Opinion: The “Latino vote” does not exist
Not all Latinos vote the same and people need to understand that
November 19, 2020
As one of the largest minority voting groups in the United States, it is no surprise that the Latino vote has grown in importance since the 2016 presidential election. Yet despite its rising impact, presidential candidates Donald Trump and Joe Biden were still unable to properly cater toward the Latino community through their campaigns. As a result, neither candidate had an overwhelming number of Latino supporters. This disparity is most likely due to the fact that the “Latino vote” politicians have tried desperately to capture does not actually exist.
Although many would argue that immigration is an important issue for this voting demographic, that is just not true. In fact, according to a survey by UnidosUS, an advocacy group for civil rights, and Latino Decisions, a polling and research firm for Latinos, the biggest concern facing Latinos is the economy. As a Latina, I’m not surprised that immigration isn’t the main concern within my community because many Latinos own small businesses, which outweighs immigration concerns. Also, many of us were born in the U.S, meaning we do not all share the same pro-immigration stance. This is just one of the many reasons why it is difficult to generalize the Latino stance on political and social issues.
It is common for people to assume that all Latinos are the same and, therefore, vote similarly; however, this is far from true. If America really wants to understand how Latinos vote, we first have to clarify certain misconceptions. The first one being that Latino is a race– it is not a race; it is an ethnicity.In other words, Latinos come from many different countries and can be different races, meaning that they prioritize different values. For this reason, it is not safe to assume that all Latinos are democrats because many are actually conservatives.
There are many factors that influence how Latinos vote or what political party they affiliate with; however, the biggest influencer would be which country they come from. While Mexican-Americans tend to be more liberal, Cuban and Venezuelan Americans are more conservative. Mexican-Americans are open to an expansion of government in the U.S. and more progressive ideas, however, Cuban and Venezuelan Americans fear the corruption which they feel is closely tied to a more socialist government. Originating from countries where socialist regimes rule, they have seen the effects of socialism and how it destroyed their countries and families. For this reason, many lean right when it comes to casting a ballot.
Religion also plays a large role in Latino values. According to Pew Research, 55% of Latinos in the U.S. identify as Catholic, meaning that many have a strong stance when it comes to abortion and protecting the rights of the unborn. However, despite these differences, the bottom line is that the Latino community is diverse and cannot be generalized when it comes to political affiliations. Although it is complex, it is important to recognize these differences in values and understand the reasoning behind them.