2020 has been inarguably an unpredictable and complicated year. It has reshaped the future of this country and most probably the outcome of the next presidential election. And although the pandemic has been and still is the unexpected factor that is changing not only our country but the world, the country is realizing more and more that, as Jorge Ramos wrote in the New York Times, “There is no route to the White House without Latinx voters”.
Moreover, at Moira, we firmly believe that today more than ever, Latinx need more political representation so that no one has to, or gets to, speak for us. It’s baffling that we are more than 18% of the US population and yet there are only four Latinx Senators.
It does matter if us – Latinx voters – vote or not and our actions will have political, and even global consequences. This 2020 election marks the first time that we will be the largest racial or ethnic minority in the electorate, with 32 million eligible voters.
Does anybody know how Latinx will vote?
We will likely make up 13% of voters in November, and we have been evolving. Our culture has changed.
“No soy de aquí ni soy de allá” was a true statement a few years ago, but now it is more likely “soy de aquí pero a mi manera”.
Meaning: Neither from here, nor from there, I am from here in my own way.
Latinx are a diverse community, and nowadays, to see them as one block is a rather simplistic view.
There is a belief that the majority of Hispanics routinely vote Democratic. But it is also true that a sizable minority consistently votes for the Republican nominee in presidential elections. As Ronald Reagan famously said, “Latinos are Republican. They just don’t know it yet.” In fact, according to Pew Research, in the 2016 campaign, 28% of Hispanics voted for Donald Trump, and their support has been increasing in key states. The truth is no one really knows if Latinx are becoming more Republican, Democrat, or Independent, which is consistent with the diversity of the community.
Although Latinx have the potential to reshape the country’s political dynamics, we still don’t see a strong and consistent effort nationwide to mobilize these Americans, neither by political parties or by activists.
Are they being taken for granted by everybody?
Beyond the preconceived idea that Latinx 1) will vote for democrats and 2) Latino voters are a “sleeping giant” too unreliable to count on, there are many variables and the stakes are too high to sit back and watch what happens.
Not just the pandemic, but this presidency has created significant change in the lives of the community, and at Moira, we want to make sure that one of the things Latinx will have learned is that voting does matter, and elections do have consequences.
What we are seeing today, is that there are 4 main areas of interest that are shaping Hispanic vote:
1- Religion: Traditionally Catholics, a growing number of Hispanics are Protestants or Evangelical Christians, a group that, like their non-Hispanic coreligionists, is far more inclined toward conservative values.
2- Economy: Hispanics rate the economy as the No.1 issue in the election, at 80% according to a recent Pew Research survey.
3- Fear of socialism: that word raises real fear among those whose families have lived under Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, Nicolas Maduro or Daniel Ortega.
4- New generation: All of those children, who were born of immigrant parents are growing up, with a million young voters turning 18 every single year.
At the end of the day, besides expecting Democrats and Republicans to pay attention to the major issues that concern Latinx — jobs, education for their children, health insurance, immigration — we should act as leaders in our community and actively campaign to get the role that we deserve in this society.
Many Latinx of all political beliefs keep this in mind and make their voice count, and do so not only during presidential elections, but at each and every opportunity.
At Moira, we preach by example and this is always in our mind. Let’s work together on changing that perspective and bringing all Latinx out to the polls.