CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Hispanics are the largest minority in the United States and an important voting bloc for the Democratic Party, particularly in the West and increasingly in the South where their numbers are soaring. All Democratic presidential candidates would say they are for inclusion, but only one, Gov. Bill Richardson, has bothered to create a bilingual Spanish/English portal on a campaign Web site.
The lack of bilingual presidential efforts is a backhand to hispanic Democrats. It is especially noticeable because government agencies commonly include them. Check out what the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio is doing to communicate with the state's Spanish-speaking residents. That type of outreach is not strange, alien or odd -- it is normal for 2007. Perhaps candidates are concerned they would be seen as somehow soft on illegal immigrants if they offered Spanish portals?
There is a huge Spanish media in the U.S. -- TV, radio, newspapers. The culture, it would seem, would be hard to miss.
Richardson, the New Mexico governor and former U.N. ambassador, was born in California to a Mexican dad and American mom. He is not in the top tier of the presidential popularity polls. He does not have the name recognition, but he may have something more important over a long haul -- a loyal base. And he is speaking to them in a way other Democratic contenders have yet to do.
Since 2002, hispanics have been the nation's largest minority. How could so many campaigns and strategists fail to include them at the start? Is this a blindspot by politicians representing a party that prides itself for welcoming minorities and standing up for their rights and interests?
The Midwest is the region with the fewest hispanics, but there are more than 40 million across the land.