The Hispanic community represents the largest racial minority in the United States and will go to the November 3 elections with more potential voters than ever: some 32 million people. Mobilization continues to be the great challenge for a group that begins little by little to ask for a voice in an ‘establishment’ where it is still underrepresented.
The Hispanic population grew to 60.6 million people in 2019, 18% of the total population – two points more than in 2010 and 13 more than in 1970-. For the first time, in the next elections they will be the most representative minority of the electorate, with 13% of the total, according to Pew Research Center.
The electoral system in the United States, where the distribution of power among the different states somewhat eclipses the popular vote, also diminishes the possible effect of a minority concentrated mainly in five states. Only California accumulated in 2018 a quarter of the Latino electorate, followed by Texas, Florida, New York and Arizona.
Furthermore, Hispanics have traditionally been a group with little political involvement, something that is changing “little by little”, in the words of the president of the Hispanic Council, Daniel Ureña. In the 2018 legislative elections, her vote set a new record, but “there is still a long way to go.”
“Not only from the participation in the polls, but from direct involvement in public office. In this sense, the Hispanic community is underrepresented, “he acknowledges. Not surprisingly, no Latino has managed to place himself among the favorites of the primaries for the major parties. The growing involvement in political issues would be derived from the change of profile of a group where four out of every five people are now full citizens of the US 41% of adults have attended college, while 71% of those over the age of five speak English correctly – in 2000 only 59% spoke it.
Statistics show that the Hispanic community has traditionally voted on the Democratic side, something that became palpable in 2012, when 71% spoke out in favor of the reelection of Barack Obama as president of the United States. Four years later, Hillary Clinton also dragged the Latino vote, albeit less, with 66% support.
A recent poll published by NBC News, ‘The Wall Street Journal’ and Telemundo puts 62% the level of support for the current Democratic candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden. Only 26% have decided since they will vote in favor of Republican Donald Trump, who aspires to continue four more years in the White House. The data, however, hides greater support for Trump from Latinos over 40, where the current president would obtain a 35% support, compared to 53% received by Biden, according to this poll.
“It is not a monolithic block”
Ureña anticipates that, after the lower support obtained by Clinton regarding Obama, “in these elections the same thing can happen.” But it qualifies. “From Spain we see the Hispanic electorate as a monolithic bloc whose main concern is immigration but this analysis does not correspond to reality, “he adds, warning that it would be” a great mistake “for the Democratic Party to take support for granted.
In this sense, he points out that the issues that concern them “They are the same as the rest of the voters”, as shown by a survey by the Pew Research Center that places the economy as the main concern of the Hispanic community (80 percent), one point above even the average of the general population.
Health care, the coronavirus pandemic and racial inequality complete the top positions, while immigration, one of the great emblems of the Trump campaign in 2016, does not appear until eighth place, identified as concern by 59% of the people interviewed – seven points more than the average.
“The issue of immigration, despite being very mediatic, It has not generated the electoral movement that many expected“says Ureña, in whose opinion” the economic situation and the management of the pandemic may currently be the two most important issues for the country and for the Hispanic community in particular. “
In fact, he adds, “it must not be forgotten that, with Trump, unemployment among Hispanic citizens reached record lows and the income of the Hispanic community grew a lot “.” If the economic recovery continues during the next weeks it will be an important argument for Hispanic voters, “he explains.
The Hispanic vote It could be key in states where the balance has not finished turning and where this community has a significant demographic weightlike Arizona and Florida. In the latter state, Biden last week specifically addressed these voters, accusing Trump of “failing the Hispanic community over and over again.” Trump, meanwhile, is struggling to convince Latinos that Biden would be a “disaster” for them and is not throwing in the towel. At a recent event in Arizona, the president said that Hispanic voters would lean toward the Republican side because they are “tough people, people who are going to produce jobs.”