Once again we are talking about the importance of the latino vote. Back in 2012 political experts were writing about the increasing power of the latino vote. Back then they predicted that there would be millions more registering and turning out to vote. In fact, in recent years we have seen more Latinos becoming mayors, members of City Councils and state legislatures. That vote has brought forth more politicians of national stature like Beto O’Rourke and the Castro brothers. The impact has been felt more in certain states of the Southwest, like Texas and New Mexico, and in California that has a Latino population of around 40%.
In the City of Brotherly Love the Latino population has not had an impact that corresponds to the increase of Latin American immigrants. With that in mind, many local organizations have made an effort to register Latinos to bring them to the polls. Nobody understands why Puerto Ricans, who are still the majority of the Latino population of the city, for the most part fail to show up to vote. Some experts attribute that lack of interest to two facts: one, that they have become disenchanted with a system that keeps them in poverty, and the other that the political class fails to campaign to attract that vote. We know that the Latino migration made it possible for the city to show an increase of population in the 2010 census. It is expected that the 2020 census will show an even larger increase of Latinos as a percentage of the population. It is evident, at this point in our history, that one party, the Republican Party, seems uninterested in the Latino vote, passing legislation and employing rhetoric that alienates most Latinos. The small percentage of Latinos that support Donald Trump like what Trump has done for the economy even if certain experts see his policies, like the tariffs on China, doing more damage in the long run. But it would be helpful for the Democratic Party to understand that Latinos are becoming more educates and therefore they will not be attracted by simplistic appeals to their vote.
Yes, immigration is an important issue for Latinos, but Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans, the two largest segments have other issues, like crime, education, housing, and healthcare. Above all, say political leaders, Latinos must be aware that local government will have a larger impact on their lives than the president. We need to place more Latinos in positions of responsibility at all levels, in City Council, in the state legislatures and in governorships. There are Latinos running for president, and even if their chances seem slim at this moment, that fact is an indication of the great potential we have if the Latino vote can be harnessed. It is also evident, that a Latino leadership in this nation would give us a more intelligent immigration policy, and show the world a more caring society, the United States of a few decades ago, that embraced the new immigrants with the words at the feet of the Statue of Liberty.