Latino Vote Muscle Grows for Nevada Democrats - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Latino Vote Muscle Grows for Nevada Democrats

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Republicans lost and lost big. At TMCC, political science professor Fred Lokken's post-mortem is that since the glory days of Ronald Reagan, the country has become more diverse. The mostly older white male crowd seen at Mitt Romney rallies is not the cross section of America today. Republicans are missing an increasingly bigger boat.

As he put it, "In terms of the Latino vote, it has attracted the fewest number of Latinos to the republican ticket since Bob Dole, and it's actually worse than Bob Dole!"

The Hispanic vote for republicans is rapidly being lost, ever since George W. Bush won 44% of their vote in 2004. 4 years later, John McCain took 31%. Mitt Romney's share? Only 27%...12 million fewer Hispanics voting for the republican presidential candidate than just 4 years ago.

Many of those are turned off by republican pushes for voter ID, and the party's opposition to immigration reform. Lokken told us, "The stance that the party took this fall on immigration literally drove Hispanics back to the democratic party."

At the Reno headquarters for "Mi Familia Vota," Northern Nevada Coordinator Carla Castedo backs that up. She's heard it in her own neighborhood. She told us, "As soon as President Barack Obama was re-elected last night, some people were asking for immigration reform right off the bat."

Castedo's organization works to gets the Latino vote out. Don't let their small Reno office fool you. Behind the scenes, it's become a powerhouse. She proudly told us, "We registered across the state over 19,000 thousand voters for this election alone."

There was some good news for republicans…they retained their majority in the U.S. House, and they increased their share of governorships. But the people involved in galvanizing the minority vote say that to really come back, the Republican Party has to give up old stereotypes, and relate to the voters of America today. Lokken says there's a new generation of Reagans somewhere out there, maybe a few who are Latino…like Florida Senator Marco Rubio. Or even a Governor Sandoval.

As Castedo put it, "We do refer to Latinos as the sleeping giant, and I think that is completely eradicated. Speaking from last night, the giant has awoken, and we showed that with the votes."

-written by John Potter

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