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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Sleeping Giant Awakens

It is a cliche that the Hispanic vote is the "great sleeping giant" of American politics.  This sleep has taken two forms.

First, Hispanic citizens of the United States are less likely than black or non-Hispanic white citizens to go to the polls.

Turnout among citizens in the 2012 presidential election:

White, Non-Hispanic............64.1%
Black...................................66.2%
Asian...................................47.3%
Hispanic..............................48.0%

Second, many Hispanic residents have not yet taken the crucial step that would enable them to vote:  becoming citizens.

The Pew Hispanic Center reports:
Nearly two-thirds of the 5.4 million legal immigrants from Mexico who are eligible to become citizens of the United States have not yet taken that step. Their rate of naturalization—36%—is only half that of legal immigrants from all other countries combined, according to an analysis of Census Bureau data by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center.
On both fronts, Trump is rousing the sleeping giant.  Robert Schlesinger reports at US News:
Welcome to the backlash to the backlash. Welcome to what might be the answer to the corrosive campaign of Donald Trump's angry, white America. Meet the Democrats' turnout ace in the hole: Donald Trump. "I am seeing people who have never voted in their life registering so they can vote against Donald Trump," Serena Perez of New Florida Majority told reporters in a conference call organized by pro-immigration groups this week.
And as noted earlier, many Hispanic noncitizens are starting the naturalization process for the express purpose of voting against Trump.