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McClatchy ICYMI: ‘Trump effect:’ California Latino voters showed up in force in 2018. Will they do it again?

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The 2018 midterms were a momentous win for Democrats across the nation, and could not have been done without Latino turnout. A new McClatchy article by Katie Irby delves into the “push factors” getting Latino voters to the polls, including Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric, and whether or not the same factors will work again in 2020. Organizing among Latino groups like Mi Familia Vota, UnidosUS, Voto Latino and local groups throughout the country helped channel the boiling anger of Latinos towards the administration into votes.

Matt Barreto, co-founder of Latino Decisions commented that “it started with the Trump effect. There was incredible frustration and anger with the Trump administration’s policies and rhetoric among the Latino community… But it takes organizing to turn that anger into votes.”

Irby’s story is excerpted below and available in full here.

California Latinos turned out to vote in big numbers in November’s midterm elections, helping Democrats flip seven House seats and raising expectations for the role they may play in 2020.

Data obtained by McClatchy show that the proportion of Latinos voting in the seven California congressional districts that Democrats targeted last year rose to levels normally seen in presidential elections.

Democratic leaders point to President Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and the party’s own get-out-the-vote operation for spurring the heavy turnout.

“It started with the Trump effect. There was incredible frustration and anger with the Trump administration’s policies and rhetoric among the Latino community,” said Matt Barreto, co-founder of the liberal national polling and research firm Latino Decisions.

“But it takes organizing to turn that anger into votes,” he said, crediting the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and other Latino-focused groups such as Mi Familia Vota, Unidos and Voto Latino.

… “In 2018 the DCCC made history when we flipped seven districts in California and shattered Republicans’ hold on Orange County,” said Cole Leiter, spokesman for DCCC. “We didn’t win those seats to rent them for two years, and we are already working to ensure their newly elected Representatives win in 2020, and for years to come.”

… “If the DCCC can keep up the momentum more seats are attainable in 2020,” Barreto said. “Presidential elections see more young people and minority groups voting, so if they make the same investments those numbers will be even higher.”


… Democrats did not put as many resources in the 21st Congressional District, centered on Fresno, as they did in the other six Republican districts they flipped in November. In total, they spent $1.2 million in the 2018 election cycle. Still, Latino turnout there was much higher than in 2014.

About 45 percent of registered Latino voters voted there in 2018, but up from 31 percent in 2014. Democrat T.J. Cox won the district, defeating Republican incumbent David Valadao.

Democrats also flipped five districts in Southern California, the 25th, 39th, 45th, 48th and 49th. In all of those, the amount of eligible Latino voters who voted in 2018 increased by more than 30 percentage points over their participation in 2014.

… Eric Guerra, a Sacramento city councilman who canvassed in Latino communities in the San Joaguin Valley, agreed.

“Voting is a cultural thing. You have to build up, you can’t just start up a month or two before the election,” Guerra said. “That early investment created a culture. Latino voters have started talking about what partisan politics means for them.”