“Pfft, that’s a problem for [INSERT RANDOM 2016 PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE HERE]. Man, I don’t envy that guy.” – Every Politician Running in the 2014 Midterms
A few weeks ago, President Barack Obama announced that he would be delaying any executive action involving immigration until the 2014 midterm elections are through. If you were to add this recent development with House Majority Leader John Boehner’s GOP statement on the issue, it’s clear. Immigration reform ain’t happening any time soon.
But why? Latinos after support immigration reform the most, compared to any other group. Wasn’t the Latino vote supposed to be one of the fastest rising voting blocs in the US? Wouldn’t doing LITERALLY ANYTHING regarding immigration reform, gain them a crucial demographic for future elections?
While all this is true, politics has never been about “the bigger picture.” It’s guided generally by one single phrase, “what have you done for me lately?” And when it comes to the Latino vote, in this election anyway, it doesn’t look to be all that vital.
A recent study from the Pew Research Center found that Latinos in 8 out of the 9 states – Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, North Carolina – which senate seats are currently up for grabs, made up only 5% or lower when it came to eligible voters. Colorado was the only one from the list that had a respectable 14% of eligible voters that were Latino. The lowest of the group was Kentucky that had 1.6% of Latinos that were eligible to vote. The problem is while Latinos do make a considerable percentage of the voting populace, in these battleground states for 2014, they are barely a blip on either party’s radar.
When it comes to the power that groups wield in US politics, numbers matter. In this case, both parties are looking at the Latino voting bloc and deciding that they would rather take their chances during the 2016 elections. Because if you’re either party, why tempt fate?
As many analysts have hinted that executive action would only end up energizing the Republican base in senatorial toss-up states, thus putting both the House and Senate in GOP control. Even though there are studies showing that this isn’t necessarily true, for Democrats losing the Senate in 2014 would be a major blow going into the 2016 presidential elections. To them, why risk it?
While Latinos are definitely not going to be ignored in the coming presidential election, as for 2014, I think Morgan Freeman echoes the sentiments of both the Democrats and Republicans when it comes to immigration reform this year.
(Photo Credit: Pew Research Center, Google Images)