The Latino Vote, a Democratic distress
Just days before the midterm elections, many anticipate that the Democratic strategy to win the Latino vote continues to fail, which would put at risk their…
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What was a failure during the 2016 elections is now an obsession for the Democrats.
The Latino vote has proved to be the decisive force to recover the majority in Congress during the upcoming midterm elections, and the Democratic Party seems to be doing everything it can to convince one of the most-attacked communities by the Trump administration to participate in the elections and be able to finally change the way things are being done.
But this is far from straightforward.
The heterogeneity of the Hispanic community in the United States is often underestimated. Despite President Trump's anti-immigrant measures, many overlook, for example, the fundamental conservative element among some Latinos, and are otherwise blind to the fact that immigration is not the only factor that can determine a Democratic vote for Latinos.
As columnist Leon Krauze explained, "Hispanic voters were supposed to be the party’s future. It’s not working out that way."
In his article for Slate, Krauze compares the statistics of various communities nationwide, showing that while women in general and African-Americans strongly disapprove of Donald Trump, Latinos are not as homogeneous in their opinion.
Paradoxically, "while Trump was enacting his anti-immigrant agenda, Latino voters seemed to have slowly warmed up to the president," Krauze explains. "In last week’s NPR/PBS/Marist poll, 41 percent of Hispanics approved of Trump's performance (black Americans? 12 percent)."
Likewise, the author compared the figures with other surveys that maintain Trump's approval among Latinos at approximately 35 percent, a few points short of the approval of President Barack Obama.
The reason is simpler than it seems: Latinos do not categorically reject President Trump because their concern is not only focused on immigration but mainly on the economy and job opportunities.
Recovering the support of a community like Latinos in such a short time can be a nightmare for the Democratic strategists, especially when the pressure has been placed on campaigns in favor of immigration and against the less popular policies of the White House, while leaving aside issues that the Trump Administration has championed, like economic growth.
"We’re at a very unique time in our political space because of Donald Trump, and if we miss this opportunity now, we may never get this opportunity again," said Chuck Rocha, a Democratic strategist who works with major Latino organizations, to the Washington Post. "And it keeps me awake at night.”
In the same way, the lack of total strategic insight on the part of the Democratic campaign is not the only issue that concerns the party, but also the lack of enthusiasm and the willingness to participate in the democratic exercise of the vote, another of the main anxieties in the run-up to elections that could change everything.
"People are angry, but it doesn’t necessarily make them want to vote," Mary Moreno, an activist with the Texas Organizing Project for the Latino vote, told NBC. "They’re like, 'Why even bother voting if people like Trump are going to win?'"
To convince the Latino electorate to vote against a political machine that labeled them "rapists" from the first minute seems to be a shoo-in, but the late recognition of the Hispanic force by the Democratic Party gave a wide territory of advantage to Republicans.
Now, with a golden opportunity at the door, there is a risk of making strategic mistakes - such as focusing only on specific states like Texas and Florida, or spending all the energy on the immigration issue while also losing the definitive impulse to put a halt to Trump's White House.
However, the reality is that U.S. politics took an irreversible turn: the strength of the Latino vote will not be underestimated ever again.