The problem now for Republicans is even worse than it might seem. Pew Research tracks the increasing number of Hispanic voters: “Since 2012, the number of Hispanic eligible voters has increased by 4 million, accounting for 37 percent of the growth in all eligible voters during that span. The Hispanic share of eligible voters in several key battleground states has also gone up.” In short, the GOP is managing to do worse with a bigger share of the electorate. Moreover, the big growth is among young voters, a group Trump that has problems with overall. (“From 2012 to 2016, 3.2 million young U.S.-born Latinos came of age and turned 18, accounting for 80% of the increase in Latino eligible voters during this time.”)
According to The Post/Univision poll, Clinton has managed to attract many of those younger Hispanics. (“A 66-percent majority of Latinos younger than 35 support Clinton, compared with 71 percent of seniors — a nearly even margin.”) Now, the challenge will be to get them to turn out.
Republicans have been spared the full brunt of this because of traditionally low turnout among Hispanics. The Clinton campaign, however, has gone all out to solve that problem. (“Clinton’s general-election campaign adopted an aggressive bilingual, digital-first general outreach strategy that targets younger Hispanics on Facebook, Snapchat and other digital platforms with predominantly English advertising. In more recent months, the campaign has started airing Spanish-language television and radio ads in parts of Florida and Nevada.”)
There is some evidence that this is working. Clinton is competitive in deep-red Arizona. That may be due to Hispanic voters: “This year Democrats see evidence that more Hispanic voters are casting ballots early. Through Nov. 1, voters who are believed to be Hispanic cast nearly 12 percent of the early ballots. That’s still a small share, but well ahead of the 6 percent at the same point four years ago.” Hispanic voting is also up in Florida:
Hillary Clinton’s campaign is touting that 99 percent more Latinos have voted in Florida this year than did in 2012. To be exact, 133,000 Hispanic voters have cast their ballot early in Florida so far. Slate reports that 10 percent of early votes in 2012 were cast by Hispanics, four percentage points lower than the number is right now. And according to the Miami Herald, about 820,000 Floridians who registered to vote this year are Hispanic. Among that group, 42 percent are Democrats, 15 percent are Republicans, and 42 percent didn’t register with a party. Before 2016, 26 percent of registered Hispanic voters were Republican.There also seems to be a big turnout among Hispanics who stayed home in 2012. According to Slate, 29 percent of Hispanics who have voted as of October 30th did not vote four years ago.
Then there is Nevada. Key to Democrats’ success there is the Culinary Workers Union Local 226, with a largely Hispanic membership. Nevada’s indispensable political guru Jon Ralston reported last week: “Of Culinary’s 57,000 members, more than 30,000 are Hispanic and nearly 7,000 are African-American. And on the eve of the election, nearly 60 percent – 34,000 – of the union’s members are registered to vote, a record total for Local 226.” He continued: “With 45 organizers, the team in Reno has knocked on more than 62,000 doors, and in the South, that number is an eye-popping 220,000 doors. During a year in which nonwhites have never been more motivated to vote, the Culinary Union remains the most effective Democratic turnout machine.”
If Clinton wins in part because of her Hispanic vote in both swing states (Nevada, Florida) and traditionally red states (e.g., Arizona) she’ll owe a debt of gratitude to Hispanic voters — but also to the xenophobic, immigrant-bashing Donald Trump. It’s not clear whether Republicans will ever learn even after another presidential loss that they have to broaden its appeal. And soon it will be too late: We know that voters who pick a party in their first couple of elections generally stick with that party. The GOP cannot say it wasn’t warned.