Welcome to Hispanic Business LiveChat. We would like to welcome our guest speaker, Marcelo Gaete, who is joining us from the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO).
Eloy from Shawnee, OK
How do you the think the general and global public will react to the President's appointments of two minorites on his cabinet? Do you think these appointments are more than just "token" in attracting the minority vote or is their a true effort in achieving a more diverse cabinet?
The President's nomination of Al Gonzales is significant in that it would be the first time a Latino serves in one of the most influential and impactful cabinet positions. Judge Gonzales and President Bush have a long history of working together dating back to his governorship in Texas, where he worked with Governor Bush and was appointed to the Texas Supreme Court.
Notwithstanding his longstanding relationship with President Bush, Judge Gonzales has a proven resume that demonstrates his experience and intellect to be U.S. Attorney General. He has served as a Texas Supreme Court Judge , during the first Bush Administration served as General Counsel to the President. NALEO and several other Latino organizations acknowledge President Bush's recognition of Judge Gonzales' leadership.
Anna Cox (Valdez) from Fenneville, MI
It's been reported that the Hispanic vote was the largest in years. Do you see that trend continuing?
In 1992, 4.2 million Latinos voted,. In 1996,4.9 million Latinos voted. In 2000,5.9 million Latinos voted. After the dust settles from the 2004 election, we expect to have a record number of Latinos having voted with a conservative estimate of over 7 million Latino voters. As the numbers demonstrate, Latinos are the fastest growing and most dynamic electorate in our nation. Given this trend and the dispersion of the Latino electorate across the country, outside the traditional southwestern states, increased participation by Latinos is changing the political geography at the local and national level. This means that every election, from school board to U.S. President, has a formula needed to reach the 50% plus one votes needed to win. Because of our increase, we are changing the calculus needed to win.
We can clearly see the impact of the increase in Latino electoral participation as reflected by the number of Latino elected officials. In 1996, there were 3,781 Latino elected officials. As of January 2004, there were 4,853 Latino elected officials. This represents a 28% increase.
Denise from New York, NY
45 percent of the Hispanic vote went to President Bush this time around. Is this indicative of a shift in the traditionally democratic Hispanic voter base, or has the Hispanic vote always been split?
The dust has not settled on the 2004 Exit Polls. The range of Latino support for President Bush ranges from 37% to 45% depending on the source. In analyzing these numbers we must keep in mind that every exit poll uses distinct sampling methods. We know that Latino partisanship runs shallow. Denise, Latinos in NY which are over 70% Democrat in registration have supported a Republican for Mayor and Governor. More recently, in California Special Recall Election we saw that over 40% of the Latino electorate voted for a Republican candidate even with a Latino Democrat on the ballot. Our community has demonstrated a commited investment in issues important to them. We will vote beyond party, beyond ethnicity, and ultimately the candidates must invest in engaging our community...your ignore our vote at your peril.
Jose from Los Angeles, CA
I've always believed that the Hispanic ideology was more in mesh with that of the Republican party. This was obviously proven in the past recent election. The democratic party lost some 3.5 million votes from 2000, if estimates are correct. Hispanics are very self-sufficient, morally conservative, and a good portion of Hispanics are leery of government -- all conservative values. Why do you think it took Republicans so long to target the Hispanic vote?
Our community has demonstrated time and time again that we will not be pigeon holed as simply democrats or republicans. We know that issues espoused by both the Republicans and the Democrats will resonate with our communities own values and issues. Ultimately our community is going to help change politics in this country by bringing our values, our culture, our hard work, our tax dollars to the country.
Elias from Las Vegas, NV
Were there any standout grass roots efforts to rally Hispanic voters? Where were they centered and what results did they have? Thanks.
NALEO joined with Univision to reach 98% of Latino households in the U.S. through a multi-faceted voter engagement effort that included listening to the community through voter forums held across the country, provided information, and motivated Latinos to vote, and serviced over 13,000 Latinos with voter information questions through our Ve Y Vota hotline. In addition, we made over 80,000 live phone calls to Latino registered voters encouraging them to vote on Election Day. We also mailed motivational pieces to over one quarter of a million Latino households. Elias, we can always use your support to help expand our work.
Ed from Los Angeles, CA
Do you think the splitting of the Hispanic vote will effect its significance? Or will it be seen as pretty much up for grabs, making it more important? Thank you.
Our community has demonstrated that if you sow, so shall you reap. We know that our community is hungry for information and desires to be in integral part of the political process. Candidates and campaigns need to do more than put on TV commercials in truly engaging Latinos and understand the needs and aspirations of our community.
John from Washington, DC
What would you say were the top three issues for Hispanics in this election?
Through our national voter town hall meetings done in conjunction with Univision, we learned that Latinos expressed a growing concern over the war in Iraq, Education, and the economy. Latinos did not see issues in a hierarchy, but rather more as an inter-related set of issues that have a direct and indirect impact on our families and our communities. For example, education is not just about classrooms of books, it is seen as a bridge for progress to attain better jobs. Better jobs usually mean better access to healthcare and so on.
Frankie from Miami, FL
Do you think the election result in Florida was legitimate this time round?
Through our Voter information and protection hotline, we learned that our attention should be focused on making sure that voters have the necessary information to effectively participate in the electoral process. For example, 90
% of the questions we received on our hotline were about how and where to register to vote, am I registered, and where do I vote. This means we need to engage Election Officials in improving the services and information they provide to voters. In many counties voters never obtained basic information, had difficulty obtaining it when they looked for it, or simply could not get it. Despite all of these obstacles, we saw a tremendous response from our community through record high voter turnout.
Carmen from Snellville, GA
I was a volunteer calling first time Hispanic voters on this past election. What other efforts are in plan to continue educating Latinos about the voting process?
Carmen, it is efforts like yours that continues to expand our numbers. We know that the biggest growth of Latinos has been in the South. The work that folks like yourself are doing is laying the groundwork for continued growth and influence in this region of the country. NALEO and the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials (GALEO) will continue to increase the participation of Latinos in American Democracy.
Rafael from San Diego, CA
Why is it that most Latino political organizations blindly support and follow the Democratic Party, when the majority of the Latino familial core values and principals align more closely with that of the Republican Party? Also, I fear that if we as a major voting block continue to blindly support the Democrats, our concerns and issues we'll become as insignificant as the black vote is today, in the sense that neither party will actively listen to nor pursue our position, since the outcome of our support is already a given (we vote Democrat), and thus our vote taken for granted as the black vote is today.
I had the opportunity to visit with Latinos at both the Democratic and Republican Conventions this summer. Let me assure that our community was very well represented at both conventions. Our community has demonstrated again in this election that it is diverse and can not be pigeonholed.
John from Dulles, VA
How long will it be before we see a Hispanic President in the Whitehouse?
We can dream that the first LATINA President is attending grammar school. The truth is that it is going to take much work by both political parties, our leadership, and our community to make sure that the road is paved for the possibility for electing a Latino to the White House.
Thank you to Marcelo Gaete, Senior Programs Director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials.
This concludes our LiveChat, but for more information on NALEO, or other Hispanic voting issues, visit the Politics channel on HispanicBusiness.com.