Latino Wave: How Latinos Will Elect the Next American President

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From bestselling author and Emmy Award–winning journalist Jorge Ramos comes a pivotal new book that explores the current and future power of the Latino vote in American politics.

The face of the American voter has changed dramatically. With the growth of the Latino population in the United States, there has developed a voting block with the potential to determine the outcome of elections throughout the nation. Hispanics in America, both native-born as well as newly arrived ...

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Overview

From bestselling author and Emmy Award–winning journalist Jorge Ramos comes a pivotal new book that explores the current and future power of the Latino vote in American politics.

The face of the American voter has changed dramatically. With the growth of the Latino population in the United States, there has developed a voting block with the potential to determine the outcome of elections throughout the nation. Hispanics in America, both native-born as well as newly arrived immigrants, will forever alter the way this country votes, and even how the nation views itself.

With its staggering population of close to 40 million and growing, Latinos became the largest minority in America in 2003. The monumental effect Hispanics will have on all areas of American culture, especially politics, will be acutely felt as the road to the 2004 presidential election heats up.

Ramos argues that the political party that can correctly understand the wants and needs of Hispanics will triumph in most elections throughout the country, pushing forward that party's agenda and solidifying its hold on power.

Yet, do Hispanics vote as a block? What issues are important to Latinos? And are these issues really that different from non-Latino Americans? In The Latino Wave, Jorge Ramos deftly clarifies these points, among many others.

With interviews from the nation's Latino political luminaries, as well as fieldwork interviews with Hispanics living across the entirety of the United States, Ramos shows just who these New Americans really are. By outlining what political issues are important to them, Ramos underscores why America should care about bridging the gap of misunderstanding that exists between Latinos and non-Latinos alike, during this, the most divisive presidential election the country has witnessed in decades.

From bestselling author and award winning journalist Jorge Ramos, comes a pivotal new book which explores the current and future power of the Latino vote in American politics and helps to define the issues important to this community, as well as what it will take for a party and candidate to capture their loyalty.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"The future of the Unites States is a Hispanic one," argues Univision news anchor Ramos (No Borders: A Journalist's Search for Home). He insists that Latinos' large and increasing numbers, Spanish-language mass media and rootedness in nearby mother countries will keep their ethnic identities from atrophying to kitsch and cuisine; they will integrate, but never assimilate. (But that's a claim that's hard to square with his observation that by the third generation, Latinos generally stop speaking Spanish and start intermarrying.) In a chapter titled "How to Woo Latinos: A Guide," Ramos argues that Latinos most often align with Democrats on labor issues, but with Republicans on social issues, and outlines how to move beyond the split. Less targeted are Ramos's vague and clich d musings on the complexities and conflicts of Latino consciousness. He talks to various political and cultural leaders of the Latino community and is unabashed in attacking left-leaning populist Latin American politicians like Hugo Chavez. He draws attention to Latino casualty rates in Iraq that are disproportionate to representation in the ranks and to continued school segregation and workplace racism. Laying out the issues (immigration, most prominently) that he thinks will galvanize the Latino vote for the presidential election, Ramos offers his own "Ten Recommendations for a Latino Agenda," which are predictable but clear. Agent, Bill Adler at Bill Adler Books. (June) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
An Emmy Award-winning journalist considers what really matters to Latinos-and whether it's that different from what matters to the rest of America. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060572013
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/1/2004
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.97 (d)

Meet the Author

Jorge Ramos
Jorge Ramos

Jorge Ramos has won eight Emmy Awards and the Maria Moors Cabot Award for excellence in journalism. He has been the anchorman for Univision News for the last twenty-one years and has appeared on NBC's Today, CNN's Talk Back Live, ABC's Nightline, CBS's Early Show, and Fox News's The O'Reilly Factor, among others. He is the bestselling author of No Borders: A Journalist's Search for Home and Dying to Cross. He lives in Florida.

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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Making history : how Latinos decided the 2000 presidential election 1
Ch. 2 The new neighbors next door 31
Ch. 3 Why Latinos are different : the melting pot myth 69
Ch. 4 How to woo Latinos : a guide 109
Ch. 5 The secret life of Latinos 157
Ch. 6 The invader invaded 175
Ch. 7 The true power of immigrants 195
Ch. 8 The Latino agenda 215
App Hispanics at a glance 239
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First Chapter

The Latino Wave
How Hispanics Will Elect the Next American President

Chapter One

Making History:
How Latinos Decided the 2000
Presidential Election

The Latino vote put George W. Bush into the White House. Which is no great surprise, considering that he occasionally refers to himself as "Jorge Bush."

Bush knew that Hispanic voters were different from whites, blacks, and Asians, and he treated them differently. It's thanks to this that he won Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Texas, and Florida. Put another way, Bush won 5 of the 10 states where over 10 percent of the population is of Latin origin. The 2000 White House was won with an accurately targeted political strategy that proved critical in his victory over Al Gore. Bush had good reason to focus his efforts on Latinos. They -- and no other minority -- gave him the final push he needed to reach the White House.

