5 Reasons Why Latino Voters Could Pick Our Next President From PBS Special ‘The New Deciders’

Lead Photo: 'The New Deciders'
'The New Deciders'
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Behind every number, there’s a story. That’s the line behind America By The Numbers with Maria Hinojosa. Just as the famed Latina journalist did in 2012 with her election coverage of Clarkston, Georgia, Hinojosa is back this year with a 2016 TV special devoted to “The New Deciders.”

“The deciders in this year’s presidential election will be young people and citizens of color,” the Latino USA producer and host said. “The racial, cultural and social landscape of America continues to change rapidly and we need to pay attention to the growing numbers of youth, Asians, Latinos, African-Americans, persons of mixed race and immigrants who are registering to vote, becoming politically engaged, and increasingly, will be determining the outcomes of elections.”

“The New Deciders” focuses then on black millennials, Arab Americans, Latino Evangelicals, and Asian Americans. Rather than spew out statistics and various poll numbers, Hinojosa speaks to local communities that help stand in for the larger concerns that these populations are faced with as we near November.

In the eye-opening segment on “The Unpredictable Evangélico Vote,” Hinojosa and her team head to Florida to document the power and influence of super-churches on this voting bloc in Orlando. Here are five things we learned about the Latino vote from the newest episode of America by the Numbers.

America by the Numbers’ “The New Deciders” will air on PBS stations across the country on September 6, 2016.


This Year’s Voters Will Be The Most Diverse In U.S. History

This November, 1 in 3 eligible voters will be non-white. That is a staggering number and one which reminds us that the United States will soon see its population have a majority non-white population. And while Republican candidate Donald Trump may have been openly courting white voters for the better part of his campaign, it’s clear that if 2012 was any indication, it is the minority vote which will decide the election.


Latinos Voting In Florida Will Help Sway This Election

“If we win Florida, it’s over.” Trump’s words echo the general knowledge that the sunny southern state is crucial when it comes to the Electoral College. And Latinos are a big part of that: 27 million Latinos will be eligible to vote in 2016 around the country, and when you narrow the numbers to Florida, you’re left with a key statistic: 1 in 4 residents of the state are Latino. Given the xenophobic rhetoric coming from the Trump campaign, you’d think it would be an easy call, except for the fact that 1 in 6 of Florida Latinos identify as Evangelicals.


Faith Outreach Takes Center Stage In This Election

Evangelicals make up 35% of the American population, and about 6 million of those are Latino. In Florida, they are a force to be reckoned with. You need not look further than Iglesia El Calvario, led by married couple reverends Dr. Gabriel Salguero and Jeanette Salguero. Speaking to their large mega-church in Orlando and doing outreach for voter registration across the country, they have a stronghold on a crucial if tricky electorate.


Latino Evangelicals Are The Quintessential Swing Voter

As reverend Jeanette Salguero puts it, “we are the quintessential swing voter.” Evangelicals oppose abortion and same-sex marriage but support minimum wage and immigration reform. The Salgueros have voiced their opposition to Trump’s xenophobia but have also spoken out against Secretary Clinton’s more socially progressive stands. They explain, perhaps, why it is that in the past four elections Evangelicals voted for Bush and then for Obama. Roughly 41% of Evangelicos are Independent, making them hard to peg and to court.


Puerto Rico Is Reshaping Florida Politics

If conservative Cuban immigrants made up the bulk of the Latino population in Florida for the last few decades, we’re starting to see a change in the demographics of the state. Puerto Ricans, in particular the thousand families who are relocating from the island to Florida every month, are the fastest rising population in Orlando, changing the electorate of the state as a whole. It’s a reminder that there is no easy way of looking at “Latinos” as a monolithic voting bloc.