With the 2020 elections approaching, the subject of race in the US is very important in the context of political debate. While black votes have been a considering factor in politics so far, other minorities are growing to play a much bigger role in determining the outcome of elections at the local, state, and federal levels. The Hispanic vote is growing in strength every year, with the number of eligible voters going over 32 million, making up for almost 10% of the entire US population and 13% of the nation’s voters. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the changing role of minorities in the US political system.
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Media Portrayal of the Latino Vote Before 2020 Election
All media outlets place increased importance on the Latino vote in the upcoming elections. The article by Vedantam (2019) highlights the capacity of Hispanic voters to swing the elections in favor of one party or another on a local or a regional level. Arizona and Nevada have recently demonstrated this, where the Hispanic minority, which voted predominantly Democrat (75%), managed to win the senate race (Vedantam, 2019). The article speculates that the surge of activity is motivated by Trump’s victory during the 2016 elections, which happened in part due to the inactivity of minority voters.
At the same time, political representatives from all sides are making motions to make themselves more popular with the Hispanic minority. Medina (2019) showcases this by presenting both candidates for the 2020 presidency from the Democratic party, who often use Spanish in their political rhetoric to appeal to the population. Although the ability to speak Spanish is relatively low on the voter’s list of importance, the effort made to appeal to the crowd shows how important the Latino vote is in the upcoming election (Medina, 2019).
The importance of Hispanics as a minority in the US is often underrepresented. Edelman (2019) states that the “angry vote” is expected due to the decades of systematic oppression and underrepresentation of Hispanics in the government. According to the article, the political tone has changed, as Latinos wish to be seen as makers, not breakers, and be allowed to grow in scale rather than simply receive handouts from the state. The author is making a point that minority issues are likely to be at the forefront of any presidential campaign, should the candidate be serious about winning the election.
This election is vastly different from the 2004 presidential election, which was held only 3 years after the bombings of 9/11. Therefore, foreign issues, terrorism, and the Iraq war were the primary considerations (Pew Research Center, 2005). Domestic policies focused largely on economics, with no room for minority politics to take the lead. Black and Hispanic communities were offered lip service with no significant catering from either side. Unsurprisingly, the activity of the Spanish voters remained low, since they did not have any significant stakes in either candidate, and the American political system effectively prevents other people from running for president without significant corporate and political backup (Pew Research Center, 2005).
The Hispanic vote becomes more important in the scope of the American system. With the republican party and the current Trump administration is increasingly hostile to 1st-generation Hispanic migrants, the Democratic party is set on winning the minority vote by catering to their preferences and willing to reconstruct the narrative of the Latinos based on achievement and not a detriment. The increased self-awareness of the communities makes the 2020 election more important than the 2004 election.
Edelman, C. R. (2019). The race for 2020 is on. Here’s how the candidates can win the Hispanic vote. The Guardian. Web.
Medina, J. (2019). Do Latino voters really care if the 2020 candidates speak Spanish? The New York Times. Web.
Pew Research Center. (2005). 2004 election. Web.
Vedantam, K. (2019). Report: Latino voters flexed muscle in 2018, set to be a force in 2020. Cronkite News. Web.