As a Red Sox-hating, white New Yorker who remains unconvinced that Boston is a real city, I should have no interest in its upcoming mayoral election.
But I am interested, because this race is a herald of a nationwide power-shift, as its outcome will likely be determined by Boston's Latino population. This population, though historically scapegoated, marginalized, and slandered, holds more electoral power than ever before. It’s no mystery that politicians like City Councilor John Connolly, running for mayor of Boston, are now vying for their vote and catering to their needs.
We’ve probably all seen some incarnation of this graph, which shows that by 2050, the U.S. will be a majority non-white nation:
Politicians are taking notice of these changing demographics — the Boston mayoral race is just one example of their response. John Connolly recognizes that Boston is a "majority minority" city, and believes this will have real consequences for his election. He told the Boston Herald, that "the Latino vote across this city could decide who the next mayor is," and added: "It’s going to be a really tight election."
In an interview last week with a local radio station, WBUR, Connolly described some programs he would instate if elected mayor. "I want to keep schools open at night and have them as places for adult learning, where we can do English as a second language,[and] adult education generally."
This emphasis on adult education would be most beneficial to the Latino community, where some people struggle with reading and writing in English. To offer classes after 5 would allow individuals in Boston's "majority minority" to pursue their education without disrupting work schedules. Connolly also discussed the need to expand public transportation in Boston; another improvement to daily life for the city's Latino population, which relies heavily on mass transportation. Finally, when asked his opinion on a proposal for a casino in East Boston, Connolly responded, "Nobody in East Boston is actually asking what I think...What I’ve heard loud and clear from East Boston is: 'Let us decide'...it’s the community’s voice that is most important."
Connolly has catered to Boston's Latino population in a respectful and smart way. This burgeoning population controlled Connolly's platform, and will likely determine the election's outcome. This power play bodes well for the Latino community in future elections, both on a local and national level. If our Latino population — which will more than double by 2050 — can create a cohesive platform across the country, they could create significant changes in Washington.
Latino millennials can use the organizing capability of social media to make a political platform for their entire community. By 2050, the power of the vote will be in the hands of our non-white majority.
If politicians want to remain in office, they better start considering their needs today.