September 20, 2016 – By Ray Hagar, Nevada Newsmakers
The Latino population — and its potential for voters — has always been called the sleeping giant of Nevada politics.
Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Dina Titus said that for the 2016 presidential elections, Hispanics in Nevada are fired up to participate.
“I don’t think there is any question about it,” Titus said on Nevada Newsmakers, when asked by host Sam Shad if she was confident that Nevada Hispanics were “fired up” to come out and vote.
“The need for comprehensive immigration reform, the problem that is being faced by the DREAMERS and their families, the separation of families, comments that have been made by Donald Trump and about building a wall and about (illegal immigrants) being rapist and murderers (are reasons) to motivate the Hispanic community.”
Hispanics in Nevada have voted in larger numbers in each of the last three presidential elections, according to research by the Pew Research Center.
In the 2004 elections, Hispanics had a 10 percent share in voting in Nevada. In 2008, that jumped to 15 percent. In 2012, It was 18 percent.
Titus sees a larger number of Nevada Hispanics voting in 2016 partly because of the issues and partly because of the Democrats’ voter registration/turn out efforts.
In the past, those efforts have been referred to as the “Reid Machine,” in Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has helped organize and fund Nevada Democrats’ voter registration/turnout efforts. The 2016 presidential election will be Reid’s last as a leader of Congress, since he has chosen to retire and not run for re-election.
“There is a huge effort to register Hispanics, help them become citizens and turn them out to vote,” Titus said. “I think you will see the result of that on Election Day.”
In the 2012 presidential election, Latinos voted for President Barack Obama over Republican Mitt Romney by 71% to 27%, according to an analysis of exit polls by the Pew Hispanic Center.
In 2016, the Democrats’ interaction with minority voters is not just about Hispanics, Titus said.
“My (congressional) district is the most diverse in the state with a large Hispanic population,” Titus said. “But the fastest growing ethic group is the Asian population and there is a big push there, too, because they are concerned about immigration as well. Maybe (they are concerned) for a few different reasons, but they know the system needs to be reformed and see that (Trump) rhetoric out there as being anti-immigrant in general.”
Titus does not see the same dedication to voter registration/turn out in Trump’s Nevada campaign, adding, “I never underestimate him …but I still believe that at the presidential level, you’ve got to have a turnout machine and I don’t see of any evidence that the Republicans have that.”