Latino vote can’t be ignored, Telemundo anchor says


There are an estimated 50.5 million Latinos living in the country, and an estimated 20 million of them eligible voters. Such a large swath of the electorate can’t be ignored, said Telemundo anchor Joe Diaz-Balart on Tuesday’s The Rachel Maddow Show, just days after he interviewed both President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney.

“50,000 Latino kids turn 18 every month,” Diaz-Balart said. “18 equals potential voters! And you know what, they’re watching and they’re listening to what political leaders are saying, and doing, and not doing.”

President Obama leads Gov. Mitt Romney 69-24 in the latest poll by Latino Decisions.

“They better realize, both political parties, that this is a force that’s not going to go away and it’s only going to get bigger,” said Diaz-Balart. He added that Latinos have already shown their might as a political force in recent elections.

“Ask Sharron Angle why she’s not a senator in Nevada,” he said, referring to Sen. Harry Reid’s unsuccessful opponent in the 2010 Senate race in Nevada. Angle ran an ad vilifying Latinos, and immigration was a major topic conversation in the election.

Diaz-Balart isn’t sure Latino voters will turn out in huge numbers for the national election, but he said President Obama scored a major win with Latinos with the DREAM Act. “Those kids, for example, are now being able to come out from under the shadows of fear in darkness in this country, even if it’s just for a two year period,” he said. “That helps.”