Throughout recent election cycles, we have all witnessed the increasing influence of the Hispanic population in our nation's political process. Various decades ago, it was strikingly rare to hear a presidential candidate express a word or two in Spanish or even attempt to woo the Hispanic vote along the campaign trail.
Today, it's a whole different ballgame. Without the Hispanic vote, there is no moving into the first executive mansion; call off the moving company. There will be no party. No habra fiesta.
When analyzing electoral data from the past two national electoral cycles, we can accurately conclude that the Hispanic vote played a crucial, if not decisive role, in President Barack Obama's victories in 2008 and 2012. However, who would have thought decades ago that we now face the possibility of having a Hispanic on the presidential ticket for both the Democratic and Republican parties in 2016?
The Hispanic vote within key battleground states was essential for President Obama's victory in 2012, in which 71 percent of Hispanics voted for his re-election, the highest percentage of electoral support among Hispanics since Bill Clinton recorded 72 percent in 1996.
National electoral data in recent years indicate that Republicans win the presidential election when they are able to reach the magic number of 35 percent of support among Hispanics, like George W. Bush did in 2000 (35 percent) and 2004 (40 percent). One can make a strong case that the razor-thin victory of George W. Bush in 2000 could have been influenced by the Hispanic vote in Florida. Did I mention his brother, Jeb Bush, who was Florida governor at the time, speaks perfect Spanish and that his wife is Hispanic?
Today, it is rumored that Jeb Bush will be seeking the Republican Party nomination for president in 2016, which would set the stage for an epic political showdown between him and Democratic Party superstar Hillary Clinton.
However, despite the attention that this possible political matchup could generate, more exciting is the possible showdown of two Hispanics for the vice presidency of the United States. On the Democratic ticket, rumors continue to grow about former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro becoming Hillary Clinton's running mate.
On the Republican side, current New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is rumored to be the early frontrunner to be tapped for the vice presidency. The wild-card VP candidate for Republicans seems to be former Gov. of Puerto Rico Luis Fortuño, who could inflict some serious damage on Democrats in the state of Florida, where there is a high population of Puerto Ricans.
Within the Republican Party, we may never see a Hispanic running for president, because I do not see that party ever being willing to accept a minority as its nominee for president, much less under the current tea-party hijacking of the GOP. Republicans have been stricken with a cancer called the tea party. That cancer is not showing signs of fading, and it is, in fact, spreading, according to recent state elections where tea-party candidates have defeated "establishment" Republicans like Eric Cantor.
Now some may disagree with me, and that is fine. That is the beauty of democracy. However, there is more. Democratic candidate for Florida governor Charlie Crist recently announced Hispanic Annette Taddeo as his running mate, if he wins the primary election. Crist and Taddeo would face Gov. Rick Scott and his running mate, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, also a Hispanic.
At the end of the day, 2016 will be a year of celebration for Hispanics, as we possibly may end up watching two Hispanics exchanging ideas and proposals during the nationally televised vice-presidential debate.
That day, when millions of Hispanic families nestle in our homes and watch that debate, surrounded by family, we will be able to slightly alter legendary Hispanic civil rights and labor leader Cesar Chavez's historic phrase of "Si, Se Puede" (Yes, We Can) to "Si, Se Pudo ... y lo logramos" (Yes, We Could … and we did it).
Phillip Arroyo is a juris-doctor student at Florida A&M College of Law in Orlando, and he was a 2012 White House Intern.