How Latinas Could Change the U.S. Political Landscape

Latinas in politics BELatina Latinx
Photo courtesy of Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

It seems like only yesterday that millions of Latino Americans were mobilizing to change the country’s destiny through their vote. It wasn’t until recently that the country recognized the impact of the Latino vote on the nation’s political dynamics. 

Considering that more than half of the total U.S. population growth since 2010 was thanks to the exponential growth of the Latino population, it is but a matter of simple math to recognize the decisive power those numbers have at the polls.

Coincidentally, as the population increases, so does the need for fair representation at the tables where the most important decisions are made. It is no wonder then that the number of Latinas in electoral races and Latina elected officials has also increased.

As Ms. Magazine recalls, the best example of this transformation was the local primary elections in New York last June.

Latina candidates running for City Council in districts spanning the Bronx and Queens scored victory after victory, setting up a November general election that “could change the City Council’s demographics.” Latinas are also running for prominent statewide offices in 2021 and 2022, with several historic races that could result in the first Latinas being elected to their seats.

From Ileana Ros-Lehtinen to Hala Ayala, Latina candidates are pivotal in changing the U.S. political landscape.

As demonstrated by researcher Christina Bejarano of Texas Women’s University, beyond elections and incumbency, political participation rates of women from America’s once so-called “racial and ethnic minorities” have also increased dramatically over the past ten years, far outpacing increases for men.

In fact, according to Bejarano, Latinas not only participate more but also “express distinctive political attitudes that have helped them lead the way in boosting Latino political participation.”

Similarly, and in comparison to men in their community, Latinas show higher levels of voter registration and voter turnout and are more likely to be civically engaged in community and civil rights groups.

“Overall, the multiple political and civic strengths exhibited by Latinas in the United States give them potential advantages when they can choose to run for political office,” Bejarano concludes. “As Latinas continue to think and act differently from their male counterparts in politics, they are likely to amass ever-more political authority and voting power, putting them in a position to dramatically influence the course of American politics for everyone in their community and beyond.”