The Nation: Lisa Owen interviews Dakar Lanzino
On The Nation: Lisa Owen interviews Dakar
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Lisa Owen: Welcome back. Once again, Florida is shaping up to be a key battleground state in next week's American election. Part of what could help swing it for democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, is a growing turnout among Latino voters, expected to 3% to 5% up from last election's 11.2 million. Dakar Lanzino is a democrat and a Latino commentator. He joins me now from Washington. Thanks for joining us this morning. How much influence does this particular group of voters, Latino voters, have, do you think?
Dakar Lanzino: Thank you for having me. And yes, the Latino vote, we like to say that there is no road to the White House without the Latino vote, especially because of the high concentration of Latinos in states like Florida and Arizona and Colorado and Nevada, and the turnout of this community is going to determine who's going to win these states. We've already seen record-breaking numbers coming out of all of these states during the early voting periods of the election, and it's going to be very very close. So every candidate is focused on turning out their voters, and typically in these elections, the higher the turnout, it benefits republicans and— The lower the turnout, it benefits republicans. The higher the turnout benefits the democrats.
Right. So, tell me, who are they favouring? Do the polls give you an indication of which way the Latino vote is likely to go?
Sure. Like you said, most of the polls that are out nowadays, they have been under-representing Latinos. But one of the firms out of here, Latino Decisions, came out with their national poll this week, which showed that Latinos are going to vote. Between 13 million and 15 million Latinos are going to come out and vote. That's a 3% to 5% increase from the 2012 election. In the state of Florida, which has the fourth highest amount of population of Latinos in the country, it's also the least democratic-leaning Latinos in the country. So you've seen Hillary Clinton this entire week campaigning on the stage; she was there for five days. And basically what the polls are telling us is that 79% of the people that are going to come out to vote— the Latinos that are going to come out to vote will vote for Hillary Clinton, 18% will go to Donald Trump, and 3% will go the other three candidates, and that's about what is projected. In the state of Florida specifically this week, Hillary Clinton hit the same level of support that President Obama had in 2012, which is 60%. So this spells a lot of trouble for republicans and Donald Trump. Especially if you look at Arizona as well, the amount of Latinos that have come out to vote has been record-breaking.
When you talk about Florida, though, that's still potentially around 20% of Latinos who could be voting for Donald Trump. What's their attraction, given all the kind of racist commentary and things that he's said during the course of the campaign?
Yeah, well, the Latino community, we come from different places, different countries, different socio-economic status, and it's this diversity that is reflected in these polls. But what is reflected is that more Latinos than not are repudiating Donald Trump and voting for Hillary Clinton, so even 20% is a very very low segment of the Latino population to have. In 2004, President Bush got 40% of the Latino vote, and that is the threshold that republicans should always aim for. When they came out with their autopsy report on how to bring more Latinos into the fold in 2012, they had all these recommendations on how they were going to bring Latinos in and make sure they were catering to the issues. But all of that was thrown out the minute Donald Trump entered the race and with that, all hope of winning the White House.
So, tell me, then, Hillary Clinton, she is dominating the polls in terms of the Latino vote. Is she actually offering that sector of voters anything in particular, or is she taking that vote for granted?
Well, like I said, Latinos come from all places, and the issues that Latinos care about are the economy, healthcare and education, with terrorism and immigration reform being high up there. She has promised within the first hundred days that she is going to pass a comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship. She's going to introduce it in the first hundred days, so this is something that really caters to the Latino community and a stark difference from the republican nominee, who has promised he's going to have massive deportation forces, and he's not worried about splitting families or any of that. So the rhetoric and the way that Latinos are spoken about in this election has definitely attracted them to Hillary Clinton more than Donald Trump.
So, there's been a lot of talk about the potential for violence if Trump loses. Do you think that will happen?
I don't think so. I think every year— every election year, we have a segment of the population that is unhappy with the way that things are. I know in the last two elections, with the election of the last African American president, this was a big problem and a concern. But at the end of the day, America will come together and they will accept the results because that is the kind of country that we are.
Dakar Lanzino, thanks for joining us from Washington DC. Much appreciated.
Thank you very much for having me.
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