As soon as Barack Obama defeated Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election, the Republican establishment realized that winning future elections required more minority groups’ support and particularly Latino votes.
The GOP primary so far seems to have forgotten that plan as the candidates’ harsh rhetoric against immigrants clearly demonstrates. If Mitt Romney had suggested that unauthorized immigrants should self-deport, Donald Trump has upped the ante, calling for the deportation of the 11 million unauthorized immigrants and building a wall to seal the southern border.
The plan is not just seriously deficient from the point of view of humanity; it’s also politically suicidal considering the rising power of the Latino vote.
The Pew Research Center tells us that 23 million Latinos were eligible voters in 2012. This figure will increase to 27 million in 2016. It’s predicted that 13 million Hispanics will cast ballots in 2016, a 17 percent increase from 2012. The figure could be even higher considering the push to encourage the naturalization of legal Latino residents who are upset at Trump’s offensive rhetoric toward Hispanics.
In fiscal year 2015 the naturalization applications increased by 11 percent and by 14 percent in the least six months. The increase is also due in part because of President Obama’s national campaign to encourage naturalization. Fernando Valenzuela, a famous baseball player in the 1980’s and 90’s who has lived in the U.S. for 35 years, became a citizen last year. He has made a number of ads to encourage legal residents to follow suit.
Of the 8.8 million legal residents in the U.S. eligible to become naturalized citizens 2.7 million are Mexicans. Data from the Pew Research Center tells us that Mexicans have been slower to naturalize, discouraged in part by the bureaucracy but also by the required $680 U.S. dollar fee. Trump’s rhetoric, though, is serving as a spur to do so.
That is bad news for the GOP and its eventual nominee, who at this time appears to be Trump. Although Mexicans tend to be socially conservative, immigration is a very important issue for them. Many remember their own challenges with immigration, may have relatives or friends who struggle with the matter, or are part of a family where some are legal citizens while others are in danger of being deported.
By a significant margin, Latinos tend to register as Democrats. Overall, 60 percent of Latinos are registered Democratic, 20 percent Republican, and the rest independent. Their ideology is split almost even in three parts among conservative, liberal, and moderate.
In so far as active participation in elections, Latinos tend to vote at a lower rate than the average overall turnout (48 percent Latinos in 2012 vs. 62 percent overall).
Nevertheless, the Latino vote has been increasing nationally and its influence can be crucial in a number of swing states like Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, and Florida. These states have been the particular target of naturalization drives which of course will help Democratic candidates.
Ironically, Trump has been a motivating factor in getting more people to become citizens. The New York mogul, though, believes that he will do very well with Hispanics. Exit polls in the recent Nevada caucus would confirm his view since he received 46 percent of the Latino vote. Yet, the sample used there included only the very small number of Latino Republicans who participated in the caucus, making the result close to meaningless. In addition, 7 in 10 Latinos view him unfavorably, according to a survey by The Washington Post and Univision.
In a general election, which would include all eligible Latino voters, Trump is not likely to obtain many Hispanic votes and could lose the presidency. In a hypothetical match up with Hillary Clinton, he’d lose the Latino vote (16 percent Trump, 73 percent Clinton), according to a poll. Those figures are consistent with historical results where Latinos tend to vote for Democratic candidates.
Yet Trump, in spite of his ugly comments about Mexicans, believes he’ll do very well with Hispanics. That might eventually depend on voter turnout. So far, Trump’s support has come primarily from angry white voters who are disappointed with the Republican Party establishment. Latino voters are also angry and may show up en masse not because of enthusiasm for Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, but rather to vote against Trump.
By Domenico Maceri for TYT
Domenico Maceri, PhD UC Santa Barbara, is a freelance writer and college instructor living in San Luis Obispo, California. Some of his articles have won awards from the National Association of Hispanic Publications.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of The Yucatan Times.
more recommended stories
Cancun, an example of tourism promotion for Japan
A Quintana Roo delegation of FONATUR.
Homicides in Mexico increase 17% so far in 2018
Intentional homicides in Mexico has increased.
Expats Feel at Home in Mexico; InterNations Survey
InterNations.org recently released the results of.
Through the implementation of AMLO’s austerity plan, the government could save 132 billion pesos in 2019
As wages for high government officials.
Japanese delegation comes to Mérida to strengthen bilateral relationship
The project of the Chicxulub crater.
First house entirely made of Sargassum built by Mexican inventor in Quintana Roo
PUERTO MORELOS, Q. Roo, September 20,.
Protests in Homun, Yucatan against the opening of mega pig farm
On Friday September 21, the conflict.
Day of the Dead Parade Mexico City, three years stunning the world
For the third year in a.
Viva Aerobus announces new direct flights between Cancun and the U.S.
Viva Aerobus, the ultra low cost.
Vessel control centers urgently needed in Quintana Roo
“A control center like the one.