It was a presentation that very few showed up to, but it was a topic that could change American politics forever.
Dr. Nirmal Goswami, political science professor at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, spoke on the importance of the rapidly growing Hispanic population in the southwest and its significance in not only this election, but upcoming ones as well.
“They’re increasingly a bigger part of the electorate in several states including Texas, California, Arizona and New Mexico,” he said. “It’s a younger electorate than other groups which means their significance is going to increase over time as people from that population grow.”
Though their population is rising, the number of Hispanics registered to vote does not match their actual size, Goswami said.
“They are a much larger part of the population than they are registered voters,” he said.
Hispanics tend to vote less because of their current socioeconomic status, according to Goswami.
“Socioeconomic factors are generally lower in terms of education and income for Hispanics…so that is a factor in predicting in their electoral behavior,” he said.
Goswami also said that Hispanics usually vote Democratic, but have turned states blue before as well.
“The tendency (for Hispanics) is to vote Democratic,” he said. “On the other hand, one of the reasons that helped George W. Bush won the presidency was because he was able to get more Hispanics to vote for him.”
Currently, New Mexico is the state with the largest Hispanic percentage of the electorate in the country. Though it’s a relatively small state, it’s a sign of the future, as more states will have a largely Hispanic electorate.
“Even small shifts in percentages of Hispanics registering could translate into significant real numbers because of the sheer size of the population,” he said.
Goswami says that ultimately, Hispanics will play a huge role in politics for the years to come.
“They’re a critical part of our country’s population and their voice is important,” he said.