Latinos can be an electoral force in 2020

Latino turnout surged in the midterms, early signs show.

There are 27.3 million eligible Latino voters in the United States, according to the Pew Research Center – 12 percent of the electorate. Historically, most haven’t voted. In the 2014 midterm election, just 27 percent of eligible Latinos cast ballots, compared to 43 percent of eligible white voters.

These midterms looked different.

Final data from the 2018 election won’t be available for months, but absentee and early voting tallies – along with exit polls and Spanish language Google searches on polling locations – suggest that Latinos voted in record numbers on Tuesday.

There was a nearly 120 percent increase in absentee and early ballots cast by Latinos compared with 2014, according to my analysis of data from Catalist, an electoral research firm. Seventy-six percent of those requests came from “strong Democrats.”

Yet hope among Democrats that Latinos rejecting President Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant policies would trigger a blue tsunami were dashed in Texas and Florida. Both states have large Latino populations and high-visibility candidates whose campaigns targeted and excited Latino voters with progressive agendas for tackling inequality.

Why couldn’t Latinos hand wins to Democrats Beto O’Rourke of Texas and Andrew Gillum of Florida?