Texas’ Latino voting bloc has long been named a “sleeping giant.” If Latinos turned out to vote en masse, the political dynamics of the country’s biggest red state could change dramatically.
In the state’s latest attempt to count Latino turnout in the 2016 election, the data suggests nearly 30 percent more Texas Latinos voted than in 2012 – which may be a low estimate.
Sharon Navarro, professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio, says that while Latinos turned out at higher rates than previous elections, some common predictions about their political leanings were inaccurate. She says that Latinos were primarily concerned with “bread and butter issues.”
“The issue is about economics and jobs,” Navarro says. “It’s not about issues that the media tried to frame as important like immigration or mass deportation. Those turned out to be different.”
Navarro says that like any voter bloc, Latinos vote differently among generational lines. With the majority of voters in the group over the age of 45, they leaned Republican.
“The Latinos didn’t see Democrats speaking about issues of economics, jobs and employment,” Navarro says. “They saw that reflected in the Republican party.”
Written by Emma Whalen.