Latinos, the fastest-growing group in the U.S., will control the nation’s political balance of power by 2020, New America forecasters report, citing demographic trends that could alter the decades-long “blue wave” of the Democratic Party’s expansion.
The nation’s first Hispanic president, Barack Obama, won 80 percent of Latino voters in 2008, the equivalent of about 5 million Hispanic ballots. By 2016, his Latino vote share had dropped slightly, to 68 percent — a “hold” in American electoral history.
By 2020, Hispanic registration and turnout could be 15 points higher, New America forecast: In 2000, for instance, only 19 percent of Latinos were registered to vote; by 2020, that number will rise to 45 percent, the experts say. That would increase Mr. Obama’s two-time share of Latino voters to 69 percent.
Mr. Obama lost among Latino voters by eight points, the same margin that Marco Rubio, a Cuban-American senator from Florida and Republican presidential candidate, narrowly lost Florida in 2012.
That ups the stakes for other Republicans as well. Barring a surprise in next year’s Senate primaries — or an unlikely Republican-run electoral slate in 2020, when Mr. Obama won 90 percent of the Democratic caucus — Latino voters would elect two Democratic presidents from 2020-21.
In California, for instance, “it’s a lot harder to find a Republican with the charisma of Jerry Brown,” a Fresno State political scientist, Mark Baldassare, told The Hill, speaking of the gubernatorial race in 2010. “You can’t find a Latino in a statewide office who you would have expected to do the presidential thing, but is unqualified.”
And the point could be subtle: If Republican governors and senators don’t grow younger, on the judiciary side, “they’re going to face the reality that they’re going to be passing up opportunities to get on the Supreme Court,” the political scientist Randy Harris, also speaking to The Hill, said. “That’s when we’re going to be talking a lot about the future of immigration.”