Professor Lectures on Latinos’ Role in Election

Event Discusses Importance of “Largest Minority”

With the election so close at hand, people are using every possible media outlet to stay informed. However, consider some good ol’ fashioned face time this Wednesday, October 29, and drop in on David Ay³n, as he delivers a noon talk on Latinos and the 2008 election, “The Critical Difference,” at UCSB’s South Hall 1023.

Ay³n is a visiting speaker from Loyola Marymount University, where he is the Senior Research Associate at the Leavey Center - established to study the unique urban environment of Los Angeles.

His discussion will address the recent expectation among Latino activists and leaders that Latinos will have a large role in the upcoming election. This expectation is partly due to the 2000 Census, which proclaimed Latinos the largest minority in the United States officially - a minority that could make a difference and should be addressed accordingly by the candidates.

The support of the Latino community was very influential in the presidential primaries. They held Hillary Clinton in the race until the bitter end and made the comeback of John McCain possible. When McCain beat Romney in Florida, it was “unquestionably the Latino vote that decided things in Florida,” Ay³n said.

However, in the actual election issues important to the Latino community have rarely been addressed.

The irony is they were more important on the Republican side, than on the Democratic side,” Ay³n explained.

McCain’s nomination changed the contribution of the Latino community in this election for two reasons, Ay³n claimed. The first being that McCain is one of the few Republicans for comprehensive immigration reform. “This took immigration out of the debates because Democrats have always been for immigration reform,” Ay³n said. The second reason Ay³n gives is the four southwestern states of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada, which have recently emerged as swing states, where the Latino community could make the deciding difference. However, “McCain is from Arizona,” Ay³n said, “Once he was the nominee Arizona was no longer in play.”

Right now Ay³n states the voter preference of Latinos is two to one for Obama, but for more a more detailed analysis, stop by UCSB tomorrow to hear Ay³n’s lecture.

Jenny Pedersen is an Independent intern.

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