After last week’s Republican primary elections in Wisconsin, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., the 2012 presidential primary season is reaching an inflection point, and eyes are turning toward America’s final decision on Election Day in November. While pundits and pollsters speculate on the horse race and who will capture the hearts and minds of the American people, one segment of the electorate is garnering increased attention — Hispanic Americans.
It is, to be sure, a population that continues to grow in size, voice, and importance. In the 2008 election, Hispanics turned out in force — 9.7 million Hispanics voted, and those numbers are projected to grow to 11.8 million to 12.2 million in 2012, with particular importance in presidential battlegrounds such as Colorado and Nevada, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
Last May, President Barack Obama spoke to Hispanic voters in El Paso, Texas, and delivered a highly partisan speech on immigration reform where he chastised his political opponents and their views of border security. In July, the President reached out to the Hispanic community at a gathering organized by The National Council of La Raza, where he again attempted to use the issue of immigration as a wedge issue, casting conservatives as being anti-immigration for their opposition to illegal immigration.