The 2020 election marks the first time Latinos will be the largest minority group in the electorate, with 32 million eligible voters. It is now clear; no political party can win the White House without Latino voters. But Latinos cannot do this alone.
This election is not just about which party controls the White House; it is about uniting to fight the white nativist identity politics narrative that is tearing our country apart. To challenge this narrative, now more than ever, white people and communities of color need to come together.
President Barack Obama, the last winning Democrat presidential candidate, embraced a narrative of hope rooted in the ascendency of a multicultural America. His message was unifying, “we are all in this together.” In this frame, white Americans are included in an inclusive vision of American: one that embraces differences instead of using it to divide us.
The prevailing narrative, since the last presidential election, is rooted in white nativist identity politics, “white people are the victims of a multicultural America; the enemy is among us; we must take back our country by any means necessary.”
Our country continues to grapple with this divisive narrative, which led to the highest rate of hate crimes in 16 years. It led to a white woman in Iowa running over a 14-year-old girl, simply because she was a Latina, and a gunman driving hundreds of miles to El Paso to open fire on Latinos in a Walmart.
Sadly, the narrative of white nativist identity politics is compelling and has proven to be lethal. To be clear white identity is not a problem; tying our national culture to a white nativist agenda is highly problematic.
White Americans also have an essential role in fighting these harmful narratives. Them, alongside communities of color, particularly Latino, African American, and Asian American people, are all equally important in fighting these narratives of hate.
This election cycle, we must not let white nativist rhetoric deter us from forging a united front in turning the tide against hate in America. The numbers show, our country will only win with the high turnout from African American, Latino, and Asian-American voters coupled with a moderate increase in white voter turnout.
The good news is we have seen this before. Exit polls from the past three presidential cycles provide much to be optimistic about. The victory was won with anywhere between 39 to 43 percent of white voters, between 67 to 71 percent of Latino voters, 93 to 95 percent of African American, and 62 73 percent of Asian American voters.
President Barack Obama received 43 percent of the white vote in 2008 with high Hispanic support, historic turnout from black voters at 95 percent, and 62 percent of Asian American voters.
In 2012 President Obama only received 39 percent of the white vote. But was able to win by receiving historic turn out from Latinos 71 percent and high turnout from the African American and 73 percent of the Asian American community.
In 2016 President Trump received 57 percent of the White vote, with Secretary Clinton only received 37 percent of that same vote. In 2016 the loser of the White House only received 66 percent of the Latino vote, 89 percent of the African American vote, and 65 percent of the Asian American vote.
Anyone’s identity group does not win presidential elections; they are won by coalitions. We did not win two presidential elections solely on the backs of one demographic group; we won because we were able to bridge white voters from all strata with an ascendant multi-cultural society. We won because our message was inclusive and reflected the values of our country.
The data and narratives are precise, with a balanced turn out strategy we win, when we are divided falling prey to stories of white nativist identity politics and turnout from voters from communities of color decline, even marginally, we lose.
Having 32 million Latino voters eligible for this presidential cycle is an incredible opportunity. Latinos must do their part to turn the tide on the violence committed against our communities in El Paso, Iowa and throughout the country.
This is a call to action, to win this cycle we are going to have to work together across racial lines to soothe the passions of our country.
Kristian Ramos is the founder and Principal at Autonomy Strategies and a former spokesman for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.