Surge or Slump? The Latino Vote in the 2016 Election

by Wegs, Chief Idea Officer

This was the year.

Or at least it was suppose to be the year.

The year that Latinos flexed their muscles to demonstrate their political power.

With a candidate who launched his campaign by referring to Mexicans as “murderers and rapists,” everything seemed teed up for Latinos to build an electoral wall to counteract Mr. Trump’s proposed southern border wall.

But come election night something happened. And while it’s still too early to fully understand it, Donald J. Trump became President-Elect Trump.

Why? Because Secretary Clinton couldn’t reassemble the Obama coalition of

African-Americans, Millennials and Latinos. Based on expectations, Latinos underperformed, so let’s dive in to find out why.

 

Early Voting vs Election Day

Initial early voting totals in places like Nevada and Florida looked very promising for the Clinton camp. In fact, Latinos did basically seal the deal for Hillary in Nevada before Election Day.

But that was their one real impact on the electoral map. In fact, The New York Times tells us that nationally Mrs. Clinton received 65% of the Hispanic vote versus 29% for Mr. Trump. A considerable gap, yet Trump outpaced the 2012 mark set by the more moderate Mitt Romney by 2 points.

screen-shot-2016-11-10-at-4-03-25-pmRuben Navarette, Jr points out that in Florida, the Hispanic vote only increased by 1%, from 10% to 11%.

So what happened? Well, as in any losing campaign, the candidate bears the brunt of the responsibility. While inspiring millions, many others could not get over their questions about her honesty and authenticity.

 

Diversity Within Diversity

Latinos are not the monolithic group they are sometimes made out to be.

The National Review points out that on average, native-born Hispanics vote 10-15% less for Democrats. And some have their own concerns about issues like immigration.

According to CNN, 7 out of 10 Cuban-Americans in Florida voted for Mr. Trump.

As for the verbal arrows Mr. Trump slung at Latinos, some say that they felt that he was not talking about them. And they resisted comparisons of their support for the Republican candidate as being “Chickens for Colonel Sanders.”

In short, the Latino vote is often as perplexing as the rest of the electorate.

 

The White Man’s Last Stand?

Pardon the provocative subhead, but demographics may yet prove to be destiny. Let’s not forget that Secretary Clinton looks to have captured the popular vote, as Democrats have in 6 of the last 7 presidential elections.

This may have simply been the “Whitelash” Van Jones has named. A diminished, yet still powerful voting bloc.

 

Where Do We Go Next?

Latinos are still the fastest growing community in the United States. Their influence and power will only continue to grow. But perhaps not as quickly as the press tends to report. And not quite as unified either. After all, like all people, Latinos make their choices for many different reasons. It’s the American Way.

For more insights on how Latinos are changing everything from elections to food, music, marketing and more, please visit Dieste.com.

Dieste Inc
gsosa@dieste.com