Four myths about the Hispanic vote | USA elections

| |

Spread the love

A demonstration of Latinos in support of Trump, last Sunday in Miami.MARIO CRUZ / EFE

Hispanic voters have become the largest minority in the United States for the first time this year. With their 32 million people entitled to vote, 13.3% of the total US electorate, they have surpassed the number of registered African Americans, according to calculations by the Pew Research Center. And the number does not stop growing. Each year, around 800,000 citizens of immigrants or of Latin American descent are included in the voter census, and the majority of those who will vote in the next elections on November 3 are under 35 years old. It is an important group to achieve the presidency of the country, with a presence in key states for the election and which both Donald Trump and Joe Biden intend to conquer. But there are still false beliefs about their behavior.

The Latino vote has traditionally been conceived as a bloc, that is, as citizens who share the same political interests and, therefore, tend to vote for the same party. Also, that they generally support the Democrats – for issues such as access to education and health or opportunities for social advancement – although there is a certain fear in Joe Biden's party of falling below expectations in this group in territories like Florida. It is also often taken for granted that their main concern is immigration issues and that they also tend to vote less. All these myths, installed for decades in the American collective imagination, have been dismantled over the years.

The block vote

On the first point, the founder of the association to promote the Hispanic vote Mi Familia Vota, Ben Monterroso, a Guatemalan immigrant who has been fighting for Latino representation for more than 40 years in the United States, explains why the uniformity of the vote no longer makes sense. . "The first thing to do is distinguish between Latinos who came to this country and those who were born here," he says. Seven in 10 are second and third generation, born in the United States, with an immigrant parent or with parents also born in the United States, according to census figures.

Among the total of Latinos with the right to vote in the country, 59% are Mexican, 14% are Puerto Rican, 5% of Cuban origin and 22% of other Hispanic origins, according to 2016 figures presented by Pew Research Center. And although it may seem that they seek the same end, this belief does not match the results at the polls.

Hispanic voters in California have, since the 1990s, given clear support to the Democrats; while Cuban migrants and descendants have traditionally voted for the Republican Party. Until 2019, according to the agency's figures, 65% of Puerto Ricans and 59% of Mexicans supported the Democratic Party; contrasting with the support of Cubans for this party, only 37%. The statistics for these elections point to a 7-3 dynamic. Three in 10 would vote Republicans and seven Democrats, according to Latino Decisions polls.

They are all Democrats

Trump won the White House after insulting and criminalizing an entire community, calling its members "rapists and murderers," and promising to build a wall between Mexico and the United States. After that campaign, the support of Hispanics was almost 30%. In previous elections, George W. Bush set a record for Latino support with 40% in the 2004 election. Analysts fear that, although the Republican Party appears to have moved away from Latino voters in these years with the Trump Administration, Democrats have failed to capitalize on it.

“California didn't change overnight, we changed California,” says Monterroso. “Before 1994 it was a presumably Republican state, but after Gov. Pete Wilson's proposal (Proposition 187) against migration, I was born politically. Those years we organized. We have turned the attacks on the Latino community into instruments to motivate our people to participate. Today in Arizona, those young people that I saw in 2010 fighting against another conservative proposal are fighting and can change the reality of the State, ”explains the activist.

Migration, your main concern

Census data explains that the vast majority are not immigrants, much less undocumented. 75% were born in the United States, so their concerns are more like those of any other citizen. "It is one of the myths, because with that they say that we are all undocumented, but we are 60 million people and most have documents and can vote," says Monterroso.

Before the pandemic, the majority of registered Latino voters had expressed interest in raising the minimum wage, creating stricter laws on gun ownership, and greater government involvement in access to healthcare, according to a national survey from the Pew Research Center.

“The immigration issue worries and bothers us because we see our pasts and we see the separation of families, the treatment they give them. But the most important issues are the economy, education, health, the environment and, yes, an immigration reform later. Because almost 80% of us have an acquaintance or relative who arrived undocumented ”, explains Monterroso.

The sleeping giant

Participation at the polls since the 1980s has traditionally been low compared to other groups. Latino Decisions points out that while more than 60% of the white or African-American population turn out to vote, Latinos only do so in 48%. "The number of Latinos who could and did not vote has exceeded the number who did vote in every presidential election since 1996," said the Pew Research Center.

Some elements that have affected participation are, as they list, the youth of the electorate – almost a million Americans of Latino origin turn 18 each year – the need for more efforts by the States to promote electoral registration and the approach of the candidates to the Latino community. “There is always talk of the sleeping giant. But he is not asleep, he has always been working ”, explains Monterroso.

The activist looks hopefully to 2024. That year two electoral processes will coincide, that of Mexico and that of the United States, and taking into account that 60% of the Latino electorate is Mexican, it is possible that a greater number of voters will mobilize. “Although we are not a uniform community, we come from places where politics is not something unfortunately, and I speak in general, that we see as a solution, on the contrary, sometimes as a problem. And hence much of the indifference. But if that year many more are involved in the electoral processes, there may be a change in dynamics, ”says Monterroso. “I hope that in 2024 we will see the fruits of what we have been working on. May it be the year of Latinos ”, he adds.

Subscribe here to newsletter about elections in the United States

Spread the love

The United States said that China collects genetic data from residents of other countries

Vilnius suspended the allocation of funds to Belarus under the EU program


Leave a Comment