Monday, November 07, 2016

Hispanics Are Poised For Historic Voter Turnout

If Donald Trump goes down to defeat tomorrow - which I fervently hope will be the case - his undoing may track to Hispanics whom he has demonized and attacked from day one of his campaign. True, Hispanics have not been Trump's only target for slander and denigration - add blacks, women, gays, non-Christians and others to the list - but Hispanics have been the target of choice.  As a piece in the Washington Post reports, indications are that Hispanics will be turning out in record numbers to send Trump to defeat.  Hopefully others who believe in morality and decency will turn out as well in force.  Here are article highlights:
 Five undocumented domestic workers, all named Maria, fanned out across Little Havana delivering a desperate, last-minute plea to Hispanic voters: We can’t vote, but you can. Vote early to ensure a President Trump does not deport us.
In Hialeah, a traditional stronghold for Cuban American Republicans, backers of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton drove a colorful, Colombian-style chiva party bus with bongo drums and rumba dancers handing out Cuban pastries and “Hispanics for Hillary” signs.
And in ritzy Coral Gables, Maria Ballaster, a 60-year-old Cuban American who has always voted Republican reflected on why she had just split her ballot — sticking with her party’s nominee for the U.S. Senate, Marco Rubio, while casting a vote for Clinton.
“I trust Rubio, but I don’t trust Mr. Crazy,” Ballaster said.
[T]here are early indications that Hispanics have mobilized for this election like no other in U.S. history. Activist groups and Clinton allies, motivated largely by a deepening fear of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, are deploying new voter outreach strategies and hoping to take advantage of growth in the Latino electorate.
In Nevada, thousands of voters lined up outside an early-voting site at a Latino market Friday night, prompting voting hours to be extended at the end of what has been a record-breaking early-voting surge in the state. Turnout was so high in Clark County, home to Las Vegas, that Democrats enter Tuesday with an advantage similar to the one they held there four years ago when President Obama won Nevada by seven points. 
Early voting is not necessarily an indication of final results, given that those who have turned out so far are highly motivated and that the election will be decided by the millions more who cast ballots Tuesday.
Nonetheless, the increase has taken place even in states such as Texas, where Democrats have not focused on galvanizing voters. The spike appears to be the result of the rising number of Hispanic voters and the increasingly aggressive efforts to organize what has long been considered a potent voting bloc whose numbers have never lived up to their potential. Adding to the fervor is widespread anger at Trump’s incendiary rhetoric about Hispanics and Mexico, suggesting that Clinton could outperform Obama’s 71 percent share of the Hispanic vote from 2012.
“Trump has built a wall, indeed,” said Fernand Amandi, a Democratic pollster who specializes in Latino voters. “And it is a new firewall for Democrats.”
In Florida, early-voting data suggests that Hispanics are emerging as a larger force in the state’s electorate — and that many Latinos are participating for the first time.
The Hispanic share of overall early voters is sharply higher this year, reaching about 15 percent from about 10 percent at this stage four years ago, according to an analysis by University of Florida political scientist Daniel A. Smith. Another examination of the numbers, by Democratic strategist Steve Schale, found that more than half of the Hispanics who have voted so far have either never voted before or voted only once previously.
Across Miami-Dade County, Hispanics seemed to be heavily favoring Clinton.
Marilyn Ralat-Albernas considered the stakes in the election so high for her Hispanic community that she took a month off work to volunteer for Clinton.
One of the most persuasive strategies for Clinton allies has been to send undocumented workers to knock on the doors of potential Hispanic voters to explain the stakes of the election.

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