Obama and McCain Address NALEO

Tomorrow in Washington, DC, U.S. Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain will address the 25th Annual National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Conference. Their presence at the conference alone verifies that the Latino community is truly an emerging power in American politics, both in terms of size and impact. But be mindful of the tone and tenor of each candidate's speeches considering these facts from our recent report, Hispanics Rising II:

  • At 15% of the US population today, Hispanics are now America’s largest “minority” group, and are projected to be 29% of all those living in the United States by 2050.
  • Hispanics have become one of the most volatile and contested swing voting blocks in American politics. Realizing this helped deliver George W. Bush to the White House.
  • In 2005, the immigration debate introduced a new dynamic in this electorate. The GOP rejected Bush's "Nos Conocemos" approach to Hispanics and adopted a much more anti-immigrant, anti-Hispanic approach. This approach was instrumental in fueling the massive immigration rallies in the spring of 2006, and swinging Hispanics significantly to the Democrats and increasing their turnout in the 2006 elections.
  • Initial data from 2008 shows that Hispanics have tripled their turnout from the 2004 primaries and increased their share of the vote in the Democratic primaries by 66%. Seventy-eight percent of Hispanics who voted in the presidential primaries this year have voted Democratic.

These facts present a bleak outlook for Sen. McCain in particular, who will address NALEO at 11 a.m., immediately before Sen. Obama's address at the Renaissance Marriott Hotel. For more background, check out these recent columns from Carla Marinucci, Andres Oppenheimer, Gebe Martinez, Peter Wallsten, Sam Stein, Bill Lambrecht, and Tyche Kendricks.