Is the Obama presidency an example of the kind of problems other ethnic candidates could face in future races for President of the United States, pre and post election?
Barack Obama has certainly blazed a path for other hopeful minorities. Julie Weise, a professor of Latino history at the University of Oregon, said Obama came out of nowhere to win the presidency, so it is possible for another minority candidate to do the same. Weise is also author of a soon to be released book called "Corazon De Dixie," about Mexican immigration to the South since 1910.
"I think it proved it can be done in a primary," she said. "Now, we know it's possible."
Weise said that Obama succeeded because his message showed that he was not interested in addressing past grievances. This appealed to white America.
"I wasn't surprised," she said. "I thought if a minority was president it would be after the civil rights generation."
Weise said the Obama presidency is an example of the kind of problems another minority candidate would face. Weise said that most of the opposition to Obama has come from the fact that he comes from a non-white, immigrant background. His opponent have asked question such as "Is he loyal to America?" and "Was he born in America?"
"Latino candidates will face the same questions," Weise said. An Asian American candidate would also face the same problems. "Asian Americans have a long history of being considered non American," Weise said. However she said the right Latino candidate with a nationalistic message could win the presidency. "The electorate has shown they can overcome this issue," Weise said,
Weise added that the growing Latino population would be pivotal in future elections. However, Latinos are predominantly Democrats because of the anti-immigrant rhetoric coming out of the GOP.
"The Republicans have managed to create a Latino vote," Weise said. "The harder the GOP goes to the right, the easier it will be for Democrats to win national elections."
Weise added that Republican views such as all Latinos are a drain of society, they are not "real Americans" and "these people are taking over," have turned many Latino voters off.
"The GOP has turned immigration into a debate on Latinos," Weise said.
Weise predicts that there will be an alliance between black and Latino voters. Although the media loves to talk about the problems between blacks and Latinos, Weise says the groups have often come together to support candidates like former Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley.
"Latinos were incredibly supportive of Obama," Weise said. She expects that African-Americans will return that support to a Latino candidate.