In Hispanic Voters Gain New Clout With Democrats (NYTimes - 6.10.07), Raymond Hernandez writes that the fight over immigration and the schedule of the new early primaries has given greater importance to Latino primary voters. Hernandez is right if just a tad late in his analysis (See Latino Voters Critical in New Primary Calendar, American Taino - 3.16.07).
While there's no doubt that wily politicians are taking advantage of the political opportunity, the problem is that Democrats haven't been especially brave on issues of importance to Latinos. For example, none have been willing to take kind of heat John McCain and even Mel Martinez are now taking for their leadership on immigration reform.
Since national Democrats have largely taken Latino voters for granted over the years, it's a little hard for many of us to imagine that they won't revert to their same old act: pre-election posturing followed by inaction.
Critically important in this regard is for Latino Democrats to hold the new CEO accountable and NOT to fold in exchange for some goodies.
The Democrats have a lot to prove to Latino voters. Are they up to it? Who knows. But it's important for Latino leaders and voters to be clear on what's expected of a new president. It's equally important to hold the new president accountable--whether they're Democrat, Republican or Independent.