SAN ANTONIO – Latino voters have been increasingly important for candidates seeking office, from city council to president of the United States.
This population is a focus for politicians because they are one of the fastest-growing racial or ethnic groups in the U.S.
Stereotypes exist in all parts of life, but especially in politics, where ethnic groups may be stereotyped to vote a certain way based on the color of their skin, or the sound of their last name.
CNN’s Daniella Diaz spent the day with a prominent Republican in South Texas recently. She is voting for Donald Trump even though she is Latina and her father is undocumented. And that’s not uncommon.
“They think he will fix the problem with undocumented immigrants in this country, they think he’ll fix problems with the economy, so these voters exist,” Diaz said.
As a businessman, Trump has promised jobs to Latino voters -- not only better opportunities, but better paying jobs.
Diaz said that overall, though, Trump has done a poor job of communicating with Latinos as a whole.
“He called Mexicans rapists, and said some of them are good people. That rhetoric speaks to lots of Latino communities,” Diaz said.
Will Texas turn blue?
The rise in the Latino population, at 2.2 percent nationally since 2004, is why some are counting on the Lone Star State to eventually turn blue. The state has been reliably red since the late 1990’s. Before that, it was dominated by the Democrats for more than 100 years.
Urban areas of the state tend to vote Democratic, whereas the populous rural portions of the state cast their ballot for Republicans. The vast majority of political commentators believe that will stay the same for the most part in the next few elections.
Some do believe that Texas is changing, however.
“I’m from Texas,” Diaz said. “I’m a Latino voter, myself. I’ve heard a lot about how Texas is a swing state, or a battleground state, but I don’t think it’ll be turning blue anytime soon.”
The reason? Diaz said reports show that there’s only a single-digit difference in Hillary Clinton’s numbers over Trump’s. In the past, that was a double-digit difference. Diaz said what it’s showing is that the state is moving toward purple, not blue.
What’s also interesting to note is the millennial demographic. Diaz said that millennials make up the largest group of Latino voters in the U.S.
So candidates are not only having to target specific ethnic groups, but also specific ages of potential voters. Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, a Vermont senator, proved just how powerful millennials were when they showed up to support him.
Diaz said these groups feel disconnected with the process, and therefore either aren’t going to turn out in droves to vote, or they will be harder to persuade when it comes to the candidate they support, and eventually the candidate for whom they will vote.