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.)

The second reason why we shouldn't expect the youth-heavy Hispanic electorate to have a huge impact on 2016: They don't reside in many of the key battleground states. The electorates of Virginia, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Pennsylvania are each less than 5 percent Hispanic. The only three battleground states to feature over 10 percent Hispanic populations are Florida (18.1 percent), Nevada (17.2 percent), and Colorado (14.5 percent). It's possible those three states, especially Florida, prove to be instrumental in deciding the presidency, but it's just as probable that the race hinges on one or more of the others.

So, to summarize, these are the major reasons why the swelling Hispanic electorate won't play as much of an impact on 2016:

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

2. Hispanics, especially young Hispanics, vote less often than other demographics.

3. The 2016 ballot will lack an Obama-esque leader capable of bringing millennials to the polls (and Hillary, trust me, the Abuela thing ain't working).

4. Aside from a few notable examples, there aren't many battleground states with a substantial Hispanic population.

All that said, just because the Hispanic electorate is having its awkward coming-of-age moment doesn't mean it won't be a force to be reckoned with in the future. Those Latino millennials won't be in their 20s forever. The considerable growth of that demographic, coupled with the aging of others, means Latinos will be able to throw their weight around in the near future.

Just not that near.


Photo credit: Mario Bocelli / Shutterstock

Source: Pew


Robert Montenegro is a writer and dramaturg who regularly contributes to Big Think and Crooked Scoreboard. He lives in Washington DC and is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

Twitter: @Monteneggroll. Website: robertmontenegro.com.

NYTimes exposé reveals how Facebook handled scandals

Delay, deny and deflect were the strategies Facebook has used to navigate scandals it's faced in recent years, according to the New York Times.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The exhaustive report is based on interviews with more than 50 people with ties to the company.
  • It outlines how senior executives misled the public and lawmakers in regards to what it had discovered about privacy breaches and Russian interference in U.S. politics.
  • On Thursday, Facebook cut ties with one of the companies, Definers Public Relations, listed in the report.
Keep reading Show less

Russian reporters discover 101 'tortured' whales jammed in offshore pens

Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • Russian news network discovers 101 black-market whales.
  • Orcas and belugas are seen crammed into tiny pens.
  • Marine parks continue to create a high-price demand for illegal captures.
Keep reading Show less

Unraveling the mystery behind dogs' floppy ears

Dogs' floppy ears may be part of why they and other domesticated animals love humans so much.

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash
Surprising Science
  • Nearly all domestic animals share several key traits in addition to friendliness to humans, traits such as floppy ears, a spotted coat, a shorter snout, and so on.
  • Researchers have been puzzled as to why these traits keep showing up in disparate species, even when they aren't being bred for those qualities. This is known as "domestication syndrome."
  • Now, researchers are pointing to a group of a cells called neural crest cells as the key to understanding domestication syndrome.
Keep reading Show less