What is the Latino vote?

Angel Vera, Staff Writer

According to the 2010 census, in the United States today, there are roughly 54 million Hispanics and Latinos. The Pew Research Center reports that, of those Hispanics and Latinos, 25.2 million of them are eligible to vote, which is around 11 percent of nationwide voters. To put this into perspective, the 2012 presidential race, in terms of popular vote, was won by about six million votes, or about four percent of votes casted. Overwhelmingly, 71 percent of Latinos voted for Obama, around 17 million votes. To say that the “Latino Vote” had a lot to do with Obama winning the reelection, is putting it very lightly.

Although Latinos have generally been in favor of the Democratic Party and tend to lean liberally, that trend has been decreasing. In congressional elections alone from 2012 to 2014, there was a six-percent increase in votes for Republican candidates, going from 30 to 36 percent.

Latinos, just like many other Americans, care for a variety of issues, not just for immigration reform. Education and income inequality are major issues that have efficacy amongst the Latin American community. Many voters are even disillusioned that any politician is actually willing to make any significant change on the issues important to them and, similar to many, see all candidates as one in the same.

Only 27 percent of eligible voters came out in the 2014 midterm elections, which added to the overall low turnout in voting, per the U.S. census. The Latino Vote has not been used to its full potential, as there is no urge to go out and vote. Why is that exactly?

It’s simple. Latinos are tired of being pandered to and being used as political pawns. No one cares that you eat beans or tacos, Jeb, or that you played a Selena song that one time, Hillary, or “La Hilary.” That isn’t enough, and never was. Immigration reform was promised and never delivered, education has stifled and nonsense drug laws have drastically affected Latino communities.

According to a Telemundo poll, Bernie Sanders is picking up steam amongst Latinos only behind Hillary Clinton. Mainly due to him not pandering and speaking frankly, he could very well be the candidate that builds saliency amongst the Latino community.

There is no definite candidate, liberal or conservative, libertarian or progressive, that Latinos feel the need to follow. Thanks to the conservative field of candidates such as Donald Trump, there is definitely an image issue that needs to be worked on, yet that goes for all political parties. Trump may be more outwardly ignorant, but it’s under Obama’s administration that deportations have increased.

Until a candidate comes around that talks about immigration and labor, how agriculture and the markets are affected by harsh immigration laws, and about education or even better working conditions for low-skilled workers, Latinos won’t come out to vote as much as they can.