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Politics & Current Affairs

4 Reasons Candidates Won’t Go After the Latino Vote This Election

The American Hispanic electorate is growing rapidly, but facts about voting trends among minorities and youths indicate they're still years away from holding real power.

The 4 truths about the Latino electorate that will impact the 2016 election:

1. Young people eligible to vote don’t show up to the polls.

2. Hispanics vote less often than other demographics.

3. The 2016 ballot will lack Obama.

4. Not many battleground states have a substantial Hispanic population.

One of the common motifs in political coverage is the looming shadow cast by the rapidly growing Hispanic electorate. Headlines across the media stress how important it is for the GOP to attract Latino voters, or how vital it is for Hillary Clinton to maintain support among young Hispanics. And while Latinos remain among America’s fastest growing demographics, a new report from the Pew Research Center suggests that the Hispanic electorate won’t impact the 2016 general election to quite the degree many people expect. Let’s go over the reasons for that.

First, as the report stresses in its lede, millennials make up nearly half of all eligible Latino voters:

“The median age among the nation’s 35 million U.S.-born Latinos is only 19 (Stepler and Brown, 2015), and Latino youth will be the main driver of growth among Latino eligible voters over the next two decades.”

The main issue here is that there’s a huge difference between eligible voters and registered voters: Only half of eligible Latino millennials actually registered to vote in the 2012 presidential election.

Even registered voters don’t always cast a ballot. Only 48 percent of eligible Hispanics actually voted in 2012, and only 37 percent of eligible Hispanic millennials. Compare those figures to the total population: 62 percent of eligible voters hit the polls that year. And among millennials: blacks (55 percent) and whites (47.5 percent). 

You also have to factor in how much of an impact Barack Obama’s name on the ballot had on eligible millennials, whose support of the president was key to both his victories. It’s entirely possible fewer young voters will hit the polls this November due to lack of interest in the main candidates.

And even though Obama’s candidacy spurred the African-American electorate toward action, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, who are each of Cuban descent, are not expected to sway traditionally left-leaning Latino voters. (The other Republican frontrunner, Donald Trump, has about as much a chance of carrying the Latino vote as the Titanic does of reaching New York port this year.)


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