The Fresno Bee has an interesting report this morning focusing on the growing strength of California’s Latino voting population. Take a look, and you’ll see exactly why Republicans in California are in such deep, deep trouble– even those in deep red seats.
During the 2018 November midterm election, the eligible turnout rate for Latinos (the percentage of adult citizens who voted) was 35.9 percent — an 18.6 percent increase from the 2014 midterm election, according to data released by the University of Southern California’s Civic Engagement Project.
Mindy Romero, a research assistant professor and director of the California Civic Engagement Project at USC, said in Fresno County, the total voter turnout was 41.5 percent, and for Latinos eligible to vote, it was 30.3 percent. Statewide, the total voter turnout was 50 percent.
To put the latest USC statistics into perspective, back in 1994, when California voters approved Proposition 187, Latinos only accounted for 8 to 10 percent of those who voted in the election, according to UC Davis’ Migration Dialogue.
Latino voters comprised 21 percent of total votes in the 2018 election, up from 15 percent in the 2014 midterm election, according to figures by Political Data Inc. and the California Civic Engagement Project.
This is a really, really big problem.
Last year, Rep. Devin Nunes, whose district encompasses a significant proportion of Fresno County and whose district is at least 40 percent Hispanic, only scraped his re-election with 52.7 percent of the vote compared to his normal 70 percent.
Fresno also gets up into Rep. Tom McClintock’s district.
And if the numbers are bad there, they’re probably not great in House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s district, either.
The big question in California progressive politics has never been whether Hispanics would form a meaningful part of the Democratic coalition (Prop 187 guaranteed that). The question has been whether Hispanics can be motivated to vote to the degree needed to oust Republicans in relatively-to-very-safe seats.
Last year, we found out they could. Hence the turnover in Orange County and the LA suburbs, but also the flip of former Rep. Valadao’s seat and Nunes having such a close call.
As a reminder, Nunes was hit relatively early with Spanish-language radio ads like this one (which ran over last summer, despite the upload date)– albeit not an electoral ad but one that nonetheless probably motivated Hispanics to commit months ahead of November to voting against him, even though that wasn’t its actual intention.
In 2020, House Republicans might have an even tougher time in California than they did in 2018, and that could make it harder for the party to string together a nationwide House win, regardless of what happens in the Senate or with the Presidency.