In Latino Tug-of-War Democrats Step to the Plate

"You can't just tout out a brown face or a Spanish surname and expect the people are going to vote for your party or your candidate," Villaraigosa told reporters last week. "So you know, window dressing doesn't do much for a candidate, it's your policies, it's your platform."

Convincing Latinos to turn out, in the Democrats case, or convincing them that the Republican Party is "not a hateful party" toward Latinos could determine whether Romney or Obama are in the White House next year, Nuno said. In battleground states such as Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico and Florida, the Latino population is large enough to swing the election, he said.

"It's not so much that there are 50 million Latinos in the country, it's that Latinos are placed in certain states that have an influence over the election," he said." You lose those states, and you pretty much can't win an election at the national level anymore."

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