As the U.S. takes a step closer towards Election Day 2016, many of the country’s Latino citizens have not yet realized the potential power their community represents. With the total amount of speculations Republican candidate Donald Trump has created, the Latino Community is currently facing critical moments in which many are not sure what possible outcomes the upcoming elections might bring. In fact, many are terrified with just the thought of Donald Trump becoming the next president of the United States.
Through his speculations, the Republican candidate has demonstrated to be non-other than a demagogue exploiting prejudice and ignorance among the nation. He has targeted undocumented immigrants consistently calling each and every one of them “criminals, killers, and rapists.” For him, nothing has been easier than to blame immigrants for the worst problems the nation currently faces. Of course, why not target the most vulnerable and defenseless group in order to make gains within the polls? Donald Trump is aware the vast majority of undocumented immigrants won’t dare take a stand due to fear of deportation. Towards undocumented immigrants, he has made accusations of crime, threats of mass deportations, plans for building a massive southern wall, and efforts to deny them citizenship.
However, the increasing turnout of Latino voters could play a key factor during these upcoming elections. According to the Epoch Times, approximately 27.3 million Latinos will be eligible to vote this year. This meaning the Latino community represents a strong potential power for determining the outcome.
Looking back at the 2008 elections, Senator Barrack Obama won 67 percent of the Latino vote followed by Senator John McCain with only 31 percent. The outcome resulted in Sen. Obama becoming the 44th president of the United States. Following that event, during the elections of 2012, President Obama once again obtained majority of the Latino vote with 71 percent, leaving his opponent Mitt Romney with only 27 percent. The outcome, President Obama remained in office for a second term.
According to the Pew Research Center’s projections, about 3.2 million young Latino U.S. citizens will have turned 18 making up almost half the Latino number of potential voters. Unfortunately, the number is somewhat muted by a low voter registration rate within the Latino community. The main reason is said to be because Latinos are not fully flexing their voting muscles, according to Laird W. Bergard, director of the Center for Latin American, Caribbean & Latino Studies (CLACLS) at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center.
In order to turn up at the polls in large numbers, Latinos must register. But, how will the community manage to do so? According to Edward D. Vargas, a senior analyst at Latino Decisions, getting young Latinos out to the polls will be the key. He states:
“Latinos always have the most first-time voters every year, which means we need more outreach and can’t just assume everybody has been voting all their lives.”
In a recent McClatchy-Marist poll, Senator Hillary Clinton is currently in the lead when it comes to support from Latinos with 55 percent to 26 percent over Donald Trump. In addition, majority of young Latinos, ages 18-30, also support Clinton with 43 percent to 11 percent over Trump. Nonetheless, it should not be assumed Latinos will vote in record numbers this year. Political parties and Latino advocacy groups must continue to outreach the community in order to inform young and old Latinos about the importance of voting.
Currently, the leading Spanish-media Univision is coordinating events, with the help of its 126 local TV and radio stations across the nation, in order to further outreach the Latino community. As well as through its digital platforms, Univision also provides access to informative videos and tips on how to participate in the election. Meanwhile, HBO is planning to launch a program special in Mid-September called “Habla y Vota” (Speak Up and Vote) in order to accomplish the same mission. The program will feature high-profile Latinos such as journalist Jorge Ramos, comedian George Lopez, and entertainers like Prince Royce and Adrienne Bailon.
It is very important for young and old Latinos to vote during these upcoming elections. Together, they can make a difference and help prevent Donald Trump’s demagogic slanders, which will end up tearing this great nation apart, from spreading.
Moreno, Denisse. “Increasing Latino Turnout Could Play Key Role in Election.” The Epoch Times [New York] 12 Aug. 2016, Epoch Weekend ed., Issue 107 sec.: A3. Print.
Ramos, Jorge. “Taking a Stand in 2016.” Take a Stand: Lessons from Rebels. New York: Celebra, 2016. 16-19. Print.