WASHINGTON (CNS) — Latinos are changing American politics perhaps more than politics are changing Latinos.
To hear speakers at a Nov. 16 online forum in Georgetown, Politics is working to bring Latinos into the fold.
Jens Manuel Krogstad of the Pew Research Center, in his work studying Latin American demographics and politics, noted that Latinos do not identify as strongly with Democratic or Republican parties as other Americans.
“Latino support for both parties has fluctuated over the decades,” Krogstad said at a forum sponsored by Georgetown University’s Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life on, “How Latinos do they change politics and how does politics change Latinos?”
Democratic support peaked at 70% under the presidencies of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, while GOP support reached 40% for George W. Bush and 38% for Donald Trump.
“At the same time, about half of Latinos say they don’t see much difference between parties,” Krogstad said.
“Latinos who are Catholic tend to be more progressive than Latinos who are evangelical and Protestant,” said Religion News Service panelist Alejandra Molina.
“Latinos are not a monolith,” said Olivia Perez-Cubas of the Winning for Women Action Fund, which recruits and financially supports Republican women candidates. “The GOP depends on its ability to build a tent to diversify the party — which we’re not very good at but I think we’re working on — to speak to a diverse group of voters, and Latinos are very important to this equation.
The outcome of the Nov. 8 midterm elections for Latinos is that “the community is consistent – it’s very consistent – in which party will control Congress, in which party will win the presidential election,” said Julián Castro, former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, former mayor of San Antonio and himself a 2020 presidential candidate.
Krogstad said American-born Hispanics add 1 million new potential voters to the population each year. He noted that in the 1980s and 1990s “immigration from Mexico was largely the primary driver of Hispanic population growth in the United States,” but said that Hispanic immigration from this country had “slowed to a trickle”.
Hispanics now make up about 14% of the electorate, double the figure in 2000. They also view the Democratic Party more favorably than the Republican Party.
“Latinos have overwhelmingly expressed support for abortion rights, especially after Roe’s cancellation,” Molina said. “There’s been an assumption that Latinos are inherently religious and therefore conservative and anti-abortion, and it’s not as black and white as that.”
Molina, however, acknowledged the appeal of “high-level Latino evangelical pastors” – noting that one of them is the Reverend Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference – “who in the past have spoken in favor of (former President Donald) Trump because they said he was against communism, against socialism.
Castro, who is currently a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, said the communism card has been played by the GOP, particularly in appeals to Cuban and Venezuelan Americans.
“Traditionally, much of the Democratic Party’s outreach has centered on civil rights and issues such as equality, as well as aspirational issues and issues such as access to better education and health care. health and better jobs, those things that I think really resonate with hard-working Latino families. ,” he added.
Perez-Cubas said: “Republicans were hoping, like, gas, economy, inflation was going to be that key message – and quite frankly it fell flat, and we saw it in every area, not just Latino voters.”
“There is broad recognition by millions of people in the country, whether they are Latinos or (from) different walks of life, that our political system is fundamentally broken,” said Michael Okinczyc-Cruz, executive director of the Coalition for spiritual and public leadership.
He is also an adjunct professor at Loyola University Chicago’s Institute of Pastoral Studies and a community organizer in suburban Chicago.
The answers, he suggested, lie less in “how can we engage communities (to vote) but what role ordinary people can play in shaping the forces and factors that come into play in their lives by about schools, the local economy, the environment, opportunities for their children and the future.
The “most urgent and necessary question,” Okinczyc-Cruz said, “is whether we can organize grassroots power in such a way that it is in the collective hands of ordinary people, our great-grandfathers. parents, working class people, young people, and that power can be controlled by people and wielded by people responsibly, strategically and truthfully.
Castro recalled when “my mother was a Chicana activist in the 1970s and they were very frustrated with the system – it’s mostly Mexican Americans (in) Texas and South- Is – and their response was to quit the Democratic Party but not go to the Republican Party.”
“They created a third party” to build power to solve their problems, he said.
“We have to look to ourselves,” Okinczyc-Cruz said. “My mother took me to church four days a week. It drove us crazy, but it’s what helped shape who I am today.
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