By: Jennah Graham
When it comes to the Catholic vote, Hillary Clinton is an extremely popular candidate. American Catholics are a very diverse group, however. Thirty-four percent of American Catholics are Hispanic. Among this thirty-four percent, seventy-seven percent favor Clinton and a measly sixteen present favor Donald Trump. In the 2012 election, Democrats claimed sixty-two percent to the Republicans thirty-six percent of the Latino vote. So what has made some of these Republican voters sway to the Democratic nominee? Though there is a vast variety of reasons that this may be, three in particular seem to stick out.
The first assumption most would make when asking themselves why these, normally Republican Hispanic Catholics, would choose Clinton is that they really dislike her opposition. Trump’s “build a wall” idea did not settle very well with many people, especially Hispanic Americans. Many immigrants come to America for a new hope and a new start. Many are active members of their communities and some have served in our military. This has angered many voters and swayed them away from Trump, leaving them to vote for Clinton.
The second reason that Clinton may be the more popular choice is because there are significantly more younger Hispanic voters than in years past. According to Pew Research Center, Millennials make up forty-four percent of this year’s Hispanic voters compared to the Baby Boomers’ twenty-two percent. This is a significant increase from the 2012 election. This change in the age and number of voters will make a change in what kind of candidates will receive the vote. Most of these Hispanic Millennials have English as their first language and have received at least a high school diploma. There has been a recent push to get all Millennials educated on voting, which also brings the influx of young voters. These young voters are responding better to Clinton’s ideas on immigration and reform that they are to Trump’s plans for the nation.
The third reason is quite simply, religion. Putting aside the Hispanic population, we are seeing that Catholic voters as a whole are supporting Clinton. Michael J. New of the National Review says that this due to Trump’s negative comments on the Pope, and the Catholic Church’s disagreement with his views on immigration. Pope Francis spoke out against Trump saying “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian.” New also mentioned that many private Catholic schools are run by nuns, so Catholics are very used to seeing women in a position of authority. Although, this may be a small factor it is most likely not a large contributor.
The Hispanic Catholic vote is in fact a very important one for Clinton. If she can secure these votes, it may be just enough to push her in front of Trump in some states such as Florida and Nevada where she has recently released new TV promotional ads in Spanish. These swing states, meaning the vote could swing either towards the Republican or Democratic nominee, could mean the difference between a win and a loss for Clinton.