Will Hispanic Voters Deliver the White House to the Democrats? - Pacific Standard

Will Hispanic Voters Deliver the White House to the Democrats?

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Hispanic voters are turning out in record numbers for this election.

By Dwyer Gunn

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(Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

Throughout this election, Donald Trump’s relationship with Hispanic voters has been tense, to say the least. Thanks to his promises to build a wall, deport massive numbers of illegal immigrants, and a steady stream of offensive comments, he’s had a tough time rallying Hispanics to the right. That could prove very costly: Early voting data suggests Trump’s unpopularity among Latino voters may just cost him the White House.

Hispanics are the fastest-growing ethnic group in the United States. The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that Hispanics “will account for 40% of the growth in the eligible electorate in the U.S. between now and 2030.” In recent elections, political analysts have described the Latino vote as a “sleeping giant” capable of transforming the landscape of American politics. Historically, however, Hispanic voter turnout has been low compared to white or black voter turnout. Less than 50 percent of eligible Hispanic voters voted in the 2012 election, for example.

This year — 2016 — may be the year that finally changes. Early voting turnout suggests that, in key swing states, Hispanics are voting in record numbers. In Florida, for example, early voting turnout among Hispanics is up 129 percent from 2008, according to data from CNN and Catalist, a polling company that works with Democrats. In Georgia, Hispanic early voter turnout is up 144 percent from 2012 levels. In North Carolina, it’s up 75 percent (from 2012 levels). Turnout is also up in Colorado and Arizona.

Similarly, in Nevada, Hispanic early voter turnout is at record levels. “Whereas the Latino vote was 15 percent of the Nevada electorate in 2008 and 18 percent in 2012, data I have seen shows now it is up 30 percent from 2012 in early voting, meaning it could go above 20 percent of all voters by Tuesday evening,” Jon Ralston writes for Politico. In fact, Ralston believes Hispanic voters have already delivered the state to Hillary Clinton.

It’s perhaps, then, not a coincidence that last night Trump’s legal team filed a lawsuit in Clark County, Nevada, where the county registrar kept early polling locations open late, to accommodate voters already in line when the polls were due to close. The lawsuit has since been thrown out.

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