Podcast link here.
Grace VO: Yes, the midterm elections have come to an end and the pandering and to various voting blocks has dwindled as well. Of the many key plays this year, the latino vote was one group that continually got coverage among the media and attention from candidates. The Hispanic community and the number of eligible voters in this demographic had increased by 4.7 million according to an October 2022 Pew Research study. However a common misconception that you heard thought this election cycle is is that voting black is monolithic. They are not and Government and Politics professor at the University of Maryland , Stella Rouse, will sit down with me to give more insight on this quote on quote sleeping giant.
Professor Soundbite: My name is Stella Rouse. I'm a professor in the department of government and politics, and I've done a lot of research on latinos both within institutions and looking at how they're represented but also looking at their political behavior in terms of policy preference, voting patterns, and things like that. And sometimes on specific issues, like related to immigration, or climate change.
So I've done quite a bit across the spectrum of looking at latinos and, you know, their role in politics.
Grace Soundbite: What do you think most politicians misunderstand about the latino community as a voting block?
Professor Soundbite: That they're not really a voting block. That they're pretty heterogeneous; they're very diverse, and so treating them as kinda monolithic, that they're all gonna vote a similar way on similar issues is sort of a mistake, but the media does that all the time. So it's more important to try to target latinos in specific areas because how, you know, the latino population in the Rio Grand Valley in Texas is very different from the latino community in New Mexico, in California. They have different policy priorities. They have different needs. And so it's really important to target them based on their country of origin and where they are in the United States because that informs what things they care about.
Grace VO: As Professor Rouse pointed out, The latino community is one that continues to grow in numbers and interests. This is particularly true in Prince Georges where it is celebrating its fastest growing population. 21 percent of residents are Hispanic or Latino, compared to 15 percent in 2010 according to the Prince George's health department. While there has been this shift in demographics, latinos continue to be underrepresented in county and state levels.
While Victor Ramirez, a former Maryland state senator, hopes to have more state senators that reflect the population which he stated to the Diamondback, a university of Maryand publication, he recognizes the ones in office must meet the needs of the people and their barriers of entry now.
Professor Soundbite: Yeah, I think language oftentimes is a big barrier to participation and also citizenship status is a barrier, especially in elections where only citizens can vote. Now in Maryland there's a couple of place, I can't remember if PG County is one of them, where non-citizens can vote in local elections, so don't quote me on that. You'd have to look that one up, but there are a couple of counties/areas in Maryland that actually do allow non-citizens to vote in local elections. But in general that's also a barrier because a lot of latinos are non-citizens and so that creates a barrier to participation. Also, there's often times a lack of mobilization within the latino community in terms of getting them out to vote and getting them interested in the issues that are at stake. And so I think grassroots organizations, politicians, and political parties could do a lot better job of mobilizing the latino community.
Grace VO: As we look to the presidential election now that the midterms have come to an end, politicians may want to change their approach if they want to secure the vote of different latino communities.
I'm Grace with the Montgomery County Sentinel and I hope you enjoyed the story