Updated 03:05 PM EST, Fri, Dec 04, 2020

Soccer with the Senator: Politicians are Finally Taking Heed of the All-Powerful Latino Vote

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The Latino vote is becoming the American political scene's hottest commodity, and it's pretty evident that the fight to win their favor has begun. With both parties fighting for the Latino vote, this 2014 election season is poised to be pretty interesting indeed.

One of the most interesting moves so far in the bid for the Latino vote came from a Democratic senator in Nevada over the weekend. In hope of sweeping up some of the much-needed attention from Latino voters, State Senator Ruben Kihuen, D-Las Vegas, held a "Soccer with the Senator" event, centered around the World Cup, in which he appeared at a Mexico vs. Brazil viewing party in Las Vegas. 

It's likely that attempts Like Senator Kihuen's, where politicians reach Latino voters by stepping into the community, will only grow as a trend as the 2016 Presidential Elections draw near.   

In 2013, the U.S. Census Bureau cited that there are 53 million Latinos living in America, which makes up 17 percent of the United States population.

Latinos are now the largest minority group in the United States and are growing fast. With the recent influx of the Latino population over the past 15 years, the political atmosphere is changing fast, as politicians begin to recognize the need to secure the Latino vote.

The Latino vote showed its importance in the 2012 Presidential Elections, when Obama was able to secure 70 percent of the Latino vote to 30 percent for Mitt Romney. With only 30 percent Romney scored the lowest amount of Latino support since Bob Dole in 1996. This shift in Latino vote will be important in 2016, as candidates on both sides to try to court the biggest minority group.

Republicans have largely blocked the "Immigration Reform Act" in Congress, a move that isn't scoring points with the Latino vote.

House Leader Eric Cantor-R has historically been in favor of reforming immigration, but he was voted out of office in favor of a Tea Party candidate. With the party torn between the moderates and Tea Party members, there is a battle for the right to designate just how conservative the party should be.

On the other hand, the California Dream Act is an example of how to successfully recruit Latino approval. While the Democrats widely approved of the act's immigration reform tactics, Republicans were opposed to the bill, saying that American tax dollars should not go to the educations of undocumented immigrants.

Despite the Republican disapproval, The Dream Act was passed, and applications are currently being filed.

The gap between Republican ideals and Latino values may be a tough one to bridge; while most Latinos consider their social views to be conservative, which would fall in line with the Republican Party's ideals, the party consistently passes legislation that goes against immigration.

And while as a majority Latinos are not in favor of gay rights or abortion rights, they are in favor of making citizens out of the roughly 12 million undocumented immigrants who are in the U.S. right now. What it often comes down is deciding the lesser of two evils, and for most, the current GOP is considered the worse option.

Every year thousands of young children are brought across the border as undocumented immigrants. These children grow up in American schools and consider themselves as Americans.

Both political parties have yet to decide what should be done about the children who have grown up in America without being being granted citizenship.

This issue of childhood immigration, coupled with the other issues that go along with it hand in hand will have to be addressed before the Latino vote will shift. Ultimately, no amount of pandering or soccer watch parties will do much to change that.

Americans, no matter the nationality, vote for the candidates who will serve them the best. For now, Democrats are seen as serving minorities more than the Republican party is willing to do.

Until the Republican rhetoric about immigration issues changes, the Latino vote will continue to be cast for the party that cares and passes legislation built to meet their needs.  

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