During the most consequential election of a lifetime, the topic of conversation everywhere was ‘the Latino vote.’ For decades now, the influence of the Latino vote has been forecasted to be of growing impact. Everything about this year has been far from typical, but why is the Latino vote the enigma?
This election season, voters turned out in record numbers all over the country. Battleground states like Pennsylvania, Georgia, and the late Senator McCain’s home state of Arizona, all turned blue. This was all made possible by massive voter registration pushes in communities of color. Thanks to Nsé Ufot’s organization, the New Georgia Project, youth voters made up 21% of Georgia’s ballots this election. LUCHA -- the same Arizona Latinx grassroots organization that secured former Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s 2016 defeat -- was hard at work knocking doors and registering people to vote. Data from the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office shows 19% more Arizona voters had registered since 2016.
On Saturday morning, Joe Biden was elected President with a historic 74 million votes. However, Latino voters also showed up to the polls for the Trump campaign in states like Texas, and nearly polarized Miami-Dade County in Florida -- a district the Biden campaign should have secured. Analysis includes anti-communist sentiment in Cuban American immigrants and traditional Catholic values that may have pushed against Biden’s pro-choice messaging. While campaign strategists and political commentators attempt to profile Latino voters, they completely ignore the rich diversity of our cultures, values, and learned experiences. This election cycle, Americans came to learn more about Latinos than ever before. The Latino vote cannot be defined by red or blue, republican or democrat--our convictions tell a story of who we are and where we come from.
After a tumultuous election season, 32 million Latinos of all ages and political ideologies were registered to vote across the country. Masked, registered, and eager, Latinos showed up to the polls and made their difference during a pandemic that has been disproportionately of color. On the ballot, more than a presidential race, Latinos saw their very futures on the line. After witnessing countless attacks on DACA, asylum seeking immigrants, and the negligence attached to the separation of more than 600 children from their immigrant parents, Latinos exercised their American right and cast their vote towards an administration that can better serve Latino Americans.
President Elect Biden’s immigration policies are promised to include repealing the Trump administration’s executive orders, ‘a roadmap to citizenship, and “not a foot of wall constructed during (his) administration,” according to Biden himself. Ultimately, the stark contrast in the Biden administration’s immigration policies include prioritizing family reunification and finding meaningful solutions for the many undocumented immigrants currently in this country. While the country’s COVID-19 infection rate continues to climb, policy around economic reform and health care is expected to be first on the list for the President Elect. Until then, the Latinx community must come to realize under the gaze of both the democratic, and republican parties, what leverage we have in deciding the fate of our country.
Regardless of who is willing to listen, Latinx voices will only ring louder.