The Hispanic population in the US is continuing to increase, but at a slower pace than years past. Hispanics have historically supported the Democratic Party. However, since most Hispanics live in states that are not key to election results (states where representation is likely to stay the same), their voting voice has had less of an impact nationally. In states where the vote is critical to a win by either party, fewer Hispanics live, and thus their vote does not impact change. A key state where Hispanics may be critical is Florida, where the Republicans face the task of swaying Hispanics in order to proceed more smoothly through the election. Some Republican nominees are making the effort to court the Hispanic vote, while others seem to claim Hispanic support while aiming to build a country with less Latinos. All Democratic nominees need the Latino vote, and are fighting for it.
Millennials, or everyone who was born in 1981 or later make up almost half of all Hispanic voters, and this number will continue to rise. Hispanic millennials have consistently voted at a much lower rate than older Hispanics. About a quarter of these millennials are immigrants. It is estimated that Latino eligible voters will be almost equal to the number of eligible black voters in the United States. However, it is expected that less of them will vote when compared to other minorities' voter turnout. There are movements set up to increase the number of registered Hispanic voters, and to have those voters turn out on election day. It remains to be seen what kind of impact this will have on overall election results.
In Nevada on February 23, 2016, there were some Latinos who voted for Trump at the Republican caucus. However, a significantly higher number were at the Democrat caucus, more of them voting for Sanders than Clinton. While their presence is notable, a higher turnout will be required for it to make an impact during the Presidential elections.
Approximately 5.5% of Hispanic voters are eligible to vote in Alaska. Currently the state is considered as more Republican than Democrat. Interestingly, even though Barack Obama was defeated in Alaska in 2012, the percentage of the vote for him (a Democrat) was the highest it had been in decades. It is possible that this increase in the Democratic vote in Alaska will continue. In 2014 Hispanics had the potential for their votes to impact results. However, in nearly every race where a Democrat ran against a Republican, the Republican won. Some of those elections were extremely close, with only a few points separating the parties. In others the Republican party won by a landslide. Two factors could have an impact on the elections in Alaska. First, more Hispanics could register to vote. This has the potential of increasing the number registered to vote by almost one third. Second, these registered voters could increase the numbers that do vote. In close races this could have the Democrats showing gains. If past results are an indication of what will happen in 2016, the Hispanic vote will not have a significant impact on politics in Alaska. The trend towards more Democratic representation may continue, but it stands to see whether the Hispanic vote will have a part in this.
Erick Cordero Giorgana is a Real Estate Agent and Political Consultant in the Mat-Su Valley. He is a former member of the Mat-Su Borough School Board and an Alaskan Top 40 Under 40