Informative Essay on Latino Vote Mobilization

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The 2020 Democratic presidential candidate faces many challenges in garnering voter support across the country once they are picked as the nominee. The current viable candidates must look ahead, towards the future, in securing valuable blocs of voter support in order to defeat Trump. One of the most important and relatively overlooked electorates in America is the Latino bloc of voters, which has become the minority ethnic group with the largest population in the U.S. Garnering support and rallying Latino voters would be extremely beneficial for the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee, as Latinos make up a significant population in many potential 2020 swing states. Mobilizing Latino voters has historically been difficult, as Latino voters encompass many different ethnic groups and have different voting interests. In Ricardo Ramirez’s book ‘Mobilizing Opportunities: The Evolving Latino Electorate and the Future of American Politics’, Ramirez attempts to outline the stimuli and patterns that bring Latinos to the polls. Specifically, Ramirez points out that Latinos are usually more involved and mobilized when certain political events cause them to react with high turnout against a harmful policy. Additionally, Latinos’ voting behavior varies highly on which state they reside in; a candidate’s ability to politically mobilize Latinos depends on the cultural and political structures in a given state. In important swing states and trending purple states like Florida, Nevada, and Arizona, different mobilization strategies must be employed to secure Latino votes based on historical and political factors.

Before focusing on different types of mobilization that can be employed, Ramirez emphasizes the essential role of the Spanish language media in mobilizing Latinos to organize; the Democratic presidential candidate should support the Spanish language media as it acts as a catalyst for Latino political support. Spanish TV and, more importantly, Spanish radio have been extremely important to the mobilization of Latino groups. Ramirez attributes the power and accessibility of Spanish radio to the fact that many Latino immigrants who work in the service sector can listen to the radio while they work and effectively ‘stay connected’ throughout the day. Historically, Spanish radio mobilized the movement against California anti-immigrant legislation HR 4437 in 2005, and radio DJs have played an influential role in providing information about protests. Considering the power and reach that these Spanish radio stations have across Latino states, Democrats should focus on appealing to these stations for support. Outreach on these radio stations will be extremely useful for GOTV strategies and for rallying Latinos around the candidate’s political issues. The Democratic candidate appealing to potential Latino voters over Spanish-language radio activates the common ethnic identity of the community, which makes this method of outreach more wide-reaching compared to other forms. Spanish-language radio is an extremely important tool to use to initiate mobilization amongst Latinos and would be extremely beneficial for the Democratic candidate running in the 2020 general election to employ.

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Historically, Latinos have mobilized and gone to the polls at higher rates when faced with a significant threat to the community; in 2020, the issue most prominently affecting Latinos regardless of ethnic background is the current U.S. immigration policy. Under the Trump administration, the increased militarization of the border, as well as his anti-immigrant rhetoric, has instilled fear into Latinos. Efforts to enforce anti-immigrant policies in California in the past resulted in Latinos protesting and voting against these policies and politicians in higher numbers. The perception of a threat in the community and responding to that threat is what Ramirez defines as ‘reactive mobilization’, and this form of political participation has been employed with great but short-lived effects on Latino voting. Reactive mobilization can lead to increased rates of naturalization, greater political interest, and increased mobilization, however, this must be supplemented by Latino organizations to keep this fervor. While Ramirez emphasizes the heterogeneity of Latinos regarding the feasibility of reactive mobilization, current immigration policy has categorized Latinos as one unified group that Trump has targeted as an enemy. Unintentionally, Trump’s current anti-immigrant stance makes the probability of reactive mobilization more likely and strong as Latinos are being politically attacked as an entire group. The best way for the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to approach immigration reform as a threat is to look through it on a state-by-state basis. In Florida, the influx of non-Cubans to the state has made reactive mobilization to the threat of harsh immigration laws possible, as Cubans no longer make up the majority of the Latino population in the state. Historically, Latino movements against voter ID laws have been effective in the state; Democrats should focus on emphasizing the threat of anti-immigrant legislation under the Trump administration to motivate Latinos to get out and vote. In Arizona, reactive mobilization has led to a united Latino front, and despite the smaller population of Latinos in the state, their proximity to the border and status as a red state gives Latinos the agency to participate as they are more directly affected. Democrats should support Latino organizations in the state that are focused on capitalizing on these movements. Finally, in Nevada, the lack of political organizations to grab hold of previous protests has made it difficult to mobilize Latinos in the state. Despite this, Democrats in Nevada should approach this issue by supporting greater naturalization for Latinos in the state, which would bring new voters into the electorate.

Democratic ‘Get Out the Vote’ campaigns seeking to motivate Latino voters in 2020 should focus on proactive strategies in swing and trending purple states, however, these strategies differ between states based on historical and cultural makeup. Proactive mobilization is used to break down barriers in Latino voting, like voter ID laws and registering Latinos to vote. These obstacles are more significant for Latinos because a large number might not speak fluent English, and as a result, organizations have been created to address these inequalities in the voting booth. As Democrats look towards swing states for potential new voters, they must anticipate the variation in the mobilization efforts based on historical and cultural factors, including the presence of Latino organizations and Spanish-language media available. GOTV campaigns need to focus on areas with an already strong presence of Latino organizations committed to increasing political mobilization. In associating with these groups, Democrats could reach more voters that would normally not go to the polls. In Florida, GOTV campaigns for the Democratic candidate would likely be very useful for gaining votes in the state because many non-Cuban Latinos have moved into Florida and they maintain a more liberal ideology. Due to Florida’s history of catering mostly to Cuban Latinos, the new influx of non-Cubans means that the possibility for dynamic mobilization is present as these new potential voters move in. A strategy in Florida would be to align with key civic organizations, with caution about potentially losing Cuban voters by moving too left. In Arizona, proactive mobilization has only recently left Latino civic groups in place, which means that there is a large untapped potential to appeal to new Latino voters. However, the lack of influence from Spanish-language radio, as well as the large amount of underage or first-time eligible Latinos in the state, means that the 2020 election may be the first time that many of these potential voters can move the state bluer. Ramirez also makes the distinction that while at the moment Arizona does not seem to be a potential sight for Latino mobilization, it will become one as Latinos turn 18 and civic infrastructure becomes more solid. Finally, in Nevada, focusing on GOTV efforts would require a lot of effort, for a potentially low return, as much of Nevada needs more support in registering eligible voters as well as promoting naturalization. As a result, GOTV efforts in Nevada would require mobilization from Latino organizations as well as labor unions to register a large number of eligible voters.

The Latino electorate is a highly complex and powerful force in the United States that has mobilized in the past for issues they perceived as a threat. Looking ahead to the 2020 election, garnering Latino support will require a combination of outreach, as well as collaborating with Latino organizations to register and motivate more voters. The use of Spanish-language radio would be extremely useful in appealing to a large group of potential voters. Highlighting a potential threat to the Latino community in Trump’s anti-immigrant policy would also create temporary support for the 2020 Democrat. Additionally, establishing connections in states with large Latino populations to build rapport for GOTV campaigns will pay off as more voters register and become informed about politics. In Florida, Arizona, and Nevada, the strategies that can be employed to activate mobilization amongst Latinos could lead to a blue trend and potentially even a decisive victory in these states.

Work Cited

  1. Ramirez, Ricardo. 2013. Mobilizing Opportunities: The Evolving Latino Electorate and the Future of American Politics. Charlottesville, VA: The University of Virginia Press.
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Informative Essay on Latino Vote Mobilization. (2023, October 11). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 14, 2024, from
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