by Michiko Murai
The 2020 presidential vote is approaching and as Trump crusades on his “Keep America Great” campaign the competition grows; 18 democrats currently declared they are running. While Trump continues to fight illegal immigration from Central America with a wall, hispanic democrats are encouraging the hispanic voting population to vote and vote blue.
Currently Latinos are one of the most attacked ethnic groups in the United States. By insulting Central American countries, showing no support for Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, treating illegal American immigrants inhumanely, and forcing Mexico to pay for a wall that they don’t want, the bigoted President Trump has enraged one of the fastest growing ethnic constituencies in the United States. Their vote is essential to getting Trump out of office. The only problem: voter turnout is low because as a group, they have been oppressed to the point of no hope.
Trump continues with his anti-immigration rhetoric and still, Latino votes are still not voting democrat. According to a Pew report in October of 2018, three quarters of Latino Americans believe the wall should not be built however, a quarter of all Latino Americans believe there are too many immigrants.
In 1986, the latino vote turnout was 2.9 million ballots and in 2014 it was 6.8 million. Although there was increase of votes the percentage of voters fell from 38.7% to 27.1%. If the 2014 turnout rate stayed constant with the 1986 rate, latino votes would have summed up to 9.7 million ballots.
In addition to the low hispanic voting turnout rates, Hispanics are not voting democratically. Fernand Amandi, a democratic pollster and podcast host in Miami, states, “The question is not are Democrats winning the Hispanic vote — it’s why aren’t Democrats winning the Hispanic vote 80-20 or 90-10 the way they are winning black voters?”
We need to treat this lack of Latino political participation like the democrats treated the lack of Black American voting in the Civil Rights Era; with freedom rides and the Freedom Summer of 1964. Through his hate speech, Trump has reversed most of the narrative the Civil Rights movement fought for. Latinos need to be reminded, that they are equal, that their voice is heard by the progressive population of this country. If new leadership is installed, Latinos and the other minority groups of this country can be acknowledged nationally.
Latino women hold their democratic signs with joy and pride. (Photo Courtesy of New Yorker)
Beaverton High School has a large population of latino students and future voters. Latino senior, Luis Cabanilla stated with confidence, “yes” when asked if he will vote for a democratic candidate in the 2020 election. He explained his vote with a personal story, “Especially for me I always wanted to vote since my mom is undocumented. For me it has always been, ‘what is the best way that I can help my through voting.’” Luis like many students at Beaverton are affected personally by the President’s insensitive, ignorant comments.
Dylan Garcia, senior and leader in MEChA and Multicultural Student Union also will vote democratic. When asked if he believes the latino population in our generation will vote he states, “They already feel they don’t have a voice now, so they are probably thinking, ‘why would I want to vote my voice already isn’t heard.’”
As a school, as a community, we need to encourage the young to vote and replace the old with democratic representation. We need to encourage the minorities to vote and replace conservative representation with progression. The Latino vote matters more than ever. Standing up now and removing a negative, racist President from office will hopefully bring a larger sense of hope to the United States. Trumps egotistical racist, sexist, homophobic rhetoric is fueled by the power of presidency; if we push him off the throne, he will fail, then we as a democracy can get back to an improving the country.
A latino woman holds a sign, encouraging latinos to vote and showing how much change they can make as large minority group. (Photo Courtesy of the Wall Street Journal)