Like most of you, I am glad that the Presidential elections are behind us. It was the longest road to the Whitehouse in modern times. And with 24/7 coverage, it made 22 months seem like 22 years. More importantly, the choice was very clear and the numbers left no doubt that the country was very ready to move on in a new direction.
And of course, as usual, over the last week, much has been written about the Latino Vote and its impact. The stats have been analyzed by the pundits and it is clear that Obama was the overwhelming recipient of our vote. How did it happen? Is a question very few have really tried to answer. Most who have, simply brush us with the “change” and “economy” message that captured the rest of the Nation. And yes there is some of that for sure, but it only captures the tip of the iceberg in understanding the Hispanic community.
For starters we have not been devoted blindly to the Democratic Party for some time now. Both Ronald Reagan and George W Bush showed that Latinos will cross over to vote Republican in big numbers. Just ask the Democratic leadership, who after the 2004 Bush victory could not believe that millions of Hispanics that had voted for George W, and it was not just in Florida, but across the country.
So how did Obama recapture the Latino vote as he did, well to borrow from a phrase used during the Clinton election, it’s the values, stupid. Yes, our Values system was what gave President-Elect Obama the majority of the Hispanic vote. Values that are deeply seeded in family and sacrifice, Values that are defined by interdependence as opposed to independence, Values that always put La Familia, above everything else.
Whether they knew it or not, the Obama campaign borrowed a chapter right out of the Lionel Sosa playbook on how to “touch” the Latino electorate. A playbook that goes back to the time Lionel helped John Tower get re-elected as a US Senator for Texas. And if I did not know any better, it sure looked like Lionel had a hand in persuading the Obama camp on the importance of our values when it came to messaging to the Latino voter.
Much will continue to be said and written in the coming years as it relates to this historic moment. But one thing is crystal clear to me. Obama and his team understood that Latino Family Values, trump everything else. He did it with not only his words, but also with his actions. Of course these were words and actions that resonated with millions of other Americans, but for sure they resonated with Latinos coast to coast.
Un abrazo…Jose Cancela…
Jose Cancela is Principal of Hispanic USA Inc, a full service Hispanic Market Communications firm. He has also the author of “The Power of Business en EspaÃ±ol, Seven Fundamental Keys to Unlocking the Potential of the Spanish Language Hispanic Market” Rayo / HarperCollins.