Will political parties continue to ignore the Latino community?

Faced with a wide range of Democratic candidates who do not wish to invest in the Latino community, along with the continued anti-immigrant rhetoric of Republican Party leaders, with Donald Trump at the helm, it is logical that Latino voters are disappointed and do not feel represented. This is ironic for the parties considering that multiple experts confirm that the support of Latino voters is essential to achieving a victory in the upcoming elections.

In North Carolina, Latinos represent 3 of the total number of voters. Although this number may seem small, it is crucial in a close election. In the general elections, 40,028 Latinos voted in the state (out of 68,053 registered), and the overwhelming majority voted for Barack Obama. Now, keep in mind that Obama beat Republican candidate John McCain by 14,177 votes. Obviously, the Latino vote helped Obama win North Carolina.

In recent elections, we have seen that fewer Latinos are voting in North Carolina. However, the group of potential voters is large. As of , 206,779 Latinos were registered voters. The question is why do so few of them vote?

In , then candidate Donald Trump had the support of two out of five Latino voters in North Carolina, mostly Republicans. But according to a recent poll done in , less than half of that fraction said they would vote for Trump in the presidential election.

According to the company Equis Research, which conducted a study on Latino voters in 11 key states, although Trump won 40 of the Latino vote in North Carolina in , according to the latest polls this figure has fallen to 18 support for re-election.

A survey by the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) and Latino Decisions asked what the most important issues were when deciding who to vote for. Latinos in North Carolina said immigration reform and deportations. This makes sense if we consider that 64 of Latinos have an undocumented family member or friend.

What motivates Latinos to vote? The aforementioned survey pointed out that when it comes time to vote, Latinos in North Carolina go to the polls if the candidate supports the Latino community, regardless of political party. The overwhelming majority of Latino voters in North Carolina (81) support the idea of legalizing undocumented immigrants, the highest level of support in the country.

This should serve as a warning to Democratic candidates who take the support of the majority of Latino voters for granted. Sadly, they do not invest in Spanish advertising and do not make coordinated efforts to listen to this community, much less at the local level. Opening an office in a city, or visiting a city very infrequently, does not constitute a strategy that reaches the hearts and minds of Latino voters.

We believe that voting is a way to change things in our society. However, it is up to the parties to make real efforts to listen to this community, which is the future of the United States.

Diego Barahona A.

Periodista, editor, asesor, y presentador. De 2016 a 2019 el periodista más galardonado en Estados Unidos por los Premios José Martí. Autor del best seller: ¿Cómo leer a las personas? dbarahona@lanoticia.com

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