The Importance of the Latino Vote
A few days ago, when Obama & Clinton supporters first turned their attention in earnest to the primary in Puerto Rico ("PR"), several Obama supporters gave short shrift to this primary, even going so far as to suggest that PR's primary results be excluded from calculation of the popular vote leader. Although they correctly point out that PR does not have a role in U.S. presidential elections, they overlook the DNC's decision, back in the 1970s, to give PR a role in selecting the Democrat's nominee for president as a means of courting Latino votes on the mainland. (Michael Janeway, PR's Moment in the Sun, NEW YORK TIMES, May 22, 2008). But in recent years, Democrats have not been uniformly successful in courting that vote, while the margins of victory in presidential elections have become smaller and the Latino population here has continued to grow. With all this in mind, it is instructive to consider the role Latinos have played in this Democratic primary season and how it compares to their role in the 2004 Presidential and 2006 mid-term elections.
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