Is the Latino Vote Up for Grabs? Candidates on Both Sides Rush to Reach Voters

The Takeaway

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As the 2016 presidential campaign moves away from Iowa and New Hampshire, the candidates are trying to court a more diverse electorate in South Carolina and Nevada.

Latino voters represent one of the nation's most dynamic groups, with millennials making up half of the voting population. Even in smaller states like South Carolina, where 88,000 Hispanics are eligible to vote, the candidates are counting on turn-out to win. 

A few weeks ago, many thought Hillary Clinton had both South Carolina and Nevada on lockdown, thanks to minority voters. But after a major loss in New Hampshire, some of her supporters are taking a second look at Bernie Sanders.

After President Obama captured the vast majority of the Latino vote in 2012, the GOP has tried to diversify its base, a goal highlighted by Republican National Committee (RNC) Chair Reince Priebus in 2013 with the group's "Growth and Opportunity" report.

"By the year 2050, we’ll be a majority-minority country," Preibus said at the National Press Club when announcing the report. "And in both 2008 and 2012, President Obama won a combined 80 percent of the votes of all minority groups. The RNC cannot and will not write off any demographic, community, or region of this country.”

Where does the Latino community currently stand, and what do the Republican and Democratic candidates have to do to win their votes?

For answers, we turn to Artemio Muniz, chair of the Texas Federation of Hispanic Republicans, and Laura Cahue, director of Somos South Carolina (We Are South Carolina), a political education project of the South Carolina Progressive Network.