Bush has never underestimated the growing importance of the Hipanic vote. When he first won the election to be governor of Texas in 1994, he did so with 29 percent of the Hispanic vote, which was enough to defeat the popular incumbent governor Ann Richards. This 29 percent may not sound like much, but it is a considerable increase over the 23 percent of Texas Hispanics who voted for his father, George H. W. Bush, in the 1988 presidential election. When you are talking about thousands of votes, 6 percent is a huge number.

Bush quickly grasped that his political future in Texas could very well depend on capturing the Latino vote, and during his gubernatorial reelection in 1998 the figure had risen to a surprising 38 percent.

You don't have to be a professional analyst to see that Bush instinctively knows where key votes lie. Since 1994, his strategy has been the same: gain more of the Latino vote. How? Appear on Hispanic television, speak -- or try to speak -- Spanish, and emphasize the importance of family. Regarding this latter point, Bush had a distinct advantage over his opponents in the 2000 presidential race: his own tightly knit Bush clan, was very much in evidence.

One of the most comprehensive studies done on the Hispanic vote in the 2000 elections -- conducted by Adam J. Segal, director of the Hispanic Voter Project at Johns Hopkins University -- concluded that Bush and the Republicans spent more than twice what Gore and the Democrats did for airtime on Spanish television. According to the study, entitled "The Hispanic Priority," Bush and his party spent some $2,274,000 on Spanish-language TV ads, whereas Gore's expenditure totaled only $960,000. (Gore's investment was only slightly more than the $909,000 amount that Bill Clinton spent during his reelection campaign of 1996.)

But that's not all. Gore and the Democrats committed a fatal error in deciding to spend absolutely nothing on ads to run on Miami channels 23 (Univision) and 51 (Telemundo). They are the two most watched Spanish channels in south Florida, and their ratings frequently surpass those of the English-language news broadcasts. Bush and the Republicans, on the other hand, spent some $785,000 on paid political ads to be broadcast on Univision and Telemundo's Miami affiliates.2 Cuban Americans in Miami gave their votes -- and thus victory -- to Bush in Florida. "In a decision that ultimately may have won Bush the presidency, his campaign and the RNC heavily targeted the Spanish-language television stations in Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando, and Tampa as part of an aggressive strategy to win the state of Florida and its 25 electoral votes (out of 538 total)," according to Adam Segal.

The critical question, which may sound ironic, is whether Hispanic voters really do watch Spanish-language television. All signs point to "yes," and the numbers are growing. The New York Times, using a study conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center, calculated that "about half of Latino voters said they got their news on television in English, 27 percent said they watch English and Spanish news, and 19 percent tune in to Spanish newscasts most of the time." Which is to say, 46 out of every 100 Latinos get at least some of their news in Spanish. This figure is supported by data collected by Hispanic Trends, which puts the figure at 45 percent. But what's really interesting is that, in 1990, only 1 in 4 Hispanics watched Spanish-language news. The figure has nearly doubled. Hispanic viewers of television are multiplying, and quickly.

The impact that Univision and Telemundo had on Hispanic voters is unquestionable. Adam Segal, from Johns Hopkins University, cites Leonard Rodriguez, a former Bush campaign staff member and consultant, who says: "The leader, Univision, draws more than 4 million U.S. viewers to at least one of its national news shows and its credibility was recently proven with an Emmy for reporting ... Telemundo is also undergoing phenomenal growth." Pablo Izquierdo, a Hispanic advertising consultant to the Gore campaign, confirms this: "They are crucial ... Nielsen has rated the Miami Univision station several times being even more watched during prime time than general market stations."

Both networks' influence is expanding. NBC paid over $2 billion to acquire Telemundo, and Univision -- which owns or is affiliated with some 50 Spanish-language television stations -- has acquired the Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation (HBC), which encompasses 63 radio stations across the country. The U.S. Department of Justice approved the $3.5 billion transaction in February 2003, thus "paving the way for a behemoth that will dominate Spanish-language television, radio, music publishing and the Internet."

Hispanics are particularly concerned with their children's educations, and with the threats their families face -- including drugs, violence, gangs, and divorce -- in North American society. It should come as no surprise, then, that both campaigns focused their messages on such themes as how to protect families from high medical bills, school quality, dropout rates, and the problems posed by crime. But differences in presentation were apparent even in the titles the ads used: the Republican commercials were highly personal -- "Same as Mine," "How About You?" "The American Dream for Everyone" -- while the Democrats' were more direct -- "Your Vote," "Issues," and "Faces of North America."

The Latino Wave
How Hispanics Will Elect the Next American President
. Copyright © by Jorge Ramos. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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