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Latest Census Numbers Confirm That Alienating Hispanic Voters Will Cost Elections

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Alex Sink SunkEditor’s Note: If you’re attending Netroots Nation this year in Minneapolis, be sure to attend our panel with Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL); Markos Moulitsas, founder of Daily Kos; Eliseo Medina, Secretary-Treasurer of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU); Maribel Hastings, Spanish Language Reporter/Blogger; and Adam Luna, Political Director at America’s Voice, titled: Immigration and the Power of the Latino Vote: Why Harry Reid Came Back and Alex Sink Sunk. We’ll be liveblogging it, too.

A short but compelling lesson in history:

Leading up to the 2010 elections, polling showed immigration to be the second most important concern of Latinos (after the economy).

Still, the Alex Sink (Florida’s Democratic candidate for Governor last year) campaign made a strategic decision to deemphasize immigration and the Latino vote. She ultimately received only 48 percent of the state’s Hispanic vote and lost the race by a single percentage point.

Political scientists believe that the decision to ignore her Latino base cost her the election, and that is the story of how Alex Sink lost — hopefully learning with it the real power of the Latino vote.

If the example isn’t enough to convince politicians to stop alienating Hispanic voters, the latest Census numbers might.

Last week the Census released its most up to date data on the Hispanic population in the US, and the numbers don’t look good for the anti-immigrant wing of the GOP.

The numbers show that between 2000 and 2010, the Hispanic population grew over four times faster than the overall population in the South and 12 times faster in the Midwest. In fact, the Hispanic population is growing way faster than any other demographic in the country, and this growth isn’t going unnoticed in Washington.