How 32 million eligible Latinos will vote in dozens of pivotal House, Senate, and gubernatorial elections across the country in November will be vital in determining which party controls Congress after this year’s midterm elections.
Latinos make up the second-largest voting bloc in the United States, constituting 18.7 percent of the nation’s total population.
That’s no secret, of course, with candidates of all persuasions aggressively soliciting the Latino vote with Spanish-language political ads in tight races in Texas, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Oregon, and Florida.
The Republican National Committee (RNC) on Sept. 8 announced it had hosted this year more than 5,000 separate events appealing for minority votes at 38 voter outreach centers in 19 states, including dozens labeled “Hispanic community centers.” The campaign is meant to sustain the momentum Republicans gained among Latino voters during the Trump presidency.
Meanwhile, Democratic heavyweights are directly appealing to Latino voters to seal erosion in what had been a solid, reliable bank of support. Critics within and without the party say Democrats may have taken the Hispanic vote for granted and are only now belatedly focusing on it.
President Joe Biden addressed the 45th Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Gala on Sept. 15. He used the occasion to tout how the American Rescue Plan benefits Latinos by providing access to vaccines, better health care, and keeping schools open.
On Sept. 25, former President Barak Obama, a Democrat, will address the 5th annual L’ATTITUDE Conference, the nation’s “premier Latino business event,” in San Diego, Calif.
Both parties are trying to tailor their candidates’ campaigns to appeal to Latino votes with tactics and strategies based on data and polls collected and analyzed since June by research firms, media groups, and campaigns.
Regardless of how the data is interpreted, there is ample opportunity for candidates of both parties to gain favor with a Latino “voting bloc” that is hardly monolithic but—despite distinct ethnic and regional variations—appears predominately commonly concerned with jobs, cost-of-living, and the economy.
By John Haughey