With less than two weeks until Election Day and with early voting in full swing in a number of key states, there are continued signs of Latino voter energy and mobilization and indications that the hardline immigration stance of Donald Trump and the GOP is a major motivating factor for Latino voters across the country.
In Nevada, Jon Ralston’s latest column highlights the work of the Culinary Workers Union in mobilizing Latino voters – and bolstering Democrats – up and down the ticket. Titled “Culinary Union could serve up a blue Nevada,” Ralston’s column includes the following:
“If you wanted a glimpse into why the Democrats have such an advantage in Nevada, reflected in early early voting numbers, those workers in that room epitomized the ground game that carried Barack Obama to two wins here, and could propel Hillary Clinton and Catherine Cortez Masto to victories, not to mention state Sen. Ruben Kihuen in a key congressional race.
These were the LOAs of the Culinary Union, the most populous labor organization in the state and one that is emblematic of the diverse population of a state that looks like America. LOA stands for leave of absence, and these dozens of folks — housekeepers and cocktail workers who have benefited from the Cadillac plans their leaders have negotiated, mostly with casinos — have volunteered this cycle to put their jobs on hold to turn out voters for their chosen candidates.
Of Culinary’s 57,000 members, more than 30,000 are Hispanic and nearly 7,000 are African-American. And on the eve of the election, nearly 60 percent – 34,000 – of the union’s members are registered to vote, a record total for Local 226. You want more numbers? I have them: With 45 organizers, the team in Reno has knocked on more than 62,000 doors, and in the South, that number is an eye-popping 220,000 doors … If there is indeed a wave in Nevada this cycle, that swarm of red shirts, North and South, will be a large reason the state goes blue.”
In Florida, longtime Florida political observer and activist Steve Schale’s website is a must-read for assessing the state’s early vote totals and their implications. In his newest analysis, Schale examines the implications for the state after mail voting and two days of Florida early voting, noting:
“I would project we are headed towards an electorate that is more diverse than 2012. Also, here is one more for you: among first day of early voting Democratic and NPA Hispanics, 44% were either first time voters, or only voting in their second ever general election. In other words, these voters are expanding the electorate.
Overall, after day one (again I will update these later), of the roughly 1.6 million ballots cast, 79% of Republican votes came from the most likely of voters, compared to 73% of Democratic votes. In other words, a larger share of the Democratic turnout has been from new voters, and infrequent voters.”
Also in Florida, outlets including NPR noted that Senator Marco Rubio was booed by a heavily Latino crowd in Orlando last weekend:
“Florida Sen. Marco Rubio got booed off a stage in Orlando on Sunday by a crowd that was overwhelmingly Latino … Some Latinos, including several people in the crowd, have expressed anger over his endorsement of Donald Trump, who kicked off his presidential campaign last year by disparaging Mexican immigrants … ’I’m going to introduce a man who represents Latinos, no matter where you’re from,’ the emcee boomed in Spanish. The boos grew louder still. ‘Ladies and gentlemen, the senator for the state of Florida, a Latino like you and me … his name is Marco Rubio! Applaud!’ Instead, the boos rained down on the senator, drowning out what appeared to be a handful of supporters in the crowd.”
In Arizona, the Clinton campaign has launched a new Spanish language television ad in the state featuring prominent DREAMer Astrid Silva – the latest powerful reminder that DREAMers are engaging in a major way this election cycle and asking the Latino community to vote on their behalf to protect DACA and advance other essential immigration reforms.
Also in Arizona, the difficult road to re-election for notorious anti-immigrant and anti-Latino Sheriff Joe Arpaio grew even more rocky with the news that the U.S. Department of Justice officially charged Arpaio with contempt of court yesterday “for defying a judge’s order to halt immigration patrols,” as the Wall Street Journal highlighted.
In Colorado, Democratic consultant Craig Hughes examined the early Colorado returns and noted in a series of tweets, “Numbers are staggering. D’s now +8.2% of 290,000 so this is not small sample size … 15% of those who have voted so far in CO have NO vote history. That is a huge number for this early … At this point in 2012 there was a 6% R advantage, so this is a 14% swing right now. And consistent across all demographics.”
Colorado Republican pollster and consultant David Flaherty predicted, “I think we are beginning to see a Democratic wave. I think there are major problems afoot [for Republicans] with these numbers. Democrats have never been up his high this early.”
And while California’s presidential and Senate contests are not expected to be competitive (thanks in large part to Latino voter engagement in California during and after the anti-immigrant Prop. 187), a number of congressional contests and state and local races could swing based on what the Los Angeles Times lifts up in a new story titled, “Latinos in California have one big reason to go to the polls: Donald Trump.” The story notes the role of immigration in driving Latino engagement and registration in 2016:
“Galvanized to vote in the presidential race by Donald Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric, Latinos in California are expected to turn out in large numbers in November and have considerable influence on down-ballot races and statewide propositions.
At nearly 39% of the population, Latinos are the largest ethnic group in the state. At the polls, however, they are typically underrepresented compared with other minority groups.
But Latino voters turned out in record numbers during the 2016 primary, a good sign for general election turnout, said Mindy Romero, who runs the California Civic Engagement Project at UC Davis.
‘I think we are going to see good turnout or high turnout even,’ Romero said. ‘I think the question is just how much higher.’
…Dislike for Trump appears to be one of the biggest motivators for Latino voters in this election.”