A huge group of voters in the United States has been waking up – at least 20 million people who know how important they are in deciding who becomes president for the next four years.
These are the Hispanic and Latino communities in key swing states – where no single candidate has a clear advantage.
Voters like Herbert Serrano from Ecuador, who lives in Los Angeles, are aware that by the year 2050, if current trends continue, these communities will account for 30 percent of the US population.
Serrano said: “We can be a very powerful group and we could enact change that would benefit not just Latinos but, I think, the whole country, as a whole, because Latinos are younger. Demographically, they’re younger, and it’s a growing number.”
But Latinos don’t vote as a block.
Eduardo Zurita, also living in LA, said: “I like the Republican philosophy a lot, to have more control over my own affairs. The government can’t solve all our problems. But between the candidates I like Barack Obama more, because he has a strong position on topics that help Hispanics and everybody.”
Immigration is a common denominator for many Hispanic voters. Deportations of illegal immigrants rose under Obama, but they’re more afraid of Republican hostility.
San Francisco has a whole other concentration of voters who are very wary of the Mormon Mitt Romney: homosexuals. It’s legal for gays to adopt in California, but not to marry. That makes it a challenge for Olivier and Steve – who adopted twins – to keep their family together.
Steve said: “The Mormons are a cult and they hate homosexuals – they are not allowed in the Mormon Church. It’s a cult… I don’t know if it’s called a church. They are hideously against civil rights for American people. They should not be in office or running this country.”
Steve used to know Obama personally. He said: “He adheres to his religious beliefs which are not civil rights minded beliefs. Now that he represents more than just unions in Illinois, he represents the entire Democratic Party, which includes California, and civil rights Democrats.”
Many lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans have been satisfied with Obama’s encouraging public statements on marriage legislation, taking it as supportive of their initiatives – leaving religion aside.