Traditionally great fans of Hillary Clinton, Latino-Americans will now have to make the difficult decision between anti-immigration candidate John McCain and black candidate Barack Obama. Despite a long-running rivalry with the black community, they will not be swayed towards John McCain, say our Observers.
Since Hillary was thrown
out of the race, speculation has been mounting over which direction the
Hispanic community will veer towards. A new poll released by Latino Decisions
shows that Latino support for John McCain barely reached a quarter of the
community, whereas almost two thirds of the migrant group are planning to vote for
Obama. The figure has surprised some spectators, due to a recognized rivalry
between the African-American and Hispanic minorities, while others see it as the only choice they have.
Various Latin rappers, singers and actors got together to produce this music video called "With Obama We Can".
Layla Soberanis is Latino-American with parents from Guatemala. She's currently completing an internship at the Spanish Embassy in Washington and studying for a degree in Hispanic Studies.
The problem with Hillary was that she fired her chief of staff [Patti Solis Doyle, who has recently been chosen as head of staff to the Obama campaign], who was Hispanic. That was the deciding factor for my family. Clinton did seem to do a lot for the Hispanic community, but that could be a political trick.
If Obama does get elected then he'd bring in a lot of new policies that wouldn't just benefit the African-American communities but all minorities, so us too. Especially in education - I think there'd be a lot more opportunities for minorities in colleges and also in healthcare too which many Latino people just don't have access to. I also think if he was elected it would encourage minorities to do a lot of things, just from the sense of morale he'd bring.
I do believe there could be a slight resentment from the white majority if we get a minority president. I feel as though now it's just Obama and McCain left it will divide people on the colour of their skin."
Ernesto Haibi is an American national of Cuban descent. His parents moved to the States before he was born.
But for me, and the rest of the Hispanic community, McCain is veering towards the extreme right, and is now openly siding with the anti-immigration crowd. Latinos are listening to him saying "we don't want any more of you here" and thinking "that's my family he stopping from getting in". You'd be hard pressed to find a Spanish-speaking McCain supporter who's not Cuban. And that's almost all of 12.5% of the vote he's just lost."
François Durpaire, a professor specialising in black minority communities, published the book "Barack Obama's America".
Not being committed to either party, the Hispanic community is one that became a big stake in the primaries. And now Clinton is out, it's interesting to see that both Obama and McCain have created entirely Spanish speaking versions of their campaign websites. Obama certainly managed to secure a larger majority of Clinton's lost votes than McCain. He knew to directly address the Latino-Americans in his speeches. But that's not all. A largely poor community, the group is especially sensitive to questions of health insurance and the economy, and these are running themes in Obama's campaign. On top of that, Latinos are more than aware of their "mongrel" status, and they can relate to this mixed-race candidate who promises to break the black and white divide in America.
Some say that racism between Latinos and blacks could damage Obama's chances. On the contrary, I think that there's a certain solidarity between the two groups, and that could serve to his advantage."