Sunday, June 16, 2024

Comentarios from Maria: Tight Elections Require Latino Participation


The November midterm elections are less than three weeks away, and the battle to control the Senate has never been tighter. What has become quite clear to me after analyzing the latest polls released by the pollster, Latino Decisions, is that Latinos will have a fundamental role in determining the outcome of the most competitive races of the electoral season.

In 2012, we witnessed that the Latino vote was a decisive factor in President Obama’s victories in several key states such as Florida, Nevada, and Colorado. Multiple analysts on both sides of the political aisle have signaled that Latinos may once again have a potentially defining influence in at least 5 of 7 critical races to control the senate.

In North Carolina, a state that the president won in 2008 but lost in 2012, the majority of the more than 100,000 Latino voters have indicated that they will participate in the upcoming elections. Although 40 percent of registered Latino voters favor the democratic incumbent, Kay Hagan, more than 45 percent of Latinos have not decided who they will voter for but asserted that immigration reform is among the most important issues for Latinos in North Carolina.

The senate race in Georgia between democrat, Michelle Nunn and republican, David Perdue, is similarly tight, and Latino voters are projected to elect the candidate they believe will advance immigration reform. In Michigan and Kansas, where Latinos have registered to vote in record numbers, multiple candidates are starting to realize that they cannot afford to ignore Latinos if they hope to win.

Many have dismissed the power of the Latino vote during this election season, yet poll after poll show that the margin of victory to win these elections is so small that the Latino vote will be absolutely crucial in elections that may be decided by a margin as low as 1 percent.  Although we can only speculate what the ultimate Latino voter turnout will be this year, the number of Hispanics that have registered to voter increases every day. This is an important indication that Latinos are determined to play a decisive role in electing candidates that will pass comprehensive immigration reform, guarantee access to affordable healthcare, and will always keep the priorities of the Latino community in mind while in office.

I do not have to remind you of the profound effect these elections will have on the direction of our country and what President Obama will be able to accomplish during his last two years of his presidency. Currently, 53 out of 100 senators are democrats, but republicans only need six seats to outnumber democrats and reclaim the majority in the senate. We have already witnessed the disastrous effects of republican inaction in the House of Representatives, and if republicans manage to control both chambers of Congress, we run the risk of stunting the progress and future of our community. Take advantage of the next three weeks before the elections to learn more about candidates and state propositions and continue mobilizing your community so that everyone’s voice is heard on November 4th.

¡A votar, mi gente!

This piece originally appeared in Spanish in the Washington Hispanic.