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Beverly Hills, California, United States
Eli Kantor is a labor, employment and immigration law attorney. He has been practicing labor, employment and immigration law for more than 36 years. He has been featured in articles about labor, employment and immigration law in the L.A. Times, Business Week.com and Daily Variety. He is a regular columnist for the Daily Journal. Telephone (310)274-8216; eli@elikantorlaw.com. For more information, visit beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com and and beverlyhillsemploymentlaw.com


Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Are Minority Voters Angry Enough to Come Off the Sidelines?

U.S. News and World Report
By Susan Milligan
July 24, 2018

AMERICA’S MINORITY voters are angry at the Trump administration, horrified at family separation of immigrants at the border, and favor Democrats in swing districts by double-digit margins, according to a poll released Tuesday by Latino Decisions. But will they show up at the polls this fall?

Latinos, African-Americans and Asian-Americans have been reliable Democratic supporters for decades. But lower turnout, especially among Hispanics, has meant that Democrats have not been able to ride that support to victory, either in the 2016 presidential election or races for Congress.

But this year, the poll’s authors say, minority voters are not just getting mad – they’re ready to get even. The survey looked at 61 competitive House districts and found that Latinos, African-Americans and Asian and Pacific Islanders prefer a Democrat for Congress by more than 2-to-1 margins. Native Americans favored Democrats by a 20 point margin, 52 percent to 32 percent, while white voters in those districts want to elect a Republican, 48 percent to 41 percent.

When all are added up, Democrats have a 13 point advantage, 51 percent to 38 percent, in the districts across the nation that will likely decide who controls the House next year, according to the poll, sponsored by minority rights groups America’s Voice, Mi Familia Vota, Indivisible, the NAACP and the Asian American and Pacific Islander Civic Engagement Fund.

“These voters are paying attention and are highly motivated to vote,” Matt Barreto, founder and principal of Latino Decisions, said in a conference call with reporters. While Hispanic turnout has been low in the past, anger tends to increase turnout – and that’s a very present factor this year, when minorities feel under attack by the president and his administration, Barreto said.

And while then-candidate Donald Trump was very clear during his campaign about his desire to build a wall on the border with Mexico and ban Muslims from entering the United States, the reality of the first 18 months of Trump’s presidency has infuriated minority voters and their advocates, he said.

“It seems that each month, there’s something new that seems more horrifying than the month before. I do think it’s transferring into anger,” Barreto said.

Latinos in particular underperform at the ballot box, relative to their potential electoral strength. The number of Latino voters has been increasing dramatically since 1998, according to the Pew Research Center – but so has the number of Latino non-voters.

While many expected Latino turnout to surge with Trump – who had made disparaging comments about Mexicans and other Latinos – in the race, Hispanic turnout dropped from 2012 to 2016, according to a Brookings Institution analysis last year. African-American turnout also dropped from 2012 to 2016 from about 13 percent to about 12 percent, a fact political analysts attributed to the lack of an African-American at the top of the ticket.

The struggle is even mightier for Democrats in midterm elections years, when turnout tends to drop. But that may not be the case this November, the poll suggests. Eight out of 10 Latinos, African-Americans and Asian-Americans said they were determined to vote this fall, while 7 out of 10 Latinos – more than whites or any other minority group – said they thought it was more important to vote this year than in 2014, the poll found.

“Latinos are tired of being attacked” and are motivated to make their sentiments clear at the ballot box, said Karina Martinez, communications director for Mi Familia Vota.

Anger over Trump’s immigration rhetoric and policy moves other minority groups as well, even if they are not directly affect by it, said Henry Fernandez of the African-American Research Collaborative.

In Virginia’s gubernatorial race last year, for example, GOP candidate Ed Gillespie ran ads tying his Democratic opponent, Ralph Northam, to the Latino gang MS-13 (since Northam was opposed to a ban on so-called “sanctuary cities”). The backlash against the ad went across racial and ethnic lines, but “the group that reacted most strongly to these MS-13 ads were African-Americans,” Hernandez said. In general “African-Americans respond most strongly to these racialized attacks,” because they know they will eventually become targets as well, he said.

Democrats, too, need to embrace the immigration issue, said Frank Sharry, executive director of the immigrants rights group America’s Voice. “Over time, Democrats realized that running away from this issue, or talking like Republicans, doesn’t actually help you. It hurts you,” Sharry said. “It’s better to lean in on the issue.”

For more information, go to: www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

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