Immigrants May Determine US Election Results
American foreigners may be the key to victory in some closely contested states in America, writes NAHEED ALI
The United States is home to millions of immigrants-turned U.S. citizens who jumped their native ship to American soil long before the most anticipated election in U.S. history. Voters who were previously foreigners have a sizeable population in political powder kegs like California, New Jersey, Illinois and the highly tense and oven-baked New York. So far, foreigners have been responsible for a large number of votes in the presidential primaries. Voters who emigrated from other continents have been the swing voters in some very important primaries, and are thus contributing to the country’s overall political landscape. This will in turn, create additional diversity and future representation of minorities throughout the nation.
Critics everywhere confabulate about the possibility of American foreigners controlling the Democratic and Republican Party nominations. The communities’ support for the candidates is growing by the thousands, if not millions, on a daily basis. Obama came close to defeating Hillary Clinton in January partially because he was able to gain over younger voters and middle class patriots in these communities, but eventually Clinton inched to victory in a marginal race between the two. Also, grassroots involvement of American foreigners has never been so intense. Newt Gingrich suggested: “[Foreigners] continue to make a significant contribution to our society, and the community itself has grown dramatically in its political sophistication and involvement, and thus in making its voice heard clearly.” Georgia democratic congressman also added: “[They] understand the importance of participating in the political process, especially this year, given New Jersey’s significant relevance in helping to elect the nation’s next president.”
In California, hundreds of thousands of Indian American voters who work in the IT field, for example, are seeking business-friendly politicians who bid in favor of market forces and, contrary to what CNN’s Lou Dobbs would have you believe, do not agree that outsourcing will devastate the American middle class. Outsourcing, however, doesn’t seem to illuminate any of the core themes of the presidential election, partly due to the overshadowing of domestic issues such as education and poverty. The front-runner candidates have broadly been in favor of letting global economists to determine the flow of private investments and jobs.
American foreigners are bound to make a historic presence in this year’s election, especially in California where a large percentage of the nominating convention delegates were contested. As the results surfaced, Clinton was the Democratic winner and Romney’s then-rival, John McCain, had taken the state from the Republican side of the race. As you may know, Spanish-Americans comprise the largest sector of minority voters in the state of California. The Clinton camp was hailed to be victorious in the Golden State long before the February 5, 2008 primary, and it had nothing to do with the decades-long conflicts between the black and Latino neighborhoods. Hispanics in California favored Hillary simply because of the overwhelming focus on her campaign towards the minority communities. The Obama campaign seemed to miss out on this however, with the very little contact it had with the Latino settlements.
The popular discrepancy seemed obvious between the two candidates when Hispanic-American Democrat Jose Serrano told The New York Times: "We all like Obama. Under any other circumstances, we would probably be supporting Obama. I would probably be yelling and screaming for Obama if Hillary were not in the race." Serrano also added that Clinton “understands who we are" and she has always been a supporter of minority-related issues. Obama is the first African-American who has a chance of swinging the history of US elections, and has boasted how Hispanics backed him all throughout his campaign to become senator of Illinois. He also released a series of Spanish-language ads and assigned Latino lawmakers to campaign for him days before the California primary had ensued.
Crucial immigrant voters were neglected for too long by the Obama team to grasp narrow victories in key states such as New Hampshire, Ohio, and Texas. Moreover, Clinton’s triumph in Florida would have been sweetened if she had delegated support from minority placeholders, especially Senator Mel Martinez.
Immigrant voters have been on the move ever since this highly-televised election campaign began blanketing the modern world of politics. Well-known politicians have made their presence in various states. Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for instance, took to the time to fly down to Texas before the March 4 primary to help ensure a Clinton victory. Minority Texans themselves played a key role in the State’s primaries mainly because they are less institutionalized and much more acculturated in Texas and other crucial states like New York and California. According to a BBC report published in August 2006, American immigrants have increased their presence in almost every major state, not to mention the sea of minorities who have prevailed to hold local offices, congressional seats, and even campaign-related jobs.
In addition, the leading Democrats seek to reestablish the NAFTA to reinforce environmental and occupational standards. Mitt Romney, during his pro-business Republican campaign (that flew out the window despite the approximately $35 million he gave from his pocket), was very active in addressing liberalized trade issues with the Chinese in order to stop giving their products unfair advantages.
To summarize, the candidates’ agendas of improving or “changing” our constitutional liberties, economic progression, work visas, national security, and other issues most important to minority communities may ultimately determine the outcome of this year’s presidential elections.
Naheed Ali is an aspiring columnist whose articles have appeared in a number of journals worldwide. He makes his home in northern Georgia, USA.
Earlier articles by the author:
* February 23, 2008: Pakistan's Democratic Turmoil
Posted by Editor on April 23, 2008 1:30 PM