Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Latin Factor

While Hillary Clinton’s sweeping victory in Puerto Rico might not be enough to secure her party’s nomination, it brought one factor into focus: that Hispanic voters are going to play a key role in the upcoming presidential election. Recognizing this, the candidates, not to mention their supporters, are making direct appeals on YouTube to Hispanic voters—like this video from Barack Obama, in which the Illinois senator addresses Puerto Rican voters in Spanish.

The video wasn’t enough to help him win on Sunday, but he’s certainly resonating with many Hispanic voters. Indeed, some big-name Latin celebrities and will.i.am recently collaborated on a Spanish-language music video supporting Obama, targeted specifically at the Hispanic community.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton (still in the race as of this posting) has consistently done well among Hispanic voters, and her YouTube channel features several videos directed to the Spanish-speaking community. However, her most popular Spanish-language video isn't technically hers...it's a music video from user and Clinton-supporter lopezdashayala entitled Hillary, Hillary Clinton. It's arguably one of the catchiest campaign songs you’ll hear this year.

John McCain is also doing what he can to sway Hispanic voters. In his most recent YouTube video, posted over Memorial Day Weekend, McCain asks us to remember the many Hispanics—some legal citizens, some not—who’ve served and continue to serve in the U.S. armed forces, and especially those who’ve sacrificed their lives. “These are God’s children…and they have enriched our culture and our nation as every generation of immigrants before them.”

So whose message will resonate most with Hispanic voters? It’s probably too early to predict—but you can bet that up until November, you’ll see the remaining candidates continuing to argue their case—en inglés y español.


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