Why Hispanics Don’t Have a Larger Political Voice

Nate Cohn, New York Times, June 16, 2014

Hispanic-Americans are growing in number, coveted by the nation’s political parties and deeply in favor of an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws. Given this combination, why does such an overhaul still seem to be such a long shot in Washington?

One reason is that no demographic group is more marginalized in American elections than Hispanics. Many are ineligible to vote, while those who can vote often do not or are concentrated in noncompetitive districts and states. The dynamic will be particularly strong in this year’s midterms in November, when Hispanic voters will represent a tiny fraction of the electorate in the states and districts critical to the battle for control of Congress.

Hispanics make up about 17 percent of the population of the United States. In the Senate races likely to determine whether Democrats or Republicans control the chamber, Hispanic voters will probably make up less than 3 percent of the electorate.

The explanation for the gap starts with the most basic rules of voter eligibility. People must be over age 18 to vote, and 28 percent of American Hispanics are under 18, compared with 22 percent of non-Hispanics. Voting-age adults must be United States citizens to vote, yet only 69 percent of adult Hispanics are citizens, compared with 96 percent of adult non-Hispanics.

As a result, only 49 percent of Hispanics are eligible to vote, compared with 74 percent of non-Hispanics. Hispanics make up just 11 percent of the voting-eligible population.

Eligible Hispanics are also less likely to vote than other Americans. A big part of the reason is demographic: Hispanics are younger than other Americans, and voters of all racial and ethnic backgrounds become significantly more likely to vote as they age. In 2012, the turnout rate for potential Hispanic voters was 48 percent, compared with 66.2 percent among blacks and 64.1 percent among whites. The lower Hispanic turnout rate is not as significant a factor as eligibility and geography, but it does further reduce the Hispanic share of the electorate, especially in midterm elections.

The power of Hispanic voters is further diluted by geography. Hispanics are disproportionately concentrated in large states, like California, Florida and Texas. Incredibly, Hispanics represent an above average share of the population in only nine of the 50 states. There are very few Hispanic voters in most small states, like Wyoming or the Dakotas, and small states are overrepresented in the political process, thanks to the structure of the Senate. Effectively, the Hispanic share of the eligible Senate electorate is just 7.5 percent.

Finally, Hispanic voters are concentrated in noncompetitive states and districts, diminishing their role in the most important races. This year, Hispanics represent less than 5 percent of eligible voters in nine of the 10 most competitive Senate states, and about 4 percent of eligible voters in those races over all. {snip}


Topics: , ,

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • All of these factors are correct. But even not counting them, even if we could find a way to adjust them ceteris paribus, there’s another huge hurdle that works against Hispanic turnout in elections: Apathy, disinterest, total insouciance toward the importance of civic participation and social organization, and a proletarian mentality, that Hispanics of the Chicano, Mestizo and Afro/Mulatto varieties exhibit.

    The only reason there’s still an appreciable black turnout is that so many of today’s elderly black women still remember the civil rights movement as a matter of conscious memory, and remember all the rhetoric about the power of the franchise. I think that once they move on to the next world, and there are no more black people left who consciously remember the civil rights movement, then both the rate and the raw turnout of black voters will plunge in a hurry.

    • Shadow

      Thank you for your very hopeful comment.

      • Maybe not “hopeful,” but more like “not quite as bad as it seems.” Still, don’t think we’re in store for some kind of utopia. It’s just that we have more time than we think to save ourselves.

    • TruthBeTold

      Which is by black ‘leaders’ are eager to jump on any ‘crisis in the black community’ to rally the troops.

      Trayvon Martin is the new Emmitt Till or at least they tried to make him out to be.

      Blacks only react crisis to crisis. No crisis, no agenda.

    • The Hispanic influence is perhaps also reduced by their perpetual whining, which even when not actually infuriating, very much does make us want to ignore them.

      I loathe what the GOP stands for today, but I am a registered Republican, just so I can vote in the primaries. I mail-in voted for Tom Tancredo for state governor ten days ago. I regard voting as a duty; even when I hate every careerist parasite on a given ballot, there is always some waste-o-money spending initiative that I want to vote against (that’s the way it works in Colorado), so I regard voting as a duty.

      I couldn’t vote while I was locked up for 36 months, I couldn’t vote while I was on supervision afterward for 42 months, but I sure re-registered as soon as it was legal for me to do so.

  • In San Antonio they turn out for high profile elections. The mayor is the despicable anti-white Marxist Julian Castro, the new DemoRat superstar. If the San Antonio pattern spreads to the rest of the country, Mexicans will be taking control of vast areas of US territory, which will not be a good thing for whites, as corruption and lies is all these creatures know.

  • Einsatzgrenadier

    Hispanics don’t need to worry about having a larger political voice. Their only political strategy is to keep mass immigrating to the United States and breed in large numbers. Once they reach critical mass, they’ll simply take over and the US federal government will just hand over the country on a silver platter.

    • Tarnished silver, there won’t be any good sliver left after we’ve sold everything to pay for them to keep reproducing.

  • italian guy

    This happens everywhere in the West when liberals talk about immigrants, first they are guest workers that “do the jobs locals won’t do and anyway it’s just a bunch of them so nothing will change”… then their numbers grow and they deserve political representation, it happens literally everywhere, i hate being the tin foil hat guy, but this is seriously being done by design… leftists and anti-Whites alike work together internationally, Whites should start doing the same on a political level.

  • borogirl54

    I hear all the time that states like Texas and Georgia will go blue. I doubt it. The majority of the Hispanics in these areas are illegal immigrants who have no path to citizenship. DACA only allows its recipients to renew their work permits every two years. It does not lead to citizenship.

    • Pro_Whitey

      The lack of franchise is not for lack of trying by the leftists. But I’m glad the article inadvertently points out how useless is the GOP push to attract hispanics. As others have pointed out, the concessions will drive whites away from voting GOP (see Ohio and Pennsylvania in the 2012 presidential election), and even if it did not, it would require garnering nearly 100% of the hispanic vote to make it worthwhile, and that is just about impossible.

  • JackKrak

    Yes, when I want political analysis, I want it from a Mr. Cohn at the NYT……

  • ElComadreja

    Yes, let’s give mestizo scum an even bigger voice than they already have. Great idea.

  • Drew

    I think it is obliquely relevant (?) at least in this matter to note that AR does a very vital task of relating the minds of people to the topic of evolved biological overlapping distinctions between people. But a great task is to relate all this back to the minds of people—that is to say, to take due cognizance that the troubling complexities are not “out there” but within the complex conscious and subconscious mental/perceptual dynamics of humans—and rendered all the more complex by media manipulations. People fail to “know” not so much out of ignorance but out of a commonly shared, commonly observed, sense of being able to admit biological differences with respect to “this” area of life but not to “that” area, and perhaps to admit such differences somewhat obliquely to “yet another” area. It is a challenge not for journalism and science writing—basic as that is—but for Art–drama, comedy, poetry, cinema—for those elements of culture that reveal to people what they have already experienced but not yet admitted to themselves.