The race to the Senate

The importance of the Latinx population and the Latinx vote

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The day after the midterm elections proves just how important the Latinx vote is in this election and other elections following.

According to CNN politics, the Republican Senate Candidate in Nevada, Adam Laxalt, has a 2% lead against the incumbent, Catherine Cortez Masto–with 80% of the vote in.

Although this is a small lead, and CNN has called the race too close to call. Nevada’s potentially flipped seat could determine which party controls the United States Senate.

This control determines multiple issues, such as reproductive rights, the DACA program, voter rights, and much more.

The turnout of the Latinx population in the state of Nevada is crucial to this race.

USC Sol Price School of Public Policy professor and USC Annenberg expert on Latinx public opinion, Roberto Suro, explains the significance.

“The future of the United States Senate could be decided by a couple of barrios in East Las Vegas and in southern Phoenix.” he said. “Democratic candidates have to get two-thirds or better of the Latino vote…It’s enough to tilt the U.S. Senate.”

As much as these candidates appeal to the Latinx population of the United States, specifically in Nevada and Arizona, Latinx turnout in the history of United States elections has been substantially low.

“There are 30 million eligible [Latinx] voters…only one in five Latinos eligible to vote register.” said Suro.

According to Professor Suro, the Hispanic population in the United States is very different from the Hispanic electorate. There are two very important characteristics of the population in the U.S.:

  1. Approximately half are under 18 and are too young to vote.
  2. About half of all Latinos are not United States citizens and therefore cannot vote.

When you take those who fall into this category of the Latinx population out, there are approximately 30-34 million eligible voters.

Among these voters, only about 15 million actually set out to vote.

Though there is no specific reasoning that political scientists have found, Suro explains that both major parties do not try hard enough to get the Latinx ticket.

“Party organizations have not made a big effort and outreach. Republicans think [Latinx voters] will be Democratic voters and Democrats make strategic decisions not to [appeal to the Latinx population]...[Democrats] have not significantly closed the [voting] gap.” said Suro.

This outreach is needed to make those eligible to vote feel engaged with their community and to feel that their voice (and vote) matters.

So, if you are hesitant to vote – or do not know where to start – please set out and make your voice heard. There are many more elections besides the Presidential elections that matter in predominantly Hispanic communities, and those that are not eligible to vote, need those in our community to be that voice for them.

“It’s your future…You’ve got your whole life in front of you. Voting will determine the [kind of] country you’re living in,” Suro notes as his last point.


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