The number of Hispanic-Latino elected officials has grown nearly 75 percent over the past two decades, but Hispanic-Latino politicians still comprise less thanÂ 2 percent of all elected officials in the country, according to an analysis by the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO).
The Hill reported that the new analysis found that there were 7,087 Hispanic-Latino elected officials as of 2021 out of more than 500,000 elected positions nationwide.
That means around 1.5 percent of all elected officials are Hispanic, compared to 18.5 percent of the population, according to the Census Bureau.
There has been plenty of debate over Hispanic-Latino voters shifting to the right in the 2020 general election. The general consensus is that 3 in 5 (or slightly more) Hispanics-Latinos voted for President Biden over then-President Donald Trump. Still, there’s no denying Trump made gains among Hispanic-Latinos â€” andÂ in some places, quiteÂ sizable ones, as reported by FiveThirtyEight.
Going forward, such swings among Latinos â€”Â the largest ethnic or racial minority group in the countryÂ â€” could affect each partyâ€™s chance of carrying important states while also putting Democratic-leaning turfÂ in play for the GOP.
“This current administration has yet to deliver for the (Hispanic-Latino) community,” said Julio Ricardo Varela, interim co-executive director of Futuro Media Group, co-host of the â€œIn The Thickâ€� podcast, and founder of Latino Rebels. Varela discussed on Under the Radar with Callie Crossley how Democrats’ voter bungling could really haunt them in this year’s midterm elections. He believes not enough has been done to help Hispanics-Latinos, who have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, as well as immigration reform. “It is an issue of the heart.”
“There is a tendency for Democrats to take the Latino vote for granted and assume that because the Latino population is growing then they will permanently gain more and more control,” said Tibisay Zea, senior reporter at El Planeta in Boston. Zea was also a guest on the WGBH News program. She says Hispanics-Latinos tend to act like a swing state.
Hispanics-Latinos are pretty swingy compared with other voting blocs, reports FiveThirtyEight as theyâ€™re just not thatÂ attached to the two major parties. In Gallupâ€™s 2021 polling, 52 percent of Hispanic Americans identified as independent, which was 10 percentage points higherÂ than the population as a wholeÂ (42 percent). And while studies show that voters leaning toward a party do tend to back that party,Â they are still more likelyÂ to vote for the other side than voters who strongly identify with a party.
AboutÂ one-third of Hispanic-Latinos wasn’t born in the U.S., which means many haven’t developed a strong allegiance to either party. As a result, many first-generation Hispanics-LatinosÂ haven’t instilled loyalty to either partyÂ in their children, which is often how younger voters in the U.S. form their partisan identities.
â€œI don’t think either party is doing enough, number one,” Arturo Vargas, CEO of NALEO. â€œOne of the things that we did see the Republican Party do over the past several years is trying to grow the number of Latino Republicans running for nonpartisan offices.”
â€œThat is a smart strategy,” said Vargas who believes the political party that builds a bench of candidates to run for higher office – is the one who ultimately will be successful.