With a population of 40 million and growing, the United States witnessed Latinos becoming the largest minority in America in 2003—creating a voting bloc with the potential to determine the outcome of elections throughout the nation.
In The Latino Wave, award-winning journalist Jorge Ramos argues that the political party that can correctly understand the wants and needs of Hispanics will triumph at the polls. Ramos deftly clarifies these points, among many others, and explains why it's necessary to bridge the gap of misunderstanding that exists between Latinos and non-Latinos.
With insight from the nation's Latino political luminaries and interviews with Hispanics living across the United States, Ramos reveals who these New Americans really are—and what it means for the country.
"The future of the Unites States is a Hispanic one," argues Univision news anchor Ramos (No Borders: A Journalist's Search for Home). He insists that Latinos' large and increasing numbers, Spanish-language mass media and rootedness in nearby mother countries will keep their ethnic identities from atrophying to kitsch and cuisine; they will integrate, but never assimilate. (But that's a claim that's hard to square with his observation that by the third generation, Latinos generally stop speaking Spanish and start intermarrying.) In a chapter titled "How to Woo Latinos: A Guide," Ramos argues that Latinos most often align with Democrats on labor issues, but with Republicans on social issues, and outlines how to move beyond the split. Less targeted are Ramos's vague and clich d musings on the complexities and conflicts of Latino consciousness. He talks to various political and cultural leaders of the Latino community and is unabashed in attacking left-leaning populist Latin American politicians like Hugo Ch vez. He draws attention to Latino casualty rates in Iraq that are disproportionate to representation in the ranks and to continued school segregation and workplace racism. Laying out the issues (immigration, most prominently) that he thinks will galvanize the Latino vote for the presidential election, Ramos offers his own "Ten Recommendations for a Latino Agenda," which are predictable but clear.