Latino Perspectives On The 2012 Elections

Pedro Afan at the U.S.-Mexico border.
By Nick Blumberg
April 02, 2012

PHOENIX -- As we follow the 2012 elections this year, we wanted to reach out to you to get your feedback on how the candidates are connecting with voters. We were particularly interested in how campaigns address Latino communities.

Pedro Afan is a teacher living in San Diego. Afan said politicians make too many assumptions about Latinos, and that both major parties have a long way to go.

“They tend to think that all the Latinos in the U.S. are Mexican-Americans, or if you go to Florida, they tend to think that all the Latinos in the U.S. are Cubans.

I know that it’s hard for both parties to reach to the Latinos, and especially because Latinos are a diverse group. There are Latinos that are more conservative. There are Latinos that are more progressive. There are second-generation Latinos. There are Latinos that have been living in the U.S. for hundreds of years.

It’s a really complicated issue. Both parties, I think, are not very clear about what they want to do with the Latino vote. I think that both parties know that it’s important for them, but I think that they are still working."

Mistakes Campaigns Make Courting The Latino Vote

Read more about Latinos & the 2012 elections, including “taco politics” and missteps in Spanish.

George Diaz
George Diaz works in public affairs in Phoenix.

George Diaz works in public affairs in Phoenix. He's followed elections closely for years. Diaz told us about the failures he's seen, and explained what he sees as priorities for many Hispanics.

“The failures that I’ve seen have been where [candidates] assume that immigration is the only priority of the Latino community in the way of policies, whether that be at the federal or state level, and it’s absolutely false. While it is in the mix of priorities, it is certainly not the only one.

I would submit to you that education, economic development or jobs, and public safety and/or protecting the vulnerable are the three priorities of the Latino community. I would ask for you to show me where the difference is between those three priorities of the Latino community and the priorities of the general population.

As far as the mistakes go? Believing that you have to communicate only in Spanish to Latino voters. Believing that you can communicate by mail, or by robocall. People like to ask questions. They want to be able to see the face of the campaign.

I fully expect that this election will demonstrate the influence of Latino voters, not just in Arizona, but throughout the nation. And to ignore them is going to pay consequences later for those candidates.”

We found George and Pedro through the Public Insight Network. To learn more about that project, click here.

We'd also like you to share your thoughts on this year's elections, the way candidates are campaigning, and the influence that Latino communities can have. As we continue to cover the 2012 races, we want you to be part of the conversation. Post your thoughts in the comments section below. Let's start talking.