential candidate was invited to attend and actually did?  Have Hillary Clinton, Rudy Giuliani, Barack Obama, John Edwards, or Mitt Romney or any other Presidential candidate accepted any invitation by any Hispanic leader to any special event recently?

Are they taking us for granted and expecting us to energize our base to bring out the vote and help them to get elected?  Will they continue to ignore us when it is time to help out with voter registration, review voting patterns, collect petitions, offer monetary or in-kind services to them or their parties, or seek our endorsements?

All of these elements require an informed electorate with the desire and resources to participate. In an already crowded presidential field that has started early to gather contributions and endorsements, Hispanics have been the most overlooked and the most untapped group, in New York and throughout the country.

The Hispanic vote was clearly the swing vote not only in the last presidential primary, but also when our country voted in a new Congress last year.   This presidential race will be decisive for seeing if both parties allow their failure to pay any mind to Hispanics who can contribute to a shift that has in recent history been a key determining factor to major elections. 

The ambition of political candidates to become elected can only be achieved if the candidates give voice and power to those who can help assure their election. It is supposed to be a give and take. We as Hispanics need certain issues addressed: immigration reform, better education and health care among other issues.  In exchange, we, as Hispanics can turn out in numbers to vote and contribute dollars to see that future leaders are elected who can bring about the change and reform we need.