Without a doubt this election season is the most exciting that we can remember! Record numbers of voters are turning out for the caucus and primaries. It was reported in the South Carolina primary that Barack Obama alone got more votes (295,091) than total number of votes cast in the previous Presidential primary (293,843 votes cast in 2004). At the same time Hillary Clinton has been the steadfast frontrunner and emboldened woman voters across the country and weather or not you hater her or love her, she is showing that she could very well be the Presidential candidate for the Democratic Party. These two candidates have excited the electorate as never before!
Obama has provided a new voice that offers inspiration, opportunity, and charisma which has drawn the comparison between him and President John F. Kennedy. His speeches have excited the crowds and given the youth a reason to become involved. Obama’s oratory skills have been compared to Dr. Martin Luther King and have given hope to the Black community and to minorities in general. His rally call has been ‘yes we can,’ or in Spanish ‘si se puede!’
Hillary Rodham Clinton on the other hand has something that Barack Obama doesn’t have and that is decades of experience, working knowledge, and a formidable political machine behind her. Clinton has, over the years, developed networks of support that cannot be taken for granted.
For Clinton the success of her campaign depends on the Hispanic vote. The fact that this vote is so vital is great news for the Hispanic community. The growth and significance of this vote has become a major topic of discussion during this process. Towards this end Hillary Clinton has been diligent and developed her support. This support spills over from the Presidential days of Bill Clinton when he was extremely popular with the Hispanic voters receiving over 70% of their vote. Bill Clinton appointed two Hispanic Cabinet members, Henry Cisneros and Federico Peña, plus Bill Richardson as the US representative at the United Nations and Aida Alvarez as director of the Small Business Administration.
This is not to say that Hillary Clinton has not done her homework. Early on she secured the endorsements of L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Henry Cisneros, Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez, Raul Yzaguirre of NAELO, and Dolores Huerta of UFW. On top of this Patti Solis Doyle is Clinton’s campaign manager and the first Latina to run a presidential campaign. So clearly Hillary Clinton has prepared well for Super Tuesday when the Hispanic vote will have a say during this Presidential primary.
For the Hispanic community the important thing is to vote, to make your voices heard. The impact of the Hispanic vote is reaching new heights. You see it every night on television, hear it on radio, and read about it in print, the key vote in this race will be the Hispanic vote. When was the last time in San Diego you saw a Presidential candidate at the home of a Hispanic, at the Bonita home of former Southwestern College President Norma Hernandez? The attention being paid to the Hispanic voter has clearly excited this community.
As the Hispanic vote continues to grow in importance politicians will no longer take this vote for granted and this will have an impact in the future when the subject of education, health care, or of the other important issue to the Hispanic community that have taken a back seat to immigration. We see this impact today. Immigration is no longer the number one topic and has not proven itself to be the driving issue with the Republican voter.
The only thing that can derail the gains being made by the Hispanic community during these early primary elections is if the Hispanic voter stays home and does not vote.
Obama or Clinton are both good choices, but the really important vote in this election is the HISPANIC VOTE. Vote and make your voice heard, through the vote we change our realities.