Hillary Clinton 2016 and the Latino Vote

By Raisa Camargo, Voxxi

Election Day is officially a week old, but that hasn’t stopped the mainstream media from speculating whether Hillary Clinton should run in 2016.

The Clintons still hold plenty of sway with Latino voters some analysts would venture to indicate. Bill Clinton also did events or calls for 52  down-ballot candidates this cycle, many of whom won on Tuesday, according to Politico.

In terms of the Latino vote, the Clintons have also established their relationship with the Latino community for years. Juan Andrade, president of the U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute, was quick to note Hillary’s potential appeal to the Latino community.

“If she jumps in the race in 2016, she’ll be the favorite among Latino voters,” said Andrade. “The Clintons they go back to 1972 in the Latino community. No one goes back that far in the Latino community.”

Hillary held the Hispanic edge over Obama

It was Hillary who held the edge over Latino voters during the Democratic primaries in 2008. Obama was heavily criticized at the time for his lack of strategy on appealing to the Latino community.

“During the primaries, Hillary Clinton was really the Latino candidate for president,” said Angelo Falcon, president of the National Institute for Latino Policy. “If you look at the news media exit polls, you’ll notice that the only other candidate for president who got a higher percentage than the 71 percent that supposedly Latinos gave to Obama was Bill Clinton.”

In 1996, Falcon cited that Bill Clinton received an estimated 72 percent of the Latino vote.

previous poll showed Hillary ahead at the time among Latinos in five top Hispanic states. Some of the Democratic Hispanic candidates were also quick to back Clinton. But Clinton’s list of Latino endorsements was longer, according to news reports. Falcon added that loyalty among Latino party elected officials ran deeper for Hillary because Obama was unknown at the time.

“Hillary and Bill Clinton not only know where they (Hispanics) live, they’ve been to their houses already,” said Andrade.

Hillary Clinton 2016, too early bid

Still, analysts are careful to signal Hillary’s shot considering it’s too early to tell whether she will even run. She decided to sit out the second term under the Obama administration and that caused some to question whether it’s a long term break.

There is also more expectation on the Democratic Party to perform on immigration reform. That could alter the political environment for possible presidential Democratic contenders in 2016. Much of that also depends on the stance the Republican Party will take in the next four years.

“There are too many things that are unanswered at this point,” said Falcon.

Already two Democratic Senators are pushing for a bipartisan consensus on immigration reform. And with the key swing states where Latinos grew could draw plenty of contention in the next election cycle, the need for the Latino vote in 2016 will be even more crucial. Liz Lopez, a Democratic strategist and Counsel in the Washington, D.C. office of Barnes & Thornburg LLP, said she “wishes” Hillary would throw her support behind the presidential bid in 2016.

“She was already a very strong candidate, but now we would have a woman that has served as a Senator, has served as a cabinet member, has been in the White House,” Lopez said. “It’s a very unique set of skills she will be bringing to the presidency.”

Yet, instead of focusing on the Republicans, Falcon said the real pressure should be placed on the Democratic Party.

“If the Democrats don’t come through on immigration reform—we’re going to be back to square one down the road no matter what happens November 6,” said Falcon. ”The Latino community has been one of the most loyal segments of the Democratic Party and I think it’s about time we cash in on that and make them pay up after all these years.”

This article was first published in Voxxi.

Raisa Camargo is a staff writer at Voxxi.

[Photo by DonkeyHotey]

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