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Ahead of this week’s Democratic presidential debate in Houston at Texas Southern University, experts today provided analysis on new and recent data on Latino voters, both from the results of the 2018 midterms and recent studies. The data shows that engaging Latino voters will be critically important for any candidate looking to be successful in 2020.
Texas is an emerging battleground state, one in which Latino voters can make a significant difference. At the same time, other states like Arizona, with high Latino populations, are increasingly becoming battlegrounds, and Nevada is among the first four primary/caucus states.
Below are quotes from today’s speakers.
Matt Barreto, Co-Founder, Latino Decisions, said, “What we observed in 2018 was a clear reaction from Latinos who turned out to vote at a record high rate in the midterm elections. The Latino vote was driven by anger and frustration and turned out to be critical to flipping 22 congressional districts from GOP to Democrat in 2018. In 2019 we are seeing this trend continue with Latinos reporting anger and frustration at levels we have never seen before. However, anger alone will not translate into votes in 2020, candidates, campaigns and interest groups need to reach out and engage the Latino electorate if they want to turnout a record vote in 2020.”
Melissa Morales, Research Director, Equis Research, said, “there is a real urgency to better understand the Latinx electorate, expected to be the X factor in politics and society in 2020 and beyond. Conventional wisdom has a fundamental misunderstanding of this electorate, which is showing huge gender and excitement gaps in our research, with the gender gap alone being 2.5 times greater than is seen among white or African American voters. This election cycle will be the first in which Latinx voters outpace African American voters as a percentage of the electorate, and with 32 million eligible voters, any serious candidates or media organizations must do a better job engaging the Latinx electorate. Latinx voters are rapidly growing as a percentage of the population, but that growth is primarily non-immigrant, U.S. born, and younger than in past cycles. This election will be a game of margins, and in key battleground states and congressional districts, Latinos will play critical roles. Those trying to reach them need to get this right now or risk losing ground with this community for a generation.”
Kenia Morales, Nevada State Director, America Votes, said, “As a majority-minority state, Nevada reflects the growing diversity of the American electorate. In our state, the Latino community makes up nearly one-third of the state population and nearly 20 percent of the electorate. To win this early presidential battleground state, candidates must do well with Latinos. It’s more than just ‘beating Trump’, Latinos in Nevada want candidates to talk about the issues that hit home: education, healthcare, the economy and immigration.”
Tomas Robles, Co-Executive Director, Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA), said, “2020 for Arizona represents a culmination of the organizing we have done as a state and as a community of color. It is telling that a state that was the foundation of what the current administration is basing its rhetoric of fear on, is now a state that is at the tipping point of deciding what the presidential election will be. From the ashes of SB1070 we have built an infrastructure in Arizona that demands more, not just of our elected’s and allies but of our entire political system.”
Oscar Silva, Executive Director, Battleground Texas, stated, “Texas is not a red state. Texas has been a non-voting state, and this has been dramatically changing over the last few years to the point that today we are well on our way to becoming a true battleground state; and, with our 38 electoral college votes, perhaps the most important one. 2020 brings unique opportunities to Texans, and we are focused on aggressively expanding the electorate and mobilizing Texans who have been previously disenfranchised from the democratic process to make sure that our elected officials from the Pink Lady to Washington D.C. are reflective of the diversity of the state and representative of our Texas values.”