Almost 15 Million Latinos “Sat Out” 2010 Midterm Election

A recent article in the Washington Post says that 14.7 million Latinos sat out the 2010 midterm elections. I’m not sure that that’s entirely accurate. The numbers come from the Pew Hispanic Center, but it’s not the numbers I have an issue with. It’s the statement I find troubling.

To sit something out is an intentional act; it is intended to send a message. I don’t think that’s what happened here.

I think the better part of 14.7 million Latinos were not engaged in the midterms. Some are not engaged at all, and few others may have decided to intentionally sit it out. Here are a few things to consider:

  • less people vote in midterm elections, in general.
  • but even with a smaller number or participating voters, the Latino vote was lower than the norm.

A quick breakdown, according to the Washington Post:

About 31 percent of eligible Latino and Asian voters cast ballots in the 2010 congressional elections, compared with 49 percent of eligible white voters and 44 percent of eligible blacks, according to the Pew report.

Here’s what’s really interesting to me. Mark Lopez, associate director of the Pew Center and author of the report, said that the total of Latino voters grew, from 5.6 million in 2006 to 6.6 million 2010. What’s more, the number of Latinos eligible to vote increased in that same period 17.3 million to 21.3 million.

Here’s a better way to look at it:

Can you see the potential?

All of this comes after polls that show that Latino support for President Obama is down, and the GOP is trying to figure out a way to get Latinos to look their way. In general we think those are good things because they raise the relevance of the Latino electorate, and with that it’s political clout. On the graph above, that would be the blue bars. What should worry us all are the piddly red bars.

The authors of the Pew study make an interesting point. They say that the low Latino election participation is due, in part, to the youth of Latino voters:

This gap in voter participation between Latinos and other groups is partly due to the large share of Latino eligible voters that are under 30. In 2010, 31.3% of Latino eligible voters were ages 18 to 29, while 19.2% of white, 25.6% of black and 20.7% of Asian eligible voters were under 30. Among young Latino eligible voters, just 17.6% voted. In contrast, among Latino eligible voters ages 30 and older, the voter turnout rate was higher—37.4%.

Typically, voters younger than 29 years are less likely to vote than older voters. So time alone can increase Latino participation?

Youth aside, there are other considerations. Some activists blame candidates for not paying attention to the Latino electorate, either with their campaign messages or with their money (political ads, organization) and voter mobilization drives. But that, I think, puts too much of the blame and onus on others.

It’s a problem we all lament. I think if more Latinos voted the candidates would pay more attention. But it’s the proverbial chicken-or-egg thing (I blaspheme, it’s not a proverb, I know), because if the candidates paid more attention to the Latino electorate more Latinos would vote – or so the thinking goes.

Think of this as a benchmark. As Latinos increase in population and age, and as immigrants become citizens, that red bar could grow on its own.  But that doesn’t mean we should let it happen on its own.

Follow Victor Landa on Twitter: @vlanda

[Photo By whiteafrican] [Bargraph created using Chartle]

Subscribe today!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Must Read

How a harsh criticism turned ‘Coco’ into Pixar’s most uniquely made movie yet

Victor Landa November 17, 2017

Director Lee Unkrich was hot off the box office success and Oscar win for 2010’s “Toy Story 3” when he delved into making a movie that focused on the Mexican […]

Trump Administration Targets and then Mocks Immigrant with Prosthetic Leg

Victor Landa November 15, 2017

A 20-year-old undocumented immigrant with prosthetic leg and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status has been detained by federal immigration agents and held without charges for over a month, treated inhumanely […]

More Latinas are becoming teachers and reshaping our nation’s classrooms

Victor Landa November 29, 2017

The growth of the Latino population in the United States will have a lasting cultural and intellectual impact beyond the arts, food, and celebrations. More and more, Latinas are becoming […]

As Numbers Grow, Recognizing Generations Of Latino Veterans

Victor Landa November 10, 2017

As the nation honors its veterans, government officials point to the growing numbers of Latinos in the military, while Hispanic scholars and historians remind us of the generations of Latino […]

U.S Hispanic Chamber Leader Who Has Had Turbulent Relationship With Trump May Be Ousted

Victor Landa November 22, 2017

The US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) is moving behind the scenes to oust its prominent president Javier Palomarez over allegations that he misused the organization’s money for his personal […]

How Indie Latinx Comic Book Authors Are Capturing the Latinx Experience

Victor Landa November 13, 2017

Back in 2010, comics creator Javier Hernandez was walking around San Francisco with his friend Ricardo Padilla when he had an idea: Why don’t they build a comics convention focusing […]

Half of Latino Immigrant Characters on TV Are Portrayed as Criminals, Study Finds

Victor Landa November 1, 2017

Define American, the immigration nonprofit founded by Pulitzer-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, has released its first-ever media reference guide for writers, directors, and producers concerning Latino immigrant characters. Immigrants and […]

Could Hispanic vote push Lupe Valdez into Texas Governor’s Office?

Victor Landa December 8, 2017

Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez is running as a Democratic candidate for Texas Governor after a year of speaking out on big state issues– particularly the controversial sanctuary cities ban. Experts says […]