"The Fault is not Mine": Latinos and the Future of American Politics
"La culpa no es mía" (“the fault is not mine”) comes to many Latinos minds when they listen to some observers express surprise and disappointment that Hispanic voters, at least according to the official exit polls, may have leaned more to Donald Trump in 2016 than they did to Mitt Romney in 2012.
What can we learn from what happened and how can we prepared for the future? tries to answer Manuel Pastor, Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California, in an in-depth analysis published in the current edition of Prospect Magazine.
According to Pastor, Trump's victory was mainly related to the so-called Blue Wall: the batch of Midwestern states that have been battered by economic change, made anxious by demographic shifts and so were very susceptible to Trump’s unvarnished appeals to racial and economic restoration. But Latinos should consider why we weren't able to mobilize the emerging electorate, particularly the growing Latino population that will constitute roughly 40 percent of the newly eligible electorate between now and 2030 (with the overwhelming majority of that coming from young Latinos turning 18). Any postgame analysis needs to be clear on what exactly happened to the Latino and immigrant electorate this year, as well as on the immediate challenges ahead, particularly the threats posed if Trump’s economic plan crumbles and the deportation sideshow becomes the main psychic payoff to his frustrated voters.
"Believe me when I stress that we obviously need to pay heed to those disaffected white voters and speak to the real economic pain and uncertainty they are facing. Such an approach will be key to a state-by-state strategy (since if there is one thing this election demonstrates convincingly, it’s that states matter)", he says.
Pastor concludes that Latinos are in need to prioritize generating a broad and credible economic alternative.This needs to include a commitment to full employment for all as well as an embrace of the emerging evidence that inequality is actually bad for our economic as well as civic health. Also, he believes we need to step up registration and participation among the growing populations of color—especially Latinos, who are likely to be pushed further left by the policies of the incoming administration.
"These next four years could actually be a lot worse than many even imagine. We will need to defend the most vulnerable, but we will also need to develop new leaders and ideas that help us push the promise of American democracy", writes Pastor. " We will need to rethink and regroup, exploring new strategies even as we stay focused on the task of forging a long-lasting and inclusive coalition. And Latinos, with a large footprint in the working class and an intersectional and multiracial identity forged by challenging exclusion, will be an important part of the progressive future."
Read the full article in Prospect Magazine.