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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Young Black and Latino voters were key in turning back Midterm red wave

In key battleground states for U.S. Senate seats and in close U.S. House contests in the midterm elections, young Black and Latino voters were crucial in halting the “red tsunami” of Republicans, according to evaluations by scholars and grassroots groups.

In the nine battleground states of Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, youth voter turnout was 31%, according to estimates by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University.

The Senate is still undecided, but just three elections remain, Nevada, Arizona, and a runoff election in Georgia, while the House is still undetermined. Earlier forecasts and polls had predicted a Republican “red wave” that would result in at least a House control of Congress.

Analysis of exit polling data revealed that 89% of Black youth and 68% of Latino youth voted for a Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives.

Young voters had a significant influence in the elections in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Georgia, the study found.

Tony Evers, the current Democratic governor of Wisconsin, was reelected by a narrow margin of 51% to 48%. Approximately 70% of young voters supported Evers, while just 30% supported his Republican opponent Tim Michels, according to an analysis of exit poll data by the organization.

Gen Z

This is the first election cycle in which members of Gen Z, the group born between 1997 and 2012, are able to run for Congress, adding to the power of the young vote. Rep.-elect Maxwell Alejandro Frost (D-Florida) won his election this week, becoming the first member of Generation Z and the first Afro-Cuban in Congress at the age of 25.

Gen Z is the most diverse generation to date, with more than half of its members being persons of color. Moreover, according to a Gallup poll, one in five members of Generation Z identify as LGBTQ.

During a midterm election briefing with media on Wednesday afternoon, President Joe Biden highlighted young voter participation and thanked them for helping Democrats retain difficult House seats and flip a Senate seat in Pennsylvania, electing Democrat John Fetterman.

Organizations such as NextGen campaigned to register more than 1.4 million young voters and assisted in bringing 2.6 million young voters to the polls in 2020 – the highest youth voter participation in an election cycle.

Young voters supported U.S. Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock over his Republican opponent, Herschel Walker, by a margin of 63% to 36%, according to estimates from exit polling conducted by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement. The runoff election for the U.S. Senate seat in Georgia is scheduled for the following month.

Latino voting strength

During a meeting with the media, Héctor Sánchez Barba, executive director and CEO of Mi Familia Vota, an organization that strives to increase Latino voting strength, said that 30% of Latino voters are between the ages of 18 and 29, which is “10 years younger than the national average.” 30% of Latinos are under the age of 18, he stated.

“Therefore, when we discuss the Latino vote, we do not necessarily refer to the transactional manner in which our vote is examined in swing states,” he stated. Every day, as an organization, we invest in the long-term viability of democracy.

Latinos are the second-largest voting demographic, according to Yvonne Gutierrez, executive director of Latino Victory, which seeks to boost Latino voter engagement and elect progressive Latino candidates to government.

Early on, Gutierrez said that Latino Victory worked on the ground in crucial states such as Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Texas to promote Democratic candidates, as well as states with increasing Latino populations such as Oregon.

“Latino voters are a significant cornerstone of the Democratic coalition, and we need year-round commitment, not a helicopter at the end of the election cycle,” she said.

Support in congressional contests

Voto Latino, an organization that aims to register Latinos to vote, discovered in Arizona election-eve polling that Latinos supported Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Kelly over Republican opponent Blake Masters. As of Thursday at 4 p.m. Eastern, Kelly leads Masters with 51% of the vote and 70% of votes recorded.

According to Voto Latino, Latinos in Nevada favored Democratic U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto over her Republican opponent Adam Laxalt. At 4 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, Cortez Masto trailed Laxalt with 47.6% of the vote compared to his 49.5%, with 83% of votes recorded. The final results of this election will not be known until sometime next week.

In Pennsylvania, where Republicans lost a U.S. Senate seat to Democrats, Latinos backed Fetterman by a substantial plurality, according to Voto Latino.

In Colorado’s newly formed 8th Congressional District, Democratic U.S. Rep-elect Yadira Caraveo, a doctor and state representative, defeated her Republican opponent, state senator Barbara Kirkmeyer. Voter allegiance is equally divided between the two parties, and the district has the greatest proportion of Latinos among congressional districts in the state.

Caraveo will represent Colorado as the first Latina in Congress.

“Latino voters play an important role in our attempts to strengthen Latino representation,” added Gutierrez. As anti-immigrant and anti-Latino policies and rhetoric increase in the Republican Party, we need more Latino voices at all levels of government to guarantee that our community’s voice is heard.

The Immigration Hub’s chief political and communications officer, Beatriz Lopez, said in a statement that Democrats should examine the success of Fetterman’s campaign in recruiting Latino voters.

She said that he ran a pro-immigration campaign and that his wife Gisele, a “former Dreamer and advocate for hard-working immigrants in her state,” offers a prescription for Democrats on how to speak the talk, battle the assaults, and win big.

Dreamers are young illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States. About 800,000 individuals enrolled in DACA are exempt from deportation. Immigration groups and DACA applicants have pressed Congress to offer a permanent route to citizenship for them, particularly as a federal court reviews a lawsuit that might lead to the program’s prohibition.

Supporting Democrats

Clarissa Martinez De Castro, vice president of UnidosUS Latino Vote Initiative, stated that during the midterm elections, Latinos voted overwhelmingly for Democrats in every state except Florida, where they voted to reelect Cuban-American Republican U.S. Senator Marco Rubio and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

According to a CNN exit poll, DeSantis received around 58% of the Latino vote, while his Democratic opponent, former Florida Governor Charlie Christ, received 40% of the Latino vote.

Republicans have spent decades courting the Latino vote in Florida, mostly by portraying Democrats as communists and playing on the concerns of tyranny and dictators that many Latinos in the state left, said to Kenny Sandoval, vice president of campaigns and partnerships at Voto Latino.

Sandoval expressed displeasure that, despite the fact that Latinos continue to vote for Democrats, community involvement is sometimes an afterthought.

“Latino voters, particularly young Latino voters, are among the most vital communities, and the Democratic coalition will be the fastest growing,” he said. “However, Latino voters and the campaigns that engage them were an afterthought for Democratic fundraisers throughout the entire election cycle because they bought into the false and unsupported argument that Republicans have made significant inroads in the Latino community.”

According to Martinez De Castro, Hispanic voters are often issue-oriented.

“As voters, Hispanics generally reject extremism and stripping people of their rights, as evidenced by their views on abortion, where 76% have stated that regardless of their personal beliefs, they do not believe abortion should be illegal or that this decision should be taken away from everyone else,” she explained.

The national president of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, Yanira Merino, said that many Latinas went to the polls amid the “aftermath of the onslaught on reproductive rights” after the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated the constitutional right to abortion access this summer.

LCLAA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit Latino group linked with the AFL-CIO and Change to Win.

“It is essential to recognize that the Latino vote is not to be taken lightly, and that investment in the engagement of this population is required; it cannot be an afterthought,” she stated.

Cedric Blackwater
Cedric Blackwater
Cedric is a journalist with over a decade of experience reporting on local US news, and touching on many global topics. He is currently the lead writer for Bulletin News.

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