By Ben Monterroso
The young Latino vote will be a key factor in deciding the future of our country; data indicate that they have an unprecedented potential to make their political mark. If Latino millennials unite for the same cause, their electoral power could tip the scale.
Recent generational studies refer to the millennial generation as those born from 1981 to 1996. Right now, they comprise up to 35% of the total American workforce.
There are approximately 58 million Latinos in the United States, of which 34.4% are immigrants and 65.6% have American citizenship. Of these, those under 33 years of age represent around 60% of the whole community.
This is of utter importance for the future of any candidate in the United States: 44% of the Latino community who are eligible to vote are millennials.
It is important to mention, that in general, Latino millennials are interested in matters of education, economy, the health system and national security, as well as programs that specifically support our community.
Every year, close to 900,000 Latinos, who are already citizens, turn 18 years old, and they become eligible to vote. Likewise, around 300,000 Latinos become naturalized citizens.
According to the Pew Research Center, one of the most notable characteristics of millennials within the Latino community is that 51% of Hispanics eligible to vote have identified as independent, without any party affiliation.
The Latino millennial vote matters (a lot) and examples of its influence are showing around the country: It is estimated that by 2030 Texas will have a Latino majority.
Remember what was mentioned previously: If we consider that 44% of Latinos eligible to vote are millennials, these young people will have pivotal roles in the important decisions of this country as time progresses.
But this generation still lacks the elements that will make them gravitate toward politics and therefore toward taking decisions as citizens. For example, in the last midterm elections, only 20% of people ages 18–29 voted. In general, the millennial generation constantly shows distrust toward institutions and political parties.
Even so, there is a growing millennial motivation in political affairs, which is explained by multiple factors, but specifically by the events that have derived recently in social movements, as is the case of protest movements such as #OccupyWallStreet, #MeToo, #MarchOfOurLives and the #SB4Law.
Change is in the hands of our youth; with the active participation of young people, we can glimpse a future with a greater conscience on topics that have not been a priority for this administration. A survey carried out among young adults who are entering colleges highlighted that 80% of the students said that the federal government must be invested in climate change, 71% said that the rich should pay higher taxes and 68% said that gun control legislation should be stricter.
Finally, it is important to conclude that for midterm elections in the history of the United States, there has been a marked tendency of fewer people going out to vote; however, there is a breaking factor this year and that is the millennial youth, specifically those that belong to the Latino community.
The Donald Trump administration and the Republican Party are under great pressure for these elections due to their systematic actions against the migrant community and the Latino community.
Young people are the key to the future of our Latino community and our country, but a generation cannot be considered as such until they generate something together. If you’re a Latino millennial, it is time to identify with your peers, get out together and vote in these midterm elections for a better future.
Ben Monterroso is the executive director of Mi Familia Vota. Contact him @MiFamiliaVota Facebook and Twitter.