POLITICS

Impact of Hispanic Vote Likely in 2016 and Beyond

July 11, 2012, 4:52 a.m.

As the 2012 pres­id­en­tial elec­tion ap­proaches, no eth­nic group is more coveted than Lati­nos. But the real press for this po­ten­tial polit­ic­al force will likely take place in the next dec­ade, as the re­l­at­ively young Latino pop­u­la­tion ages in­to the elect­or­ate, a noted demo­graph­ic policy ana­lyst says.

“The dis­cus­sion of the Latino voter is the dis­cus­sion of the fu­ture of polit­ics, not about this [elec­tion] cycle,” Robert Suro, a pro­fess­or of journ­al­ism and pub­lic policy at the Uni­versity of South­ern Cali­for­nia, told a small as­sembly on Monday in Wash­ing­ton. “Where this cycle can have a big dif­fer­ence,” he said, is how it “casts tra­ject­or­ies in­to the fu­ture.”

Un­der­stand­ing the fu­ture im­pact of the grow­ing Latino elect­or­ate con­tin­ues to be of great in­terest to think tanks, ana­lysts, and the polit­ic­al parties. On Tues­day at the New Amer­ica Found­a­tion headquar­ters in Wash­ing­ton, Michele Salcedo, pres­id­ent of the Na­tion­al As­so­ci­ation of His­pan­ic Journ­al­ists, mod­er­ated an event titled “2012 (Veinte Doce): The Latino Elec­tion?” Suro was on a lineup that also in­cluded Al­ex­an­dra Starr and Tamar Jac­oby, both New Amer­ica fel­lows fo­cused on im­mig­ra­tion is­sues, and polit­ic­al journ­al­ist Manuel Roig-Fran­zia, au­thor of The Marco Ru­bio Ef­fect.

Ac­cord­ing to the found­a­tion, an es­tim­ated 50,000 Lati­nos turn 18 each month. The white pop­u­la­tion, on the oth­er hand, has re­mained stag­nant in terms of size and pop­u­la­tion growth, Suro said.

In sev­en of the na­tion’s largest 15 cit­ies, people of col­or already make up the ma­jor­ity, ac­cord­ing to re­cent data from the U.S. census.

Part of the Latino growth, Suro said, is at­trib­uted to a high fer­til­ity rate and im­mig­ra­tion. But the num­bers don’t ne­ces­sar­ily trans­late in­to Novem­ber votes, in part, be­cause this group is re­l­at­ively young.

“School­chil­dren don’t vote. They only de­pend on voters,” Suro said. “A child takes 18 years to be­come a voter. There’s no way around that.”

About 58 per­cent of the Latino pop­u­la­tion in the U.S. is not eli­gible to vote, either be­cause they are too young or be­cause they are not U.S. cit­izens.

“On Elec­tion Day, they have no role to play,” Suro said, ad­dress­ing cur­rent demo­graph­ics. “They have no voice in our civic af­fairs.”

That’s not to down­play the po­ten­tial ef­fect of the Latino vote dur­ing this pres­id­en­tial elec­tion. In some battle­ground states, in­clud­ing Flor­ida, Col­or­ado, and Nevada, Lati­nos made up more than 10 per­cent of the voters in 2008.

In the “big” battle­ground states, in­clud­ing Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wis­con­sin, “there’s not a (sig­ni­fic­ant) Latino vote to speak of,” Suro said. Yet each is a state where a few hun­dred votes could make a dif­fer­ence in the out­come.

A scattered or un­der­mo­tiv­ated His­pan­ic elect­or­ate in those states “makes it dif­fi­cult way to run a large-scale polit­ic­al mo­bil­iz­a­tion,” he ex­plained.

The two-hour event gen­er­ated in­sights in­to oth­er is­sues rel­ev­ant to the His­pan­ic/Latino pop­u­la­tion. Among the high­lights:

  • No such thing as a co­hes­ive His­pan­ic vot­ing bloc. The vot­ing Latino pop­u­la­tion is di­verse in many states, par­tic­u­larly Flor­ida. The es­tab­lished Cuban pop­u­la­tion, new ar­rivals from Pu­erto Rico and New York, as well from South Amer­ica, en­sure an ex­tra level of com­plex­ity. Ad­dress­ing “a whole hodge­podge” presents chal­lenges for polit­ic­al strategists.
  • Win­ning by a whisker. In Col­or­ado and Nevada, where a few hun­dred votes can swing an elec­tion, the His­pan­ic vote is cru­cial. “You’re talk­ing about wheth­er a 4 or 5 per­cent shift of Latino vote in Col­or­ado will pro­duce a .2 per­cent or .3 per­cent dif­fer­ence in the total vote,” Suro said. “That might ac­tu­ally make a dif­fer­ence.”
  • Walk­ing on a tightrope. There’s an ex­pect­a­tion that Latino politi­cians de­sire an open im­mig­ra­tion policy, Roig-Fran­zia said, but that is a bit too clear cut. Ru­bio, for ex­ample, favored the Ari­zona “show me your pa­per” law, op­poses in-state tu­ition for un­doc­u­mented im­mig­rant stu­dents, and co­sponsored E-Veri­fy. At the same time, Ru­bio has ad­voc­ated his al­tern­at­ive Dream Act that would ap­peal to Latino voters and the GOP’s base. “He’s not just on a tightrope—he’s on a tightrope 100 stor­ies high,” Roig-Fran­zia said.
  • Elec­tion back­fire. Mak­ing im­mig­ra­tion a polit­ic­al wedge is­sue can po­ten­tially make it harder to find a solu­tion, Jac­oby said. You can’t pass im­mig­ra­tion re­form without Re­pub­lic­ans and Demo­crats, she said. Even when Demo­crats con­trolled both houses of Con­gress, no im­mig­ra­tion re­form passed. Re­pub­lic­ans are also split. “The trick with im­mig­ra­tion re­form is put­ting to­geth­er a pack­age that ap­peals to enough people from both parties to get across the fin­ish line.”
What We're Following See More »
CORNYN, GRAHAM NEXT IN LINE
Grassley Will Chair Judiciary Committee, Leave Finance
1 hours ago
THE LATEST
RULES NOW ENTER PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD
DeVos Overhauls Guidance to Colleges on Sex Misconduct Cases
2 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has updated the Obama administration's controversial rules on how colleges handle claims of sexual misconduct by students under Title IX. "The proposed new rules aim to significantly enhance legal protections for the accused, and reflect a sentiment expressed personally by President Trump that men are being unfairly presumed guilty." The rules, which must undergo a public comment period, would allow schools to elevate the burden of proof in sex cases to "clear and convincing evidence." They would also permit cross-examination, and lift time limits on investigations.

Source:
ACOSTA GETS PRESS PASS BACK
Judge Rules In Favor Of CNN
2 hours ago
THE LATEST
ACCIDENTALLY REVEALED IN ANOTHER LAWSUIT
Julian Assange Charged Under Seal
2 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been charged under seal, prosecutors inadvertently revealed in a recently unsealed court filing ... The disclosure came in a filing in a case unrelated to Assange. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kellen S. Dwyer, urging a judge to keep the matter sealed, wrote that 'due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged.' Later, Dwyer wrote the charges would 'need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested.'" Assange has lived in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London since 2012, "afraid that if he steps outside he will be arrested."

Source:
CHARGED WITH AIDING COAL COMPANY
EPA Official Arrested on Felony Charges
3 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The Trump administration’s top environmental official for the Southeast was arrested Thursday on criminal ethics charges in Alabama reported to be related to a scheme to help a coal company avoid paying for a costly toxic waste cleanup."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login