Saturday, May 25, 2024

Democrats are Counting on Latinos to win Arizona

Voters wait in line to cast their ballot in Arizona's presidential primary election, Tuesday, March 22, 2016, in Gilbert, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

This year, many Phoenix residents will be casting a ballot for Hillary Clinton, joining the tens of thousands of Latinos who Democrats hope will swing the traditionally conservative state in their direction. The prospect of Arizona voting for a Democrat for president has become more of a possibility as Donald Trump loses support within his party and organizations make a push to get Latinos to vote in a state that has long struggled to get its sizable Hispanic population to the polls.

In some ways, Trump and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio are making the task easier this year. Trump has angered many Latinos by calling Mexicans rapists and vowing to build a border wall and make Mexico pay for it. Arpaio has long been reviled by Latinos over his immigration raids. Morales, a custodian at a local school struggled at first to find the right words to express how she feels about Trump, “For me, I don’t think Trump will help anybody,” she said. “He doesn’t have values.”

Activists are going door-to-door and carrying signs in predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods to rally voters on a proposed minimum-wage increase that’s also on the ballot and popular among Latinos. Turning Arizona blue would be a historic feat. The last time Arizona elected a Democrat for president was in 1996, when Bill Clinton won his second term. Before that, Harry S. Truman was the previous Democrat to carry Arizona.

Arizona Democratic Party chairwoman Alexis Tamerón said the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee made a six-figure investment in August.  One Arizona, a coalition of 14 advocacy groups, has been canvassing Latino neighborhoods all year. Spokeswoman Pita Juarez says staffers and volunteers registered 150,000 new voters in the state in the past nine months, doubling its original goal. “These communities, these neighborhoods were not being engaged,” Juarez said.

Experts say that if Arizona does go to Clinton, it will not be a sweep down the ballot. To succeed in Arizona, Clinton and her party will have to overcome voters like Ann Miller. The Scottsdale real estate agent identifies as an independent but registered Republican to vote for Trump in the March primary. She said Trump will broker trade agreements that will benefit the U.S.

The Washington Time