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Gary Younge
The perfect storm

Two trends, one demographic one political, point to what could be a seismic shift in the America's electoral landscape that could take effect as early as November. The first is confirmed by the US census bureau which yesterday reestablished Latinos as the largest minority group and fastest growing of any ethnicity. Almost half of the nation's population increase from 2004 to 2005 comprised Hipsanic children . The second is voter drive announced by the We Are America Alliance. The demonstrations of the past few months show an ability to mobilise and a general sense of defiance among a section of the Hispanic community. Whether that translates anything electoral or political has yet to be seen. Most Latinos in the US are not allowed to vote because they are too young or undocumented. Only half of those who are do so. But the alliance's announcement yesterday suggests a desire to capitalise on the energy of the recent marches that could change all that.

A substantial increase in the Latino vote could make Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona and even Arkansas even more competitive in coming presidential elections. But even sooner than that it could spark a huge swelling of the electorate in time for November's mid-terms. If the immigration issue is what brings them to the polls then that will be bad news for most Republicans, who aggressively wooed the Latino vote in 2000. A high Latino turnout could be part of the perfect storm that blows Republican domination of Congress out of the water.

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Stranger in a Strange Land – Encounters in the Disunited States
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