History is about to be made.
Step aside white voters... in March, Latinos will officially become the largest demographic group in California.
The state budget predicts that Latinos will comprise 39% of the population this March, surpassing whites. But bigger numbers may not mean bigger power.
The Guardian puts it this way:
Of 53 million Latinos, seven million are undocumented immigrants, five million are legal immigrants who are not citizens and cannot vote, and 17 million are too young to vote (for now). That leaves an electorate of just 24 million, of which less than half votes, compared to around two-thirds of whites and African Americans.
Unlike in some African American communities where churches have boosted political culture and involvement, Latinos are still finding their footing as a political force.
Democrats have taken votes for granted, using Latinos to get elected and then largely ignoring their concerns in favor of other issues. Hence President Obama being known to some as "Deporter-In-Chief."
Obama's administration has deported more immigrants than Bush's after promising reform to Latinos in the last election. Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, remarked:
As a community we’re still developing, maturing. With every electoral cycle Latino political impact is increasing but we understand there is much more to do.
Still, with growing numbers, Latinos can expect to make considerable gains down the road if they mobilize. Watch the next Presidential campaign where candidates will be wooing Latino voters and immigration reform may take center stage.
What impact do you predict for this historic trend?