Fernando Romero estimates there were about 25,000 Latinos in southern Nevada when he moved there in the 1960s. The state would go on to vote for a Republican in the next six presidential contests, from 1968-1992, becoming a reliably red state.
Forty-nine years later, Nevada isn’t so reliably red anymore — and the southern part of the state is now home to some 720,000 Latinos, said Romero, president of the oldest Hispanic political organization in Las Vegas. The state voted for Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996 and for President Obama in both 2008 and 2012. And a big part of that? Those Latino voters.
That’s the subject of “Swinging Nevada,” a short film by filmmakers Jackie Mow and Laura Pacheco and the latest in a series of video postcards from across the country that The Fix has been running since July.
Mow and Pacheco examine how Nevada has become a true swing state and how Latino voters have become a coveted constituency among Republicans trying to stem the purple flood. They visited the state’s 4th Congressional District, where 30 percent of the residents are Hispanic — a place where Republicans think they can make inroads.
And it isn’t just House races. The fight over departing Democratic Sen. Harry Reid’s seat is one of the hottest in the country. But in a presidential election year, when Donald Trump could win a historically low share of the Hispanic vote, Republicans might be in trouble in some down-ballot races like that one.
Ultimately, Republicans are unlikely to win the Hispanic vote in Nevada. But as Mow and Pacheco argue, if they can close the margin, they do have a chance of swinging the state back into the red.
"Swinging Nevada" is just one in the series "Political Postcards from the Great Divide." You can see the rest here.