President Donald Trump has done almost everything he can to anger Latino voters. And yet, his support among this crucial portion of the electorate remains surprisingly consistent. After the 2016 election, exit polls analyzed by the Pew Research Center showed that 28 percent of Latino voters supported Trump; today, 30 percent support him.
This percentage may not seem high. But consider what the number means for the Democrats: Displeasure with the president over the past three years has not led to an increase in support for the opposing party.
Democrats lost the 2016 election with about 66 percent of the Latino vote. Today 65 percent of registered Latino voters who are Democrats have a positive view of the party’s presidential candidates. Based on exit polling from the past three election cycles, I estimate that Democrats need about 70 percent of this vote to take back the White House.
Having worked at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus during the Obama administration, I am firmly aware of the power of the Latino vote, and so I have been watching these numbers with alarm. When Democrats reach out to Latino voters, they are too focused on immigration, and say too little about other issues these voters prioritize. If they want to win over enough Latino votes to retake the White House, Democrats must continue to fight for the immigrant community, but they must also offer a positive, aspirational narrative that embraces Latinos as a vibrant part of America.