One of several conclusions we can draw from these midterm elections is that Latinx keep going to the polls, showing that they are not only ready to sit down at the table but are also a relevant part of the conversation.
En mesa redonda no hay cabecera.
In this election, Latinx showed that they know they have a voice and are making themselves heard, and that they are more than just a minority. They are aware that, as Americans, they have—and deserve—the same rights as any other citizen of the USA, that they fight and work proudly side-by-side with their fellow Americans for a better life. For Latinx, honoring their culture and ancestry is a right that is not at odds with respecting the American flag and feeling proud to be an American.
So now that the midterm elections have come to pass, it is time to debrief.
Let’s see how many prejudiced myths were debunked by the results.
Latinx are abandoning the Democrats in droves.
There are no such droves of Latinx flocking to the GOP. The influence of Latino voters on a series of crucial election issues underscored the importance of the Latinx electorate, and there is still a 2/3 majority faithful to the Dems. True, there was a rise in Latinx votes for Republicans, but overall, this continues to be in line with Hispanic party identification data over the past decade.
According to some researchers, Latinx are pretty swingy compared to other voting blocs because they’re not that attached to either of the two major parties. Rather they vote for who resonates the most with them.
Another reason they are a shifting group is that 28% of Latinx have registered as independent voters. Democrats have a great opportunity there!
Except for Florida—and we’ll discuss why later—Democrats largely outperformed Republicans in heavily Hispanic districts around the country,
So far, no BOLD PAC House incumbents lost their seats, according to The Hill. (For those not familiar with the subject, BOLD PAC, is the campaign arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Listen to last year’s Latin XYZ Podcast interview with Victoria McGroary, their Executive Director.)
Latinx is a sleeping giant, and they won’t turn out to vote.
Since 2020 and for the first time in history, Latinx voters have been the second largest voting bloc in the United States.
The political establishment often overlooks the Latinx community, dismissing them as a sleeping giant of a demographic of unreliable voters.. Indeed, Latinx have historically had the lowest voting turnout—only 50% of eligible Latinx voted in the 2020 election. But too often, it is because they haven’t felt that the government or the elected officials were talking or listening to them, so what was the point in voting?
That perception has been changing. Although far from a monolith, Latinx unite on some key issues, and both parties have seemed to acknowledge, at least in part, that nuanced demographics need nuanced approaches.
They started talking to the Latinx communities, and they listened. As we discussed in one of our latest blogs, according to Naleo Educational Fund Projects, there were at least 11.6 million Latinx poised to cast ballots this last November. Although we do not yet have verified numbers, nearly 1 in 10 voters (close to 10%) this year were Latinx.
Latinx vote is a voting bloc.
Latinx are far from a monolith, as we discussed in one of our latest podcasts; they are united on some key issues and divided on others, depending on their moment in life.
Therefore, neither Democrats nor Republicans can rely on just one single issue to capture Latinx voters.
For example, in Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis won the Latino vote outright because of economic concerns such as the high costs of housing, rent, food and gasoline; Florida Latinx prefer what they perceive as the hands-off stance of the Republicans.
The anti-communist discourse used by DeSantis and the Republican Party resonated strongly among Latinx like Venezuelans and Cubans—overrepresented in Florida— since most of them left their homeland due to political crises.
They are not only skeptical but also scared by extremism and so-called “socialist” governments that destroyed their liberty and their economy.
And because they often come from dictator-run countries with no government assistance, let alone Social Security, they prefer to buy into a party with a discourse about individual freedoms, rights, and responsibilities.
The main concern in the Latinx community is the economy.
It is true that for most immigrants facing economic uncertainty, pocketbook issues like inflation, gas prices, and health care costs were the dominant concern. And many voted for the Republican Party because of a perception that they handle the economy better.
But is this a permanent shift or a temporary one?
Many issues highlight the relatively weak ties that most Latinx, even Republican Latinx, have to the GOP.
The midterms confirmed that, among Latinx voters, the divide between the economy and values is not a deal breaker. As much as the economy may be at the top of their bucket list, this year Latinx showed that they care more about LGBTQ Rights and Women’s Rights than the general population. Polling shows that most Latinx see their values as more aligned with the issue positions of Democrats. Among the top priorities for Latino voters are abortion rights, gun safety, Dreamers’ rights, and combating climate change.
La cena es para el despierto. Para el dormido no hay cena.
Latinx have expressed complex and nuanced political attitudes due to their diversity and have shown fluctuating levels of support for the parties over the past 40 years.
The good news is that by electing 34 Democrats and 11 Republicans, there is now a record number of Latinos in Congress, according to NALEO. It will be the first time Hispanic legislators make up over 10% of the 435-member House of Representatives.
The Growing Influence of the Latina Voter.
Latinas defied pre-election surveys and once again voted for Democratic candidates at a high level, with 68% of Latinas casting their ballot for Democratic House candidates, higher than the 58% for Latino men.
More and more women are increasingly aware that issues that affect them need their attention. (Listen to our podcast with (NAME), Executive Director of the Barbara Lee Foundation).
With at least 98 women elected to the House on November 8th—84 Democrats and 14 Republicans—more women will be serving in Congress than ever before. Moreover, today, 39% of the country’s Hispanic state legislators are female (female 166 – male 259).
The strongly-mobilized women and youth vote supported issues such as democratic governance, climate change, gender, and reproductive rights. Now we must make sure that this will lead to an even greater push for more of these agendas. As many Latinx made history in the 2022 midterms, let’s not forget that nothing lasts forever. ¡No se vale dormirse en sus laureles!
Let’s roll up our sleeves and keep working for our dreams!
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