President Obama made a stop last month in Kern County — California's agricultural heartland — to establish the Cesar E. Chavez National Monument near the site where the iconic farmworker-rights leader is buried. He greeted a crowd in impeccable Spanish. "Good morning. Buenos DÃas. Si, se puede," he said, elevating the crescendo of applause. "Yes, it can be done."
California's 55 electoral votes will go to Obama, so his pilgrimage to the center of the state's working poor likely demonstrated the president's desire to generate additional support from swing-state Latinos — those living in Colorado, Florida, and Nevada. Obama is sending a signal that he's got their backs.
"The Obama campaign has been deliberate in courting the Latino vote," said Ruy Teixeira, senior fellow and demographer at the Century Foundation and the Center for American Progress. "They see the rise of the importance of the group. The Dream Act was not just a coincidence."
The Next America has compiled a list of 15 counties where Latino, black, and Asian-Americans are expected to play a significant role in these presidential and congressional elections and in those to come. The counties were selected after consulting with nonpartisan civic organizations, including the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund and advocacy groups that track minority-voting trends. The list, not intended to be comprehensive, aims to give a glimpse into the growing political minority-voting bloc, a sector that's only projected to increase every year for decades to come.