Wednesday, August 8, 2012

President Obama Loves Latinos. Why?

From our guest contributor...

By Adrian Tafoya

Try 50.5 million reasons why. Today’s $1 trillion Latino buying power has also been known to turn a few heads. In addition, one in every six individuals is Latino and one in every four children are Latino. Let’s face it, Latinos represent a whole lot of votes.

Latinos are also championing the re-election campaign. Desperate Housewife, Eva Longoria is Co-Chair of the Reelect Obama Campaign and joining her are: George Clooney, Alexis Bledel, Cristina Saralegui, Billy Crystal, Robert Downey Jr., Jack Black, Salma Hayek, and Barbra Streisand, Anne Hathaway, Aaron Sorkin, Joanne Woodward, Antonio Banderas, Michael Douglas, Will Ferrell, Tom Hanks and the majority of Black actors in America!

When former Senator Barack Obama won his party’s nomination for president in 2008, it was irrefutable that he had been blessed by Latino voters. However, immigration reform (a key campaign item) quickly landed on the back burner and the disappointment began to chip away as Latinos realized they were once again being taken for granted. In fact, he suffered a huge decline in his overall approval rating as president after Latinos disapproved of his handling of deportations. President Barack Obama’s approval in 2011 fell to 49% from 58% in 2010 (Pew Hispanic Center).

In June of this year, when the president announced that he would defer deportation proceedings for many young undocumented immigrants, it was safe to predict that he would regain his good standing with the fastest growing demographic in the U.S. The president recaptured Latino love by boldly breathing life back into the DREAM Act. An impressive 91% of Latinos support this legislation that would permit young adults who were brought to the U.S. illegally when they were children to become legal residents if they go to college or serve in the military for two years. Way to win over nine-in-ten Latino hand raisers.

Latino kinship with Black-Americans has grown over the years as Latinos have mutually experienced disenfranchised rights in an America that has kept them swept under the rug like dust-bunnies. Going back to the 50.5 million people identifying themselves as Latino… Latinos cannot be ignored any longer. No, not this election year. Not according to statistics published in the Summer 2012, SAG-AFTRA magazine which states, “Latino culture has developed a larger and stronger influence in our nation’s media, advertising, and politics. According to the 2010 census, Latinos represent 16.3 percent of the population of the United States… Latinos are the fastest-growing ethnic group in the country.”

On a personal note, Latino voters are American, not illegals. Latino Americans are not “climbing fences” to cross over any borders. Latinos, like myself [Tafoya], are Americans and we have to start owning it. Latinos have to stop referring to non-Latinos as “Los Americanos!” According to today’s demographic calculations, we are Los Americanos! And, it is Latinos as Americans that President Obama has embraced.

President Obama’s campaign understands that 65.5% of Latinos in the U.S. are of Mexican descent and that only 3.5% are of Cuban ancestry. This explains why 54% of all Latino registered voters say that they have never heard of Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, (Pew Hispanic Center). Politicians who think that all Latinos are alike are extending a significant advantage to the Obama reelection effort.

To further arouse Latino love for President Obama, the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina (in September of 2011), has appointed as its Convention Chairman, our very own Los Angeles Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa—a Latino from Boyle Heights, Los Angeles who attended East Los Angeles College. Furthermore, Villaraigosa will not be the only Latino taking center stage: he will be joined by San Antonio, Texas’ mayor, Julian Castro as Convention Keynote Speaker, making Castro the first Latino American to be given this high-profile role at a Democratic convention. In 1984, President Ronald Reagan chose former U.S. Treasurer Katherine Davalos Ortega to keynote at the Republican convention in Dallas.

Castro is the youngest mayor of a Top 50 American City and was first elected in 2009. In 2011, he easily won re-election with nearly 82% of the vote!

It is also clear that President Obama is the center of a highly influential Hollywood love fest with an escalating mutual admiration society.

“He [Obama] is the Paul Newman of American Presidents,” said Harvey Weinstein.

Last year, Mayor Villaraigosa hosted a star-studded fundraiser at the mayor’s mansion in the tony L.A. neighborhood of Hancock Park, California. The mayor frequently escorts the president to other local fundraising events like Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith’s soirĂ©e and, more recently, both were seen at George Clooney’s Studio City home extravaganza (an evening reporting $15 million in campaign contributions). Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is certainly a powerful politician with national recognition and his staunch support for President Obama is formidable. Undoubtedly, President Obama deeply values his alliance with the Los Angeles mayor.

In reference to Academy Award winning screenwriter and producer, Aaron Sorkin, President Obama recently commented, “He writes the way every Democrat in Washington wished they spoke.”

President Barack Obama loves Latinos and, here in Los Angeles, he may well thank Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Eva Longoria for bridging Hollywood with Latinos and politics. After the 2012 Democratic National Convention, Julian Castro will become a household name ...and if one could predict the first Latino President of the United States, names like Castro and Villaraigosa would surface in a heartbeat.

--Elia Esparza contributed to this story
--Edited by Casandra Moreno Lombera

Adrian Tafoya is a film and television professional with 28 years experience. He is a writer, producer, actor, stage productions, technical director, creative consultant, and theatrical design. Mr. Tafoya received his B.A. in Theatre Arts from CSUSB.

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