Politics

Early Voting Numbers Reveal the Power of the Latino Vote

October 24th 2016

By:
Tricia Tongco

With election day nearing, people are paying attention to how Latinos are voting.

On Monday, the Hillary Clinton campaign reported an "unprecedented" number of Latinos have already cast their ballot in the crucial swing state of Florida – 133,000 Hispanics, which is a whopping 99 percent increase in Latino voting in the state compared to this point in 2012 election, according to BuzzFeed News.

In Florida, Latinos make up 18.1 percent of of eligible voters, and nationwide, they comprise 12 percent of the electorate, according to the Pew Research Center.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's campaign has struggled with capturing the Latino vote ever since the Republican nominee characterized undocumented Mexican immigrants as criminals and rapists, stated his plan to deport 11 million illegal immigrants, and asserted Mexico would pay for a big wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Those hostile remarks have galvanized a movement by Latin American immigrants to pursue American citizenship and register in key battleground states, reports The Guardian. Jocelyn Sida of Mi Familia Vota, an immigrant rights organization that has partnered with labor unions and advocacy groups to hold "citizenship clinics" for eligible, legal Hispanic immigrants, told The Guardian:

"We as Latinos are always being told that we’re taking jobs or we’re anchor babies, and all these things are very hurtful. It’s getting to the point where folks are frustrated with that type of rhetoric. They realize the only way they can stop this is by getting involved civically.”

A survey by Latino Decisions, conducted independent from the Clinton campaign, reported that Clinton holds a huge lead with Latino voters compared to Trump: 76 percent to 11 percent.

During the 2012 presidential election, the GOP attempted to woo Latino voters, including a strategy of providing bilingual content to Latinos nationwide through Tumblr and Twitter.

In June, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told CNN he was worried about the long-lasting damage Trump has inflicted on the GOP's ability to reach Latino voters, comparing it to how black voters distanced themselves from the Republican Party in 1964 when party leader Barry Goldwater voted against the Civil Rights Act:

"It did define our party, for at least African-American voters, and it still does today. That was a complete shift that occurred that year and we've never be able to get them back."

[h/t BuzzFeed News